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Working Together to Keep the Economy Moving Forward

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

By Doug Loon, Minnesota Chamber and Jennifer Gale, River Heights Chamber of Commerce

Every employer and employee feels the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. Those of us in the network of state and local chambers, like the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, would like to thank employers and employees throughout Minnesota for navigating this crisis to mitigate the health impacts and keep our state moving forward. And if you are a business that is currently struggling or confused about the resources available to you, reach out to us. We can help- visit our business resources page at http://www.riverheights.com/covid19/.

Businesses are innovating and leveraging available resources.
Minnesota is blessed with a landscape of innovative companies and skilled workers. Employers and employees are continuing to find ways to work safely, keep essential operations open, meet customer demands and protect critical supply chains. Most impressive, companies are showing their ingenuity to transform operations almost overnight to supply products and services critical to bringing this pandemic under control.

Chambers of Commerce share the goal of ensuring a healthy business community and economy. The stakes are higher today, and our efforts are escalated as we fight this pandemic. We are working tirelessly for our members – listening to their needs and responding in their best interest.

Chambers are bringing businesses together.
Your local and state chambers work with businesses of every type, size and industry, and in every corner of the state. By listening to the needs of our members, we are able to make connections between challenges and solutions – during this crisis and long afterward.  The River Heights Chamber has been sharing critical information to keep the business community abreast of the latest resources/tips/programs available to them, creating webinars and virtual events (like the Small Business Award Celebration on April 23 at 2:00 pm) to keep businesses informed and communicating with one another, as well as sharing the accomplishments and needs of its business members within the local community.

Chambers are advocating for employers and employees.
Minnesotans’ health and safety are paramount concerns for all of us. We share the goal of our elected officials to reduce the spread of the virus and simultaneously protect the long-term strength of the private-sector economy. It’s a delicate balance, and we have worked with legislators, and Governor Walz and his administration to make decisions with this balance in mind.

Chambers are speeding resources and assistance to keep communities thriving.
Every company is impacted by the state and federal directives related to COVID-19. Those deemed essential are doing what they can to keep shelves stocked and meet customer demands. If they were required to close their physical doors, many are continuing remotely or pivoting their operations. This was not their choice, but they are reviewing every funding option available to continue to make payroll, or act in good faith on behalf of their employees to keep their businesses open while mitigating health impacts.

The twists and turns of the pandemic are changing daily. Your chambers of commerce provide timely and trusted information to navigate this crisis. We know businesses are looking for funding and resources to mitigate this crisis. Your state and local chambers are here to help you navigate the various options and maximize the benefit for your business and employees. Our offices may be closed due to the “stay at home” order, but we are only a phone call or email away.

Businesses contribute to our shared quality of life in Minnesota. Generations-owned family companies and new entrepreneurial start-ups are equally important parts of our community’s and state’s story. The remarkable response of employers and employees everywhere is evidence that Minnesotans are well-prepared to weather this pandemic storm. Working together, we will position Minnesota to return to full productivity and full employment as soon as possible.

For more information, visit the River Heights Chamber of Commerce website at www.riverheights.com.

Annual Small Business Award & Trade Show Going Virtual

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Dear River Heights Business Community,

We are all feeling the pain from this worldwide pandemic in different ways. The River Heights Chamber is here to assist your business in any way possible; we remain committed to supporting you during these challenging times.

Our small businesses are a critical piece of our community, and as such, the Chamber is moving forward to bring you the Small Business Award and Trade Show virtually, to honor and recognize our Small Business of the Year and the importance of small businesses in our community.

Our 2020 Virtual Small Business Award and Trade Show will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 2:00 pm via a Zoom Webinar and is FREE to attend. Chamber Chairman, Adam Bengtson, will facilitate the 2020 Small Business Award Celebration and Best Selling Author of Outperform the Norm, Scott Welle, will share strategies used by high achievers to take your game to the next level, especially during this unique time. And for the grand finale, be there LIVE for the announcement and to honor the 2020 Small Business of the Year and watch their video during this webinar! You don’t want to miss it!

The Trade Show component is a popular piece to this event. All members are invited to participate in the Trade Show which will remain online, viewable and shareable through the end of the year. For only $35, a business can share its logo, messaging and/or a video to the Virtual Trade Show. This is an opportunity to be creative and interact as if it were sharing your business at a LIVE trade show. For example, you can include a link to download and print a coupon to be used at a later date or bring in the coupon for a free giveaway. The sky is the limit!

Click HERE to register for the Virtual Trade Show

This event is supported by our generous sponsors, Town Square Television, Enbridge Energy, Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC, Microtel Inn & Suites By Wyndham and DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Downtown St. Paul.

Register in advance for the 2020 Small Business Award Celebration here!

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

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.

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.

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!

Third Annual River Heights Chamber of Commerce Clay Shoot Open to the Community

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is excited to host its Third Annual Clay Shoot sponsored by Frattalone Companies on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club. Beginners are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Clay or trap shooting is growing exponentially in popularity across all ages and genders. It is the only sport where men and women compete together on equal footing. They shoot from the same stand, and in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, will have double trap teams of one man and one woman.

Trapshooting is the fastest-growing high school sport in Minnesota. At the 2019 MN State Tournament, more than 330 high school teams featuring over 8,300 student athletes competed. Several universities and private trusts have monies allocated providing scholarships for young marksmen, male or female, creating a pipeline to Olympic competition.

There are many reasons for this surge in popularity. Primarily, it is an easy beginner sport. No experience is necessary and it is not physically demanding. Experienced marksman state that sport shooting is 90% mental. Concentration levels are sharpened and expanded. Multiple problem-solving activities involving logic, mathematics, and creative thinking (thinking “outside the box”) are needed and employed to succeed at any level of the shooting sports.

Clay shooting is a sport you can enjoy by yourself or with a team. Brian Martell of Point North Networks and Chair of the 2019 Chamber Clay Shoot believes, “It is a great environment for networking and a prime opportunity for businesses to sponsor the event. Businesses can sponsor a station, a sporting game or one of many other options.” Since first being introduced to the sport at the Chamber’s inaugural event, Martell now shoots regularly and uses his time at the Gun Club for team building and networking.

In addition to the traditional eight-station course, the event includes two popular games from last year. Players can vie for the title of Annie Oakley in the popular last shooter standing contest and teams of two can compete in the Duck Flurry, shooting from a duck tower that throws clays in multiple directions.

Prizes will be awarded to teams with the top course scores and the contest winners. Guns are available for those not using their own. Shells, protective eyewear and earplugs are provided at check-in. Registration opens at 1:00 pm, shotgun start at 2:00 pm with social/dinner/awards following around 4:00 pm. Sponsorship and event registration is available at www.RiverHeights.com/Clayshoot.  Raffle tickets on sale now at the Chamber office, $10/per ticket with only 500 tickets printed – win the Grand Prize of $1000 cash or 2nd place of $500 – do not need to be present to win!

No experience needed- Beginners Welcome! Novice or seasoned, it is time to test your skills.

CONNECTED 2019

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Marketing

You have undoubtedly heard about -and many have supported- the Shop Local, Small Business Saturday and other such initiatives to promote businesses in your community. There is an easy way to identify businesses that support the community. When you see a River Heights Chamber of Commerce CONNECTED 2019 window decal, you know that business is doubly invested in your area’s economic prosperity.

Chamber membership is a visible sign of the businesses’ commitment to growing, maintaining and attracting business to the community. A strong business community is tantamount to creating a desirable region to work, play and live. Businesses that join their local chamber are dedicated to the chamber’s mission to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the area.

Businesses of all sizes play a vital role in the health of the community and have different needs from their local chambers of commerce. For a smaller business, it may be networking and visibility. For larger businesses, it could be government affairs and influence. All members have access to these and other services including opportunities with business and leadership development.

The chamber is leading regional talent attraction through a variety of programs and partnerships aimed at recruiting a solid workforce base for business growth. It is a catalyst in advancing the business community’s economic prosperity, providing countless resources and connections to ignite new growth and inspire leadership.

Look for the Chamber’s CONNECTED decal when you are out in your community. The member list can also be found on the website at RiverHeights.com.

For more information on the Chamber’s role in shaping a business-friendly region, please contact the River Heights Chamber at RiverHeights.com or by phone at (651) 451.2266.