OREGON, Wis. - For the past 11 years, Cathy Grender has been welcoming people to the village of Oregon in a special, personal way. Grender will often schedule a meeting with newcomers, or even people who have lived in the area but just never got around to exploring their surroundings. Grender said she typically meets people at the Firefly Coffeehouse in Oregon and presents them with a gift basket filled with freebies.
Grender partners with local businesses who donate items for the gift basket including gift certificates for free oil changes, free gym memberships, discounts on massages, gift cards to local restaurants, etc.
She also throws in contact information for resources including doctors, dentists, rehab clinics, animal hospitals, travel agents, insurance agents, etc.
Grender said she's met with about 1,000 people since she first started doing this. She said the best part is "all the wonderful people I've met."
Grender said she does this because moving to a new place puts people in "a vulnerable position," and said that she wants to make it easier for people to get to know their surroundings.
Grender said she took over the business in 2008 after the man who ran this service before her said he had to tend to more immediate family needs.
Grender has been loving the gig ever since she took over and said she's made some lifelong friends by doing it.
If you own a business in the area and would like to donate to Grender's gift basket, you can contact her at 608-220-1468. If you or someone you know is moving to Oregon or wants to get to know Oregon a bit better, more information on how to contact her can be found on her website at www.oregonwi.com/list/member/welcome-neighbor-oregon-llc-29.
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