GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — It's an unlikely friendship. One woman from Seattle, another from Texas. Opposite ends of the nation, and they ended up in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the middle of the pandemic in 2020.
Jill McGrath and Marisa George moved for their husband's jobs, not knowing anyone in town, leaving their hometowns and families behind. McGrath gets teary thinking back to that time.
"I was worried," McGrath said. "I was worried because it was so isolating. It truly was."
Thankfully, the two found each other and became fast friends, bonding over bets from the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas soccer teams.
"We were discussing the various businesses that we saw here in Green Bay… what does the community have and what can we do?" McGrath said.
Now, they're the proud owners of the city's first Nothing Bundt Cakes. George wanted to bring her favorite pastries to the Midwest and recruited her now best friend to help her. McGrath jumped right on board.
"I want to be an integrated part of the community and providing bites of joy to everyone in Green Bay," McGrath said. "I think people will love it as much as we do, and I hope that they love it as much as we do."
So, who do they have to thank for not only their successful friendship but new business too? The Community Concierge Program, through the Greater Green Bay Chamber. It's an individualized experience for newcomers in the area, for all ages, demographics and industries.
Morgan Doshi is the Director of Talent for the Chamber and spearheads the program. She loves to be a part of welcoming people to her hometown and showing them what's all to love.
"We want to make sure that the program customizes the approach for each person and connects them to what's most important to themselves and their family," Doshi said. "So that it doesn't take them two to five years to really discover all that great Green Bay has to offer."
Coming from out of state George and McGrath found it was hard to break into a social circle or meet friends, but through the program they've been able to branch out, even discovering places they wouldn't have on their own.
"Everyone here we feel is born and raised and lived their whole lives here," George said. "So the Concierge Program, you know, allows you to meet other people like yourself that aren't from here, and it makes the transition easier."
McGrath and George are the picture-perfect success story for the program and a testament to the community that Green Bay creates for all.
"To see when individuals move here... and then they're taking initiative... here's what we think could add value to the community, and they're opening their own businesses, or they're providing their suggestions and feedback and innovation, so it's really cool," Doshi said.
You can contact Morgan Doshi and the Greater Green Bay Chamber if you or a friend is interested in participating in the Community Concierge Program.