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Viewing posts categorised under: Editorials

Important Information from the Governor

Nicole Bengtson
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Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

March 25, 2020

Dear Members,

This afternoon, MN Governor Tim Walz issued an Executive Order directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home and limit movement outside of their homes beyond essential needs for two weeks.
Stay at Home Executive Order Effective Friday, March 27th from 11:59 pm to Friday, April 10th. #StayHomeMN

The closures of bars, restaurants and other public accommodations are extended to May 1st at 5 pm.
This Executive Order authorizes the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distant Learning period beginning on March 30th until May 4th.

Minnesotans may leave their home to perform essential duties and are asked to maintain social distancing.

Workers who provide critical services to the people of MN at this time are exempt. The exemptions are based on federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the US Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota- specific additions. This includes but is not limited to jobs in:

– Healthcare and public health
– Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
– Child care
– Food and agriculture
– News media
– Energy
– Water and wastewater
– Critical manufacturing

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a voice of reason, sharing factual information as it becomes available and we will work tirelessly to advocate for and support our local businesses and communities.

We will be funneling information down to you through our website and social media channels.  The RHCC Members Only Facebook group, the River Heights Chamber Facebook page, our COVID-19 webpage that offers info from our partners, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, DEED and other useful resources.  We are also updating our Facebook page with announcements and opportunities to support our businesses during these challenging times.

 

Adam Bengtson, 2020 Chairman, River Heights Chamber of Commerce

How the River Heights Chamber is Responding to COVID-19

Nicole Bengtson
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Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials, Marketing

March 23, 2020

Dear Chamber Members,

It has been a hard couple weeks to be in leadership, and I imagine for most of you, it’s been a hard couple weeks to be a business owner or employee, a school administrator, a government official, a parent, a student, a friend. What we are currently experiencing is definitely new territory for all of us.

First and foremost, I want to assure you that the River Heights Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a voice of reason, sharing factual information as it becomes available and we will work tirelessly to advocate for and support our local businesses and communities. We will be funneling information down to you through our website here from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, DEED and other useful resources and partners. Last week, we compiled a list of local restaurants, coffee shops & bars, and food establishments who are offering take-out and deliveries (email Colleen with your information or updates), River Heights Region Restaurant & Food Guide.

We will continue to update events (cancelations & virtual events, etc…) and job postings to our website and social media.

We encourage you to come to the social media table with gratitude and positivity. Why? Because we need to band together as businesses and community to support one another.
What can you do?

  • Post your business doing some random act of kindness
  • Highlight your staff or a product we can learn about
  • Share fun facts or historical anecdotes about your business
  • Shout out to another local business

We are in this together. If you have any suggestions for the River Heights Chamber, feel free to email us. We may not have the answer, but we can listen. I am so proud of the measures so many of you are taking already to adapt and showcase leadership to those around you.With Admiration,

Adam Bengtson, 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors
& Jennifer Gale, President, River Heights Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Federation Launches Legislative Agenda – River Heights Businesses Speak Out

Nicole Bengtson
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Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials

The River Heights Chamber reached out to members to hear their challenges to growing jobs in Minnesota – here are what a couple of them said and more from Minnesota Chamber President, Doug Loon, on the Chamber Federation’s Legislative policies.

Mar 2, 2020
By Chamber President Doug Loon

Strike up a conversation with any business owner on the challenges to growing jobs in Minnesota, and the themes ring familiar.

High taxes hinder growth. Access to quality health care at an affordable price. The increasing number of government-mandates on employee benefits. Shortage of skilled workers.

Businesses of all types and sizes feel these stresses. Job-creators across the state hold their collective breath as the 2020 Legislature gets underway. Listen to those on the front lines as we seek ways to lessen these headwinds and create economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.

St. Cloud and River Heights are among the 40-plus members of the Minnesota Chamber Federation, which unites and amplifies the voice of local chambers by advocating for policies to grow business in every corner of the state. Together with the Minnesota Chamber, the Federation is launching its 2020 agenda as the Legislature gets underway.

Workplace regulations are center stage for St. Cloud businesses, says Teresa Bohnen, president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Among their concerns is the broad wage theft law that, among other things, penalizes employers for unintentional payroll errors. “It seemed like the wage theft law sailed through last year without much consideration of the unintended consequences. Now we are requiring all businesses to absorb additional costs related to excessive paperwork and compliance to regulations that the vast majority of them were already following.”

The Federation will pursue modifications in the wage theft law.

We also continue to oppose “one size fits all” state mandates that limit employers’ ability to design competitive benefit packages for their employees. The patchwork of local mandates is cited in Inver Grove Heights. “Many small businesses don’t just work in one community,” says Brenda Dietrich, co-owner of Hardline Concrete & Masonry. “When cities make their own legislation, such as mandating wages and benefits, it is a hindrance to small businesses.”

Kari Rihm, president and chief executive of Rihm Family Companies, underscores the most widespread difficulty facing businesses: Finding workers. “Too few people are going into trades, and too many people are retiring from them.” she says. “It’s no secret. Businesses will be stymied if they can’t hire enough experienced, skilled workers.” The Federation continues to seek systemic reforms to raise all student achievement, ensuring every high school graduate is ready for postsecondary education or a career.

Local employer concerns resonate with Jennifer Gale, president of the River Heights Chamber. “We need to align our state’s legislative policies with our desire to keep Minnesota competitive,” she says. “Local chambers can work side by side with our legislators to connect them with business owners who know firsthand the everyday challenges.”

Conforming Minnesota law with the federal Section 179 tax code tops our tax agenda to allow immediate expensing equipment purchases. Rounding out our priorities are requiring a cost-benefit analysis as part of any proposal to add insurance mandates to state law and supporting environmental policies that drive private investment in Minnesota while helping employers reduce environmental impacts.

Federation partners have collectively advanced employer priorities for more than a decade; they represent 43 communities and 21,000-plus businesses.

If you want to be in the know – and lend your collective voice to help improve the lives of all Minnesotans – I encourage you to become a member of your local chamber or the Minnesota Chamber. Sign up for email updates throughout the legislative session to keep abreast of what is happening at the Capitol.

As one employer, your voice can be a whisper. Combine it with hundreds of others, and your voice becomes a roar.

A Guide to Opening or Expanding a Business… In the City of Inver Grove Heights

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Marketing

Do you have a business idea? Have you wondered where to even start when considering to open your own business or expand to a new area? Look no further if you are considering Inver Grove Heights!  Together, Progress Plus, the economic development foundation of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Inver Grove Heights made “A Guide to Opening or Expanding a Business… In the City of Inver Grove Heights” just for you!

Please feel free to contact us at Progress Plus if you have any questions on your business journey, economic development search or when using this guide.

Click on the image below or here to download the PDF of this Guide for Inver Grove Heights

The information presented in this guide book is provided for the convenience of the reader. While every effort has been made to ensure that all presented information is accurate at the time it is published, the City of Inver Grove Heights and the River Heights Chamber of Commerce cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information presented herein.

A guide to opening or expanding a business in the City of Inver Grove Heights, MN

Meet Our Award Winners Celebrated at the 117th Annual Meeting

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Celebrating 117 Years and Honoring Business of the Year, Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence, Rising Star & Employer of People with Disabilities Awards

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 117th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 9th at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront.

At this year’s meeting, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce awarded Heidi Satre of Neighbors Inc. the 2019 Rising Star award for her volunteerism with the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee and her many other contributions to the community.  Vance Boelter of the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board presented in partnership with his organization, the Employer of the Year for People with Disabilities Award, to Town Square Television for employing individuals with disabilities through Proact to clean their studios for over two decades.

Adam Bengtson, of Endorse Communications, was introduced as the 2020 Chairman of the Board and commented, “Those who know me well might describe me as a runaway optimist.  But I believe that’s for good reason.  The amazing advancements in the ways we live, conduct business and drive change are accelerating every day.  In a matter of just two or three generations, the landscape of technology around us has completely transformed nearly every facet of our lives.  I’m incredibly excited that the Chamber is leading the way in adopting this way of thinking.

Of course, these changes and improvements don’t happen in a vacuum.  It takes ideas and energy from stakeholders from all around our community – that especially includes business and civic leaders in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.”

Chairman Bengtson presented the River Heights Chamber 2020 Business of the Year to Drkula’s 32 of Inver Grove Heights, and later presented the 2019 Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award in memory of Carol Swenson to her family. To watch their individual award videos, check out the Chamber’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/riverheightschamber.

The audience also heard an inspiring keynote from Ian Leonard, Chief Meteorologist, FOX 9.

“What have you done for someone else today?” A question everyone can ask themselves, their staff, and their family – “live your passion with a purpose!”

Special thanks to the Annual Meeting event sponsors Waterous Company and Town Square Television, major sponsors CHS Inc, and Xcel Energy, and contributing sponsors Flint Hills Resources, Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau and Mahoney, Ulbrich, Christiansen and Russ, P.A.

Welcome to 2020 from Your Chairman of the Board

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials

Greetings,

As I think about 2020, I cannot help but think of vision.  Vision of what is to come.

When the River Heights Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1903, I suspect the business leaders and visionaries of that era aimed to create an organization that could bring people together over shared interests, create opportunities for collaboration and solidify commitment to build a community that would withstand the strong headwinds that lay ahead.  I’m also nearly certain that, while those ideals still hold true today, even these visionaries could not have predicted how quickly the world would continue to change around us.

I believe to my core that we are living in the most amazing time in history.  On the whole, we are living longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives and are afforded opportunities to create extraordinary change.  And although the technology we use each day has become so ubiquitous it seems nearly transparent; it would likely seem nothing short of magical to our predecessors of even 50 years ago.

Our world is changing at an unprecedented, accelerating pace.  While this can be challenging, it is up to us as leaders in our community to remember the ideals over which our predecessors united so many years ago: connect with one another, collaborate to address shared interests, and reinforce our communities to thrive in the years ahead.

In 2020, the Chamber will continue to serve as a catalyst for this change.  We will widen our circles of connection through membership and involvement and discover shared interests.  We will be called to connect with the students who fill our classrooms and prepare them for the fast-paced world that awaits them.  We will shape policies that will strengthen our local economy and our growing population.  And we will deepen our connection to a global economy – seizing the nearly limitless opportunities it provides.

2020 will be a year of extraordinary opportunity to unite, collaborate and adapt to the change around us.  No matter your role, no matter your passion, I invite you to find your place in the River Heights Chamber, be a catalyst for progress and prepare our communities for the amazing future that awaits.

Here’s to an incredible year – and the prosperity that it holds for us all.

Adam D. Bengtson
2020 Chairman, River Heights Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
President & CEO, Endorse Communications

A Letter from Your 2019 Chairman

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials

Greetings fellow River Heights Business Community,

As I end my year as the 2019 Chairman of the Board for the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, I would like to share a few of the River Heights Chamber’s achievements within our business community over the past year.

2019 was all about connections. As I look back on the year, I am most proud of the connections we’ve made that align with our mission. Whether that be working with educators, interns or the TriDistrict programs, the cities of South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights, participating in grand-openings, groundbreaking ceremonies or tours to highlight our expansions in development, or the work we have done to connect the resources in the community to needs of the business owners in the community.

One of the goals set by our Board was to identify and assign actionable solutions related to the growing talent shortage. In 2019, the River Heights Chamber hosted an intern from St. Thomas University who worked on Chamber placemaking and directing our communication messaging to portray cities that are attractive to people wanting to come and live and work in the area.

We brought together schools and students to help draw in kids and educators to understand the future needs of our community workforce through the Business and Education Bus Tour.
The River Heights Chamber helped the TriDistrict create an Entrepreneur pathway and Trades pathway to compliment the already existing Transportation and Healthcare programs.

Our board and staff focused on tools to assist developers at City Hall through the development process. We worked with new and current developers to update development agreements and work through the process in both cities. A once stagnant development is building what will be a 3-phase industrial park in IGH. We continue to work on publishing, with the help of Progress Plus and both cities staff, an Opening or Expanding a Business Guide.

We continued to invite legislators to Local Issues to connect their state policies at the local level. There was weekly communication about the legislative activities sent out to members to keep them informed of policies being discussed about their industry to industries important to Minnesota’s economy.

We are on track to add 40 more businesses to the Chamber’s network – 75% of goal as of Oct. 2019.

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce exists to ensure that local leaders have a reason and a place to connect.  Showing up and making the most of your Chamber membership is the key to success.

This year, it was my pleasure to celebrate all the things our members and community is doing to make the River Heights Chamber area such a great place to live, work and play. I look forward to connecting with you at a Chamber event soon!

Sincerely,

Jake Sedlacek
2019 Chairman of the Board of Directors, River Heights Chamber of Commerce
Manager, Community Relations and Economic Development, Xcel Energy

County-wide Chamber Business Expo – Open to the Public

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Area Chambers of Commerce Partner to Host Business Expo Networking Event

Inver Grove Heights, MN (October 14, 2019) – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit business organization that supports businesses in Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul, is partnering with area Chambers of Commerce, to bring you the annual County-Wide Chamber Business Expo.

Top Five Reasons You Should Attend:
1. Meet and connect with great people and businesses throughout Dakota County
2. Enjoy complimentary, delicious hors d’oeuvres
3. Visit 40+ booths from participating vendors
4. Chance to win multiple door prizes (some valued at $100!)
5. It’s FREE and Open to the Public!

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Apple Valley, Burnsville, Hastings and Lakeville Area Chambers of Commerce, invite you and a guest to attend the County-wide Chamber Business Expo, an After Hours Networking Event, on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at GrandStay Hotel & Conference of Apple Valley, located at 7083 153rd St. W, in Apple Valley.

“Whether you are looking to make a new connection, grow your business or learn about businesses (big and small) in Dakota County, this expo has something for everyone,” says Colleen Murphy Roth, Director of Membership Development for the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.

Special thanks to our event sponsor Dakota Electric Association.

Be sure to get there early to meet as many people as you can and enjoy the delicious appetizers and cash bar available. Remember to bring your business cards, too! More event details can be found at www.riverheights.com or by contacting the River Heights Chamber office at 651.451.2266 ext. 1032.

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to making connections and delivering resources that benefit local businesses. Visit www.riverheights.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about the benefits of membership and events.

Please schedule your blood donation appointment today!

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News

The River Heights Chamber is proud to sponsor our next blood drive with the American Red Cross on Monday, September 30th.

An estimated 38 percent of Americans are eligible to give blood or platelets, but of those, less than 10 percent actually donate each year. Most importantly, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for donors of all blood types to give blood in support of kids fighting cancer, patients with sickle cell disease and others facing serious illnesses. Type O and B blood donors are critically needed right now, learn more here. Therefore, if you are healthy and eligible, please come out to donate!  Most donations take about an hour, so book your appointment, roll up your sleeve and become a part of the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and River Heights Chamber of Commerce.

To schedule an appt for this event, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter: RHCC.  For day-of walk-ins, donors can save up to 15 minutes by using RapidPass® to complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online. For more information, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass.

Drive Details:
Monday, September 30, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
River Heights Chamber of Commerce Parking Lot, 5782 Blackshire Path, Inver Grove Heights, MN 
Sign up at RedCrossBlood.org using code: RHCC

There are many ways you can help, but most importantly we hope you come out to donate.

 

Sincerely,

The River Heights Chamber Staff

A Breakdown of Our 100 Year Old Businesses

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

1919, that seems like forever and a day ago, right? Well, it was 100 years ago! The year was not in the least bit ordinary.  It had the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, drowning 21, the origination of the UPS, the foundation of the American Legion, a Stanley Cup that was not awarded because of a flu epidemic, the founding of SSP’s own Croatian Hall, the creation of Southview Country Club and lastly the birth of the Globe Publishing Co., a union shop from the onset.  How did these local businesses start, what changes have they seen over the years and what does it mean to them to reach this milestone?

The Croatian Hall was built by the Croatian immigrants that settled in South St. Paul at the turn of the century.  The Hrvatski Dom (Croatian Home) was built as a gathering place for Croatians to meet, celebrate their heritage with traditional food and music and get help with learning English, finding jobs and any other help they might need. Through the last 100 years, it has changed from a Croatian-only club to a community gathering place for the whole community, regardless of ethnic background.  The Hrvatski Dom Board members are proud of the positive impact they have had on South St. Paul and surrounding communities while continuing to celebrate their Croatian heritage with others across the state and region.  Their 100th Anniversary celebration saw the next generation of Croatian-Americans and community members get involved to continue the legacy of the Cro – the community gathering place and the Hrvatski Dom – their Croatian heritage.  The Cro – you know where it’s at!

For Southview Country Club,  1919 brought a different kind of gathering space. Local South St. Paul businessmen decided they wanted to build a golf course to bring local businessmen together.  The gentlemen purchased the Peters Farm and started Louogden Country Club, named after two prominent South St. Paul residents; Lou Swift and Ogden Armour.  Prior to 1975, the club was owned by different private businessmen.  The members purchased the club from some investors in 1975, and ever since has been owned by the membership. The original idea of bringing local businessmen and golfers together still holds true today; however, it has become so much more. Southview Country Club is a place for men, women and families to come together for golf, work and celebrations of all kinds.  Many of their members join for the golf and stay for the long-lasting memories and relationships they have created.   The golf course has evolved with time as it began as a 9-hole course with sand greens.  Now it is an 18-hole golf course which is highly recognized by many Minnesota golfers.  Southview has been host to the Tapemark Charity Pro Am since it began in 1972.  Being a long-standing and successful club says a lot about our members.  Southview Country Club has had its share of difficulties over the last 100 years, but the one constant is our members and their love and passion for their club.

Looking back on the beginning of Globe, Charlie Regan and his partner, Jay Dunbar, purchased the “Globe” on September 26th, 1919.  It originally published a newspaper, hence the name, with Regan being the editor.  It turned into a print shop and in 1955, Ed Horst and John Goff Jr. bought it from Regan & Dunbar.   Ed bought out his partner in 1960 and 60 years later, here they are with a second-generation family-owned business.

Bill and Dan Horst have since taken over the day-to-day operations of the business and their father, Ed (E.W., aka Grandpa Eddie), passed away peacefully in November 2013.  Working in and with the Exchange Building commission companies kept them on their toes and some of those relationships go back 70-75 years.  High-speed digital printing and 2 color presses have changed what they can do for their customers.  While the printing industry has seen many changes and methods, the same values that their father taught them growing up still ring true as their main focus today, their dedication to quality and the trust of their customers.  “This 100-year milestone is a tribute to all of the people associated with Globe, whether owners, employees (past and present), customers (past and present) or vendors,” says Dan Horst.

Congratulations to these River Heights Chamber members, Croatian Hall, Southview Country Club and Globe Printing and Office Supplies –  Happy 100 Years!