MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Madden’s On Gull Lake, a resort in the Brainerd Lakes Area, is a beautiful place to spend your summer.
But last year around this time, things were not as beautiful.
A huge storm hit this area on July 12, 2015. That storm came right off the lake and hit the west side of Madden’s hard. Most of this property along the shoreline had to be rebuilt in some fashion.
But this summer, Madden’s is back and better than ever.
“I came over by boat, I couldn’t get here by car,” Madden’s Vice President Abbey Pieper said. “Our Voyager was a complete loss, and that is a total of, was 40 units. We had a number of cabins along the west shoreline as well as 40 units at Wilson Bay.”
Roofs were blown off buildings, and trees were downed just about everywhere.
“We felt very strongly that if we’re going to reopen any of this resort, we have to have all of the amenities that they’re used to experiencing,” she said. “We opened about 60 percent of our property within two weeks and we nailed it.”
Now, almost a year later, they have nailed it again.
“Let’s take a look at these big projects. What’s the vision? What are we going do to repair them? What are we changing? Let’s think about this strategically, and really view it as an opportunity to make us better off that we ever were before,” Pieper said.
Madden’s built 80-plus new rooms and a new event center — all thanks to a lot of hard work and a dedication to their guests.
“I have had zero negative comments on the brand-new rooms. I mean, everyone is so excited about the new look, about the new feel, about the new spaces and some of the new views,” she said.
Pieper’s grandfather and great uncle started Madden’s resort 87 years ago. And while it may look a little different now, it is still a family affair.
“We’re family owned and were family operated, which is really, I think, unique,” she said. “My brother handles operations and I’m in the sales-and-marketing world.”
It is fitting for a family resort that has something for just about everyone
“If you’re the active type, we’re the spot,” Pieper said. “If you’re the sit-back-and-relax type, and just look at the lake and have a glass of wine, we’re your spot.”