NewBo City Market leaders chose Kristie Wetjen as its new executive director after former director Ann Poe left in February.
Wetjen took over the top spot on April 15. She is the former executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she worked with local businesses and developed programming to help them grow. "The convention and visitors bureau there also functions somewhat like the Chamber of Commerce, which has played nicely into the position at NewBo," she said.
Wetjen said the market's vitality and growth drew her to the job. She believes her strong sales and marketing background will be useful as she continues to strengthen and grow the market.
"I want to work closely with the merchants to help them develop their businesses so that they are strong enough to go out into the community and open a storefront," she said, adding she plans to partner with community organizations and provide educational opportunities for the merchants.
Patrick DePalma, president of the board of the Cedar Rapids City Market Inc., a nonprofit corporation formed in 2009 to promote flood revitalization, said Wetjen's time at the convention and visitors bureau set her apart from the 50 other people who applied for the position.
"She had experience leading a organization," he said. "And has a business background. She knows how to manage a budget."
DePalma said her retail background and experience managing different merchants were also a plus.The market, made up of 24 permanent merchants as well as guest merchants, is located at 1100 Third St. SE in the heart of the New Bohemia arts and entertainment district. It opened in October of 2012 after the completion of a $6 million capital campaign. The market is open year round on Thursday evenings as well as Saturdays and Sundays.