• (651) 451-2266
  • info@riverheights.com
river heights chamber of commerce

Progress Plus ED Foundation and the City of South St. Paul Partner to Attract New Business

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials, Marketing

Progress Plus ED Foundation and the City of South St. Paul Partner to Attract New Business

The City of South St. Paul is looking to attract new businesses to the area and Progress Plus is here to lend a helping hand.

A Great History…
South St. Paul’s early growth was driven on the hooves of cattle by drovers, ramrods and settlers. Over the years, our community evolved and earned a reputation as home to a proud and prosperous community of dedicated, hard-working innovators.  Rooted in this history, today South St. Paul is home to one of the upper Midwest’s most dynamic and diverse business park environments at “BridgePoint,” home to world-class manufacturing plants, state-of-the-art distribution and warehousing businesses, specialized technical and professional service providers, and much, much more. We invite you to visit and learn how we can help to establish your company as BridgePoint’s next great success story.

…A Greater Tomorrow

Any company that considers South St. Paul soon finds that here they’re never in business alone. Every program we offer, every benefit we provide, has been designed to help businesses succeed and individuals enjoy a better life.  Here you’ll find programs to help businesses with location selection, expansion and relocation services. You’ll discover that we’re more than ready to do everything possible to help you successfully bridge the gap to a greater, more prosperous tomorrow.

The City will work with your business to analyze project requirements including: planning, zoning, finance and marketing. Depending on the nature of the project, the following business assistance resources may be available:

Open to Business – South St. Paul works with MCCD’s “Open to Business” program, which offers free, one-on-one, confidential business consulting to small businesses located or thinking of locating in South St. Paul. Open to business offers a range of technical assistance to businesses and is able to provide financing to qualified business development projects.

South St. Paul Future Inc.  – South St. Paul Future Inc. offers competitive fixed asset financing to qualified firms whose operations are based within the City of South St. Paul. Whether you need financing for new equipment, expansion, startup costs, or acquisitions, Future is here to help you with the next step. www.riverheights.com/sspfuture (651) 451-2266

Here are some other local partners businesses you can tap into:

Dakota Scott County Workforce Center

Their workforce and business development representatives can help you find the right workers, publicize jobs and access workforce data. (651) 554-5622

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Economy. Industry. Workforce. Incentives. See why Minnesota is the best place for your business expansion or relocation.  DEED.CustomerService@state.mn.us  (952) 259-7114

South Metro Chapter of SCORE

Provides free and confidential business counseling whether starting a new business, buying or selling a business or managing an existing business.  www.southmetro.score.org  (952) 890-7020

For questions, or if you would like more information on doing business in South St. Paul, please contact Progress Plus Economic Development at 651.451.2266 or visit us online at www.progressplus.org.

Congratulations Hardline Concrete & Masonry – 2017 Small Business of the Year!

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Watch Hardline Concrete & Masonry’s Small Business Award video from the River Heights Chamber of Commerce by clicking on the image below…


Hardline Concrete & Masonry Honored with 2017 Small Business of the Year Award 28th Anniversary of Small Business Award in Local Business Community

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

March 30, 2017

Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Hardline Concrete & Masonry of Inver Grove Heights will receive the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Business of the Year Award! Jon and Brenda Dietrich, owners, will be accepting the award at the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at enVision Hotel & Conference Center in South St. Paul.

The Small Business of the Year Award acknowledges an organization that has been in business for five years or more, has 20 or fewer employees, has at least two years of membership in the River Heights Chamber, and encompasses a business that has a commitment to the community through its involvement and assistance to community organizations, to its employees, suppliers and customer relationships, in addition to a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics, friendliness and business operations. Chamber member businesses nominated local small businesses and the Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the award recipient from many deserving applicants.  This year’s recipient, Hardline Concrete & Masonry, excels in all these areas and more.  When Hardline was asked how they feel about receiving this award, Brenda replied, “We feel truly honored to be recognized for the River Heights Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award because being recognized by a group of your peers is a good yardstick to be measured by.  There are so many deserving businesses and we are very humbled to be selected.” 

Hardline Concrete & Masonry started as a sole proprietor in 2005, doing mainly commercial and industrial work. When incorporating in 2009, they shifted business to completing more residential and decorative work. While they are grateful for fundamental commercial work, they feel their true passion lies with being able to help customers create their artistic vision for their yard and home.  Jon and Brenda pride themselves in doing the job correctly the first time and being primarily a referral-based business.  They form relationships with their customers and treat every job as if it was their own when they leave their Hardline logo stamped in the concrete.  When it comes to employee relationships, they realize that being a seasonal employer can be challenging in employee retention.  In the past few years, Hardline has implemented some policies and benefits to let their employees know that they care for them, beyond the scope of a work day.  They faced adversity during the recession of 2009 but because of Hardline’s presence in the community they could continue to work.  Hardline Concrete & Masonry is involved in the community by supporting the local Inver Grove Heights Days, Simley wrestling and football and volunteering at their local church. Jon & Brenda strive to give competitive bids for local projects and have been privileged to work at the Inver Grove Community Center, Simley High School and various concrete projects for the City of Inver Grove Heights. Hardline Concrete & Masonry believes in small businesses succeeding and have recommended five other sole proprietors, LLC’s and corporations to join the River Heights Chamber of Commerce for continued success. Brenda is very active in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and has served 1 year as an ambassador chair-elect, 1.5 years as an ambassador chair, has been a Board member since 2015 (and is currently Chair-Elect for 2017), served as a delegate for MN at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Summit 2015, received the River Heights Chamber Marshall award during the 2016 membership drive and was a member of the Southmetro Business PAC in 2016.  The River Heights Chamber is proud to have Hardline Concrete & Masonry as a dedicated member of the business community!

This year will be the 28th Anniversary of the River Heights Chamber celebrating this special award with the business community and is sponsored in-part by Town Square Television, Waterous Company and Antonsen Construction.  Community businesses will exhibit in the trade show at 11 a.m. followed by a luncheon, award ceremony and keynote speaker, Jill Renslow SVP Business Development and Marketing with Mall of America.

For more details about attending the Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show, visit www.riverheights.com, and to learn more about the Chamber’s award winner, Hardline Concrete & Masonry, please watch their video on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber following the event on April 13th.

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who aggressively promotes the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members. Visit our website www.riverheights.com to learn more!

Stay Connected with the River Heights Chamber on our social media sites!



Media Release: River Heights Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Local Business Leaders

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News

River Heights Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Local Business Leaders
Tandem Printing, Inc. Business of the Year & Beth Baumann, Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award

During the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and Progress Plus Annual Meeting on February 23, 2017, at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul, the Chamber thanked its 2016 Chairman, Brian MacKenzie of FASTSIGNS – IGH, and welcomed Jon Erickson of Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning as the 2017 Chairman of the Board.  Highlights of 2016 were shared including event successes, increased membership engagement, efficiencies in communications and marketing, and relationship building with our newly elected officials.


The River Heights Chamber of Commerce proudly announced Tandem Printing, Inc. as the 2017 Business of the Year.  Tandem Printing was founded in 1954 by Bob & Marilyn Jensen of Richfield, MN. For 37 years, the Jensen’s established a reputation for quality, reliability, service and integrity as they built their company working in “Tandem” as a husband and wife team. As the years passed by, the appeal of retirement became stronger and in 1991 a new “Tandem”, John Kostka and Steve Kane, acquired the company and have continued those values and tradition. Tandem is active in Printing Industry of Minnesota events which keeps them current on industry trends.  They encourage participation in the River Heights Chamber, professional networking groups and many local, national and international non-profits. Tandem’s goal is and always has been to reinvest in the company. Over the course of 26 years, John and Steve have grown the company by adding equipment to further their product offerings and by acquiring companies to fit the needs and demands of their existing clients.  During their transition, Tandem moved from Bloomington to Eagan and secured the tag line WE PRINT. ON ANYTHING.  Steve & John pride themselves on the fact that they’ve grown from 4 employees in Richfield to 33 in Eagan in just 26 years. The belief of all partners at Tandem was shared as follows, “The future growth and success as a company and as individuals depends on our mutual respect and cooperation and on each other of our company’s objectives. We maintain a reputation as a client focused company which strives to achieve excellence always.


The Chamber was also honored to award Beth Baumann the River Heights Chamber’s 2016 Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award.  Beth is the former Mayor of South St. Paul after tirelessly serving her community for 14 years.  She provided great leadership in making South St. Paul a wonderful community to live, work and play. Under her direction, the Economic Development Authority was established to assist businesses looking to grow or locate in South St. Paul and to search for new business opportunities. Beth was instrumental in establishing the Mayors Youth Task Force to give kids the opportunity to do something positive for their community. It has become an extremely successful group and the kids love Mayor B.!  In addition to the River Heights Chamber and Progress Plus, Beth has been actively involved in organizations such as Neighbors, Inc., Dakota Futures, SMFD and Relay for Life.  Beth is enthusiastic and empowering, and truly exceeds in all criteria for this award, which encompass a commitment to the betterment of life, business, community and entrepreneurship for the River Heights region.


Also awarded at the Annual meeting were Amanda Kissner of Wakota Federal Credit Union as the 2016 Rising Star recipient. The award is given to a volunteer who has accelerated in their first few years as a Chamber volunteer by displaying leadership, enthusiasm and passion for the Chamber’s mission.  Bruce Bairaktaris was recognized as the 2016 Ambassador of the Year for earning the most points as a Chamber Ambassador throughout the year.  The Ambassadors are the welcoming arm of the Chamber who visit members, attend grand openings and serve as greeters and mentors for Chamber members.

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Jon Erickson, 2017 Chairman, extended a welcome to the group and his vision for the Chamber to work together and create a “Culture of Unity.” “We are stronger together and connected through the relationships we make through our memberships in the Chamber.


Minnesota State Representative Rick Hansen planned to facilitate a legislative panel, however, he and Representative Barr and Representative Franke were called into session at the Capitol as they debated Real ID among other things on the House Floor.  Former Chairman Kelton Glewwe filled in to facilitate the panel with our Senators.  In keeping with the night’s theme of unity, everyone got to know a little bit more about Senator Matt Klein and Senator Dan Schoen, as well as get their thoughts on important legislation.


Special thanks to our featured event sponsors Town Square Television, Flint Hills Resources and Waterous Company, as well as major sponsors, Deerwood Bank, Xcel Energy, SKB Environmental and Progress Plus Economic Development Foundation.

For more details about the Chamber’s award winners, please watch their videos on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber and check out photos from the event on the River Heights Chamber’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RiverHeightsChamber.

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce:
The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who aggressively promotes the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members. Visit our website www.riverheights.com to learn more!

Stay connected with the River Heights Chamber of Commerce on our social media sites!





How to Contact Your River Heights Area State Legislators

Nicole Bengtson
Advocacy & Public Policy

Reach out to your local legislators on legislative issues important to you – they want to here from you!
Find the Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul District Senators and Representatives contact information here:

District 52:
Senator Matt Klein, M.D.
95 University Avenue West
Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2409
Saint Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-4370
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MattKleinMN
Twitter: @MattKleinSD52
Learn more here

District 54:
Senator Dan Schoen
95 University Avenue West
Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2413
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-8060
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SenatorDanSchoen/
Twitter: @danschoenmn
Learn more here

District 52A:
Representative Rick Hansen
247 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
(651) -296-6828
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rick.hansen.90
Twitter @reprickhansen
Learn more here

District 52B:
Representative Regina Barr
553 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
(651) 296-4192
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RepReginaBarr
Twitter: @RepReginaBarr
Learn more here

District 54A:
Representative Keith Franke
567 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
(651) 296-4342
Facebook: www.facebook.com/keith.franke.984
Twitter: @teamfranke
Learn more here

Fighting Workplace Mandates on Two Fronts

Nicole Bengtson
Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials

Column By: Doug Loon, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

The Minnesota Chamber continues to challenge workplace mandates at the Legislature and in the courts. A recent court ruling underscores the importance of our parallel efforts.

A Minneapolis ordinance is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017, that requires businesses to provide paid sick time to employees. St. Paul has a similar ordinance scheduled to take effect the same date. Duluth is considering enacting its own set of workplace regulations. It’s only time before similar measures come to a city near you.

In October 2016, the Minnesota Chamber brought a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis asking the court to do two things: No. 1, issue a temporary injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing its “paid sick and safe time” ordinance on any businesses; No. 2, permanently rule the ordinance unlawful.

The Hennepin County District Court delivered a mixed ruling on January 19. Judge Mel I. Dickstein said Minneapolis may not enforce its ordinance on employers “resident outside the geographic boundaries of the city of Minneapolis.” He also ordered that, for now, the city could enforce the ordinance against employers within the city. We are appealing the decision.

The judge’s mixed ruling underscores the importance of our efforts at the Capitol to pass the Uniform State Labor Standards Act, which would prohibit local governments from passing their own mandates on wages, benefits and scheduling. The Act would keep Minnesota’s laws uniform, our communities open for business, and our economy thriving for all.

The legislation is being spearheaded by the United for Jobs Coalition, a broad-based coalition of local chambers of commerce and business associations led by the Minnesota Chamber.

We do not believe the state should dictate private-sector employee benefits. The only thing worse than state government dictating one-size-fits-all mandates on all employers is for local governments to do so, thus creating a patchwork of local laws for businesses to navigate across the state. Minnesota’s economic strength is due to a diverse business landscape. Distinctive operations and workplace needs require that employers have the flexibility to develop wages and salaries, benefits, policies and procedures that best serve the mutual needs of employer and employees.

Borrowing a sports phrase, the best defense is a strong offense. Minnesota employers consistently receive national recognition for providing tremendous workplace environments. We will continue to challenge workplace mandates. At the same time, legislators also need to hear about the voluntary wages and benefit plans employers use to attract and retain employees in this competitive marketplace. Minnesota businesses increasingly are offering leave plans that meet the needs of employees such as offer paid maternity and paternity leave, paid sick and safe leave, and other benefits– without state or local mandates. Please share your best practices by contacting Jennifer Byers at 651.292.4673 or jbyers@mnchamber.com.

Minnesota Legislative Priorities Update Video

Nicole Bengtson
Advocacy & Public Policy

Check out the latest video from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce regarding the 2017 legislative priority to reform health care. Bentley Graves, director, Health & Transportation Policy, gives a progress report on our 2017 Health Care Policy.

Welcome New Chamber Board Members!

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials, Marketing

Each New Year brings a new dynamic to the River Heights Chamber of Commerce with some new Board members, while saying good-bye to a few who have given their time and leadership for a number of years.  At the end of 2016, the Board of Directors said good-bye to Gail Sperlich (OnSITE Drug Testing & Consulting) and Tom Fleury (City Auto Glass).  In 2017, we’re happy to welcome new Chairman, Jon Erickson (Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning) and new Board members Joe Gullerud (Bester Brothers Transfer), Michele Hein (Tandem Printing) and Luke Jenkins (Woodlyn Heights Senior Living).

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce looks forward to working with these great individuals who govern our organization, uphold its mission and assist the Chamber in supporting our business communities.

Check out all the 2017 River Heights Chamber Board of Directors photos and companies here!

Holiday Business Card Exchange & Volunteer Appreciation Open House

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Event News, Marketing

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with Langer Real Estate Services to celebrate their 25th Anniversary and to celebrate the River Heights Chamber’s member volunteers this year!

We hope you can join us for this Holiday Business Card Exchange & Chamber Volunteer Appreciation Open House:

Thursday, December 15, 2016
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Southview Country Club, 239 E. Mendota Road, West St. Paul
(Fireside room)

There is no cost to attend the event, however, RSVP’s are appreciated – click here for more details.

The event is co-sponsored by Langer Real Estate Services and Dakota Electric Association.

celebrating-25-years-logo-2      dakota-electric-updated-9-21-15

Voters Demand Progress at Legislature

Nicole Bengtson
Business Ideas, Editorials

Voters Demand Progress at Legislature

By: Jennifer Gale, President, River Heights Chamber & Doug Loon, President Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Change swept the nation in this year’s elections as America woke up to a President-Elect Donald Trump in his upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Change propelled the shakeup in Minnesota’s political landscape, too, as Minnesotans affirmed their support for divided government. The Legislature is now firmly Republican. The executive branch remains Democrat under Governor Mark Dayton.

Voters were also crystal clear about their expectations that the Governor and Legislature will govern – that they will work together to develop, debate and pass solutions to our state’s most pressing problems. No stalemates. No stagnation. Our policymakers must use the experience of the last two years to build a record of progress that all Minnesotans will be proud of. The River Heights Chamber, Minnesota Chamber and our local partners are ready to do our part.

The election offers some key takeaways:

  • Personal economics were on Minnesotans minds – especially health care, but also economic growth and wage growth. Everyone wants to be part of a growing economy.
  • Good candidates and hard work produce solid results.
  • The House and Senate are mirroring each other in the state’s political landscape. Democrats are being elected primarily in the urban core and are increasingly liberal; Republicans hail in primarily the outer ring suburbs and regional centers.
  • Republicans are making substantive gains in the suburbs that we have not seen for years.

The Senate now stands at 34 Republicans and 33 Democrats, according to unofficial results. Two races are within the vote totals that trigger automatic recounts. Margins in the House are larger with 76 Republicans and 57 Democrats elected. In addition, one House seat remains unresolved; a special election is scheduled for February 14 for District 32B.

We are ready to present, discuss and help pass solutions that will accelerate the development and growth of our local and statewide economy. The MN Chamber’s annual Minnesota Business Benchmarks provides an excellent springboard for our legislative agenda. The River Heights Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be reviewing these priorities for 2017:

  • Reduce business taxes that undermine growth, entrepreneurship and expansion of Minnesota businesses.
  • Pass long-term, comprehensive transportation package that increases investment in the state’s multimodal infrastructure.
  • Allow flexibility in workplace regulations and oppose one-size-fits-all mandates; pass statewide pre-emption of local labor mandates.
  • Provide employers with more options and greater flexibility in providing health care coverage for employees.

The election provides the political landscape for the 2017 Legislature. The budget forecast will set the financial parameters. The 2016 Legislature adjourned with a $729 million surplus for FY 2016/17 which will likely change in the December 2nd report.  We are most effective at the Capitol when we build relationships and elect legislators who understand business issues.

The 2017 Legislature convenes January 4, and our work has already begun. The election results are shaping our 2017 proposals. Now, policymakers and business leaders must work collectively to adopt them. That way we will be ready for the future – ready for change and ready to grow.