Courtney Kubly, 38, is the manager of Ten Thousand Villages in Granger, a nonprofit fair-trade organization that markets handcrafted products made by disadvantaged artisans in foreign countries. Having moved to the region two years ago, Courtney currently resides in Granger with her husband, Derek, and two rescue dogs. She is involved in several local organizations including the Young Professionals Network of South Bend, Rotary International and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. 

What makes Michiana unique?

There is so much to do in this 30-mile radius. We have Downtown South Bend, the zoo, the Cubs. We love to go to the theater, to the beach. The Morris Performing Arts Center gets wonderful Broadway shows. The breweries and wineries are outstanding. There is just so much to do, and there are so many little day trips that you can go on, from Three Oaks to Goshen to New Buffalo. I love South Bend. There is so much growth, and I’m excited to see what more comes out.

What is your favorite spot in Michiana?

The first is Bamber’s Superette. It’s a small specialty grocery store on Mishawaka Avenue just north of the farmers market in South Bend. My second favorite spot is Merriman’s Playhouse for live jazz. It’s a little hidden gem!

How has moving to the Michiana region changed you?

I think the Michiana area and South Bend is what I would call “the perfect big, little city.” There are a ton of things to do while still having a small-town feel. There is a ton of diversity in the area that I really enjoy culturally. There is a lot of international presence, and I think that is not something I’m used to, and I really enjoy that. The town I come from in Wisconsin has 15,000 [people], and South Bend is much bigger than that, so there are more experiences and opportunities. I think that has changed me in terms of opening me up to new experiences.

Do you have any tips to help newcomers get involved in the Michiana community?

Find something that you are passionate about. Young Professionals, for me, it was the networking aspect. But if people have a passion about nonprofit work, there are so many nonprofits in the area that would love to have new volunteers. Just find something that you are interested in and follow that.

What is your favorite season?

My favorite season is an in-between season, late summer, early fall. I love it. Right after Labor Day is my prime time, because it is still warm, but you are starting to see the fall and the leaves are starting to change.

If someone were coming to Michiana for a day, where should they visit?

I think they have to hit New Buffalo. I think downtown New Buffalo is awesome. I like the shopping, the beach, and I like it because it is a little more low key than St. Joseph. χ