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New Genoa Main Street director ‘jumping in’

Jen Bristow
Jen Bristow

GENOA – After three long months of searching, the nonprofit organization Genoa Main Street finally has its new executive director.

Jen Bristow, owner of Fresh Jewelry Company in Geneva, was appointed March 10 to fill the position vacated by Mim Evans, who left in December to work as a full-time research associate with Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies.

Bristow already has met with business leaders in Genoa and has pitched ideas to the board of directors for Genoa Main Street, a local group focused on revitalizing downtown areas.

“It’s always good to have a fresh perspective,” Bristow said. “As a business person, that’s always been a strength of mine, to be creatively innovative with business thinking.”

Bristow will work part-time to oversee community events and run day-to-day operations, said Linda Underwood, president of Genoa Main Street’s board.

Underwood said it took sometime to fill the position because some applicants weren’t qualified and others were seeking full-time hours.

They also relied on word-of-mouth to recruit applicants.

They settled on Bristow after an interview and recommendation from someone employed with the city of Genoa, Underwood said.

“We interviewed her and fell in love with her right away,” she said. “Her energy, enthusiasm, creative thinking ... she has already come up with a lot of fun ideas.”

Bristow will pitch some of those ideas in two weeks during a meeting with Genoa Main Street’s board of directors.

Bristow said she is planning to move next week from Wheaton to Genoa with her husband, two daughters and two dogs.

“We’re jumping in with both feet,” Bristow said.

Bristow’s No. 1 goal is to keep the positives that have already been established at Genoa Main Street as well as create more unity among all businesses to work toward business vitality, she said.

Her project of the moment is the Genoa Main Street quilt walk, which began Monday and continues through Saturday.

Underwood said the biggest necessity for the organization is to expand markets and generate some fresh event ideas. Bristow is just the person to do those jobs, Underwood said.

“Somebody moving to Genoa brings perspective to build on what’s great about Genoa and the people of Genoa,” she said.

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