BUFFALO COUNTY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – As part of the state-wide tourism economic impact record, buffalo co. Broke their own previous record, contributing $ 28 million to the total. County administrative coordinator Lee said, “From a local standpoint here, the county is becoming more and more involved with our local businesses trying to promote tourism. Buffalo County’s historically known for its agricultural industry, or the deer hunting industry, and we’re trying to broaden that horizon.”

He added that one of the key factors for this growth has been the county working with business owners directly, and business owners working with each other. “We now have monthly meetings with local business owners on different ways we can promote tourism in buffalo county. We want to bring people here. We want the diversity. We want the experience. We want people to explore and kind of learn about our county, and we’re starting to see the dividends paying off on some of those investments.”

One of the county’s new big pushes is to utilize the Mississippi River’s tourism capabilities, such as with the great Alma fishing float, run by first-year owner Taylor Chapman. He said, “It’s pretty cool when you get to see some guys, coming from halfway across the country to come to our little town of Alma and just come check things out like fishing. And some people want to explore the rest of the town, stuff like that. It’s pretty cool. You don’t see something like this very often.”

The cohesion between businesses and communities is prevalent throughout buffalo county, evident through Mississippi thunder speedway owners Tyrone Lingenfelter and Bob Timm, and Together Farms co-owner Stephanie Schneider. Timm said, “The community support both Milton Township and specifically Buffalo County for the speedway is unbelievable. And they want to promote it. They understand how much we give back to all the local charities, nonprofits, you know, school sports, things like that. We promote all that stuff, try and raise money for them to help support everything in the area. And they really got our back.”

Schneider added, “We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support and expertise and advice and knowledge from so many people. Of course, there is buffalo county that’s helped us a lot… The other place that we have a really strong partnership is with the sunrise inn, in Mondovi, the hotel. They’ve been super great to work with. We have allowed a lot of out-of-town guests so then we then support a ton of local places. Too. We have all the local musicians, we have all of the local producers, other farmers and artists, and producers that are in our farm store now too.”

Alongside being avid supporters of the Cochrane-Fountain City school district, NorthEnd Pub and Grill owners Marie and Nick Kuhn welcome both locals and tourists in with open arms. Marie said, “We are just happy to welcome in everyone. I mean, we love our locals, and that’s absolutely our business, but the tourists that come in, the fisherman, the hunters, the boaters, and ATVs now, all of those sorts of things are just icing on the cake for us, and we love to accommodate everyone.”

Above all the tourism push benefits all of Buffalo County, something a lifetime local like Lingenfelter knows is critical for community survival. He explained, “No matter what it comes down to you got to take care of everybody in the area, because if those things aren’t being taken care of, they’re going to go somewhere else. Families are going to start moving to other locations. Businesses won’t be around anymore. It just starts to drain out your value of your area, so hopefully they continue to come here and everything continues to grow, and like I said, everybody will get a piece of the pie, and we’ll all be happy.”