Category Archives: Businesses

Mary Closner say don’t think twice, vote twice for swag, and by Monday midnight, please. She could win $5,000 for her business

CameraZOOM-20130503064014908Loveourlocalbusiness
Mary Closer, proprietor of swag – fine & funky art in downtown Northfield, stopped by my corner office at GBM last week. She has been spamming her friends and enemies (I think I’m both lists) with this email:

I’m still trying to get votes for the Intuit program that supports small businesses by giving financial support. You just click on the link below and go to the search button. Put in "swag – fine & funky art" and vote for me, oh please. You can vote daily and on all the different kinds of technology you might have access to. You don’t have to sign up for anything or download anything. I’m so very appreciative of the assistance from all of you! I need the boost (hopefully $5K) to keep doing what I hope to be doing for a very long time! Art is my thing!
https://www.loveourlocalbusiness.com/

When you get to the vote page (follow her instructions above), you’ll see this text:

swagI recently took over the store from my 87-year-old Mom. She is my only "employee." I’m 48-years-old and she still bosses me around & makes me get her tacos. I’m trying to incorporate technology in the store for the first time after 10 years in business. I’ve started a website, Facebook page, and am working on getting set up with Quickbooks. I need help! I can’t afford to hire a techo-slave/geek/"pool boy" to help me learn the wonders of QB, WordPress & Twitter & social media "stuff." I long to blog about my fabulous store, but alas, I need $5,000 to pay for my techo-helper! Pretty please!!!

As of this writing (12:22 PM Sunday), she’s at 931 votes. Let’s get over 1,000 by midnight Monday. Vote today and again tomorrow.

Robbie’s weekend in the limelight

My sweetie, Robbie Wigley, was in the limelight a bit this weekend.

Robbie Wigley - Melaleuca convention 2013 (photo by Vicki Dilley)20130505_061245

Left: She got an award at the Melaleuca convention in Salt Lake City. Among the hundreds of Senior Directors, she was third in customer retention for the year.

Right: She was in a photo on the front page of yesterday’s Northfield News in a story about the Clothes Closet at the Community Action Center of Northfield where she volunteers.

Featured books at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: Ordinary Grace; Orphan Train

Ordinary Grace

From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

Ordinary Grace“It’s been a while since a story forced me to abandon my plans for the day. This book has all the elements of a great mystery.  The careful plot, skillful placement of evidence, and trajectory of suspense are all immensely satisfying. What sets this story apart is the unsettling detail of family love and the experience of grief.” –Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books

“ Set in the early 60’s, it’s a story told from the perspective of 13-year-old Frank Drum when tragedy comes to call on his family. The author has really captured the era, the small town atmosphere, the Drum family and all the other memorable characters that make up this brilliant novel.Ordinary Grace will stay with me for a long time. ” Kathleen Eddy, Manager, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

All the dying that summer began with the death of a child . . .

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

WKKTold from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer,Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of twelve previous Cork O’Connor novels, including Northwest Angle and Trickster’s Point, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family.


Orphan Train

Orphan Train“I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another’s lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I’d never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.” –Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author ofBelong to Me and Falling Together

“I loved this book: its absorbing back-and-forth story, its vivid history, its eminently loveable characters. ORPHAN TRAIN wrecked my heart and made me glad to be literate.” –Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys

“Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends . . . each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. ORPHAN TRAIN will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.” –Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls

Detailed and beautifully drawn, Orphan Train illuminates a little-known part of America’s history:  Between 1854 and 1929, so-called “orphan trains” transported more than 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children between the ages of 2 and 14 from the East Coast to the Midwest for foster care and adoption. But their treatment often amounted to indentured servitude. Chosen first were infants, for more traditional adoptions, and older boys, for their manual labor; adolescent girls were typically selected last. While some children quickly found love and acceptance, many walked a harder road.

Christina Baker KlineOrphan Train is set in modern-day Maine and early twentieth-century Minnesota.  Kline spends every summer on the coast of Maine and has built a large fan base in the area.  She has also spent 25 years traveling to Minnesota where her husband’s family lives, and has strong ties to the orphan-train riders’ community in the state.

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including Bird in Handand The Way Life Should Be. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007-2011, Kline is a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships (to Ireland and Minnesota), and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey, and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine, where she grew up.


The books are available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

Cannon River Outfitters vs. Cannon River Outfitters

Back in February, the Heritage Preservation Commission approved Jim Bohnhoff’s sign request on behalf of Northfielder Dale Gehring’s new business, Cannon River Outfitters. See the Feb. 28 packet, pages 4-8:

Jim Bohnhoff's Cannon River Outfitters sign sketchesThe Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) is being asked to review a sign permit for a new wall sign at 310 Division Street South for a new shop called “Cannon River Outfitters”.

The sign will be located on the historic Bushnell Building, constructed in 1897.

Dale Gehring is leasing space from the property owners, Lisa Schneewind and Eric Hope, and is proposing three new signs at this location

Northfield Patch ran a story that week titled Bike, Canoe Rental Shop Opening in Downtown Northfield:

Cannon River Outfitters is a full-service bike, kayak, canoe and tubing rental store. There will also be limited fishing equipment and tackle in stock. Local anglers will be happy to hear nightcrawlers will also be available. “I thought it would be a good fit for Northfield,” said proprietor Dale Gehring. “We need to take advantage of the river here in Northfield and I feel that this would be a great addition—a good start.”

Gehring, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, is also an advocate for bike trail connectivity in the area, particularly the Mill Towns Trail route project. After seeing many full-service rental shops in his travels and researching the idea of a similar business in Northfied, Gehring thought a rental shop would work here and could bring more tourism to the area. Cannon Rivers Outfitters is slated to open in late April or early May, Gehring said. It will be located on the backside of The Local Joint, 310 Division St.; the entrance will be in the back of the building.

(FYI, in addition to the PRAB, Dale Gehring is also on the EDA.)

I noticed recently that The Gear Resource at 200 Division has announced on their Facebook page here that they’re launching a ‘sister’ business called Cannon River Outfitters (Facebook page here).

The Gear Resource The Gear Resource - window

Their store window has the announcement, too.

I contacted Dale Gehring a couple weeks ago when I first noticed the dueling businesses but I’ve not heard back.

Do you live in/near downtown Northfield? Does the school calendar matter to you? Then your input is needed

Some news on the two Northfield-related citizen engagement projects that I’m working on:

NDDC's Ross Currier, making the roundsSchool Calendar Straw Poll
Left: my photo of the NDDC’s Ross Currier, navigating icy sidewalks last week to distribute invitations to residents who live near downtown, inviting them to a residential stakeholders meeting this Thursday, 8 pm at the Northfield Public Library. Details here.

Right: a screenshot of the Northfield School Calendar Conversation straw poll that’s now live. Details here.

Sex al fresco redux by the Northfield News: ‘Getting it on in the great outdoors’

Last month, the Northfield News posted this to their Facebook page:

There is something blissfully naughty about getting intimate in public. In high school, we necked in the back seat of our cars on a deserted road because there was no where else to go. Then, we grew up, got married and forgot about the thrill of fooling around under the threat of getting caught. Plenty of studies suggest a little hanky panky in public is a great way to heat up your sex life. But let’s be real, we’re southern Minnesotans. We don’t do that kind of thing.

Or do we? When the mood hits and you’re looking for a change of scenery, where do you take your partner? A local park with secluded trails? A dead end road with a great view of the sunset? A boat in the middle of a quiet lake? Let us know, SoMinn, where do you go to fool around in the great outdoors? We’ll use as many of the locations as we can in our upcoming edition of our A&E publication, SCENE.

I added a comment in response to Faribault Daily News editor and article author Jaci Smith:

Props, Jaci! I did a “sex al fresco in Northfield” blog post back in 2007 on LoGro, based on a Vita.mn article by Alexis McKinnis. Details: http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/1607/

So MN Scene - April cover 2013 So MN Scene - Getting it on in the great outdoors
The April issue of SouthernMinn SCENE is now out in print and online and Jaci Smith’s article, Getting it on in the great outdoors, is on page 42.  She included this reference to VitaMN and LoGro:

Closer to home, about six years ago, the Star Tribune’s Vita.mn took an informal poll and discovered that there was plenty of outdoor sex going on in the Twin Cities, particularly in some of the more isolated areas of the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus.

So, Northfield blogger Griff Wigley did his own informal poll on Locally Grown Northfield, and found out that outdoor sex is alive and well in the city Jesse lames made famous. And Wigley makes a great point, too. Sex al fresco has been going on since the Garden of Eden.

For a look back, see my 2007 blog post Sex al fresco in Northfield and attached comment thread.

VitaMN‘s original story by Alexis McKinnis, Sex … al fresco, is still online.

vitamn-sexalfresco-cover-tn

An invitation to bands: ‘Paradise Live at Grandpa Al’s – A Tribute To Johnny Cash’

549870_345495298901799_1695749899_nThis fall will mark ten years since the passing of Johnny Cash, one of the most beloved performers of all time. On Saturday, October 12th, the Paradise Center for the Arts (PCA) in Faribault will present Johnny Cash: A Tribute to the Man in Black. Eight selected bands and artists will perform songs written by and associated with Cash in a tribute to his enduring legacy.

To that end, the Paradise is sponsoring Paradise Live at Grandpa Al’s every Thursday night this summer, from June through August. Two to three bands will be invited to perform a 45 minute set at Grandpa Al’s in Faribault each week. They must play at least three Johnny Cash songs during their set, and are free to fill the rest of their time out however they choose. The best eight bands, selected by members of PCA’s music committee, will perform at the big show in October.

This is a call, then, to every musician in the state (and Wisconsin too, if need be). We need bands, we need solo performers, we need groups and combos. Come one, come all.  Whatever type of music you play, if you think you’d want to get involved, get in touch with us. Send us a YouTube link, or a link to your website, or Facebook page, or MySpace. Or send us a CD. We’ll take a look and then see about putting you on one of the Thursday night bills. Send us your information to info@paradisecenterforthearts.org.

Grandpa Al’s is one of the premier music venues in Southern Minnesota. Getting a gig there isn’t always the easiest thing to do. This is a rare opportunity to get some exposure on a great stage while paying tribute to an American legend at the same time. The scheduling begins in April, so we hope to hear from you soon.

For more, see Left-Handed Entertainment’s Facebook event page for Paradise Live at Grandpa Al’s – A Tribute To Johnny Cash.

Featured books at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: The Fate of Mercy Alban; The Truth About Love and Lightning

The Fate of Mercy Alban

The-Fate-of-Mercy-Alban-150x231From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb (The Tale of Halcyon Crane, winner of the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction) comes a spine-tingling, modern-day haunted house story set on Lake Superior.

Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior — for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter home, she finds more than just her own personal demons haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House.

Wendy-WebbLong-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House during which a world-famous author took his own life and Grace’s aunt disappeared without a trace. That night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the hidden passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died. Could it have been murder, or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind — and attractive — Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

Wendy Webb is editor-in-chief of Duluth-Superior, an upscale lifestyle magazine. A journalist with two decades of experience, she lives in Minnesota.


The Truth About Love and Lightning

From the author of Little Black Dress comes a new novel about family, lies, and getting what you wish for…

MC.March_.McBride“Seamlessly toggling between decades, McBride delivers a poignant page-turner with flawed but lovable characters.” —Publisher’s Weekly

McBride’s novel is a gentle reminder of the unexpected and inevitable nature of change.” —Booklist

“A tender story of a mother and daughter in search of the man they love. Part mystery, part romance, it’s an emotional tale of the power of forgiveness. A truly notable book highlighting the importance of family, this novel is a must-read pick.” –MomTrends.com

Susan McBride weaves a tapestry of words, and balances wry humor with a deeply touching narrative in the story of one family, and the history of the lies that built it up. Pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s child, Abby Brink returns home to the family farm on the day of a twister, only to discover a mysterious man, struck by lightning—who ight be the father she’s wished would reappear in her life for years. In the midst of this chaos, Gretchen Brink, Abby’s mother and a compulsive teller of white-lies, becomes the caretaker for Abby and the mysterious stranger—all while nursing a fib that could shatter her family.

Susan’s own life is the stuff stories are made of. After being named one of St. Louis Magazines top 20 singles, McBride met and married her personal prince-charming, Ed, only to have this highpoint of personal happiness marred by the trauma of her battle with breast cancer. Now, McBride is stronger than ever, a survivor—and a new mother! Ed and Susan welcomed daughter Emily Alice into their family on June 28th. In the midst of all this familial bliss, it makes sense then that McBride’s latest novel revolves around the bond between a mother and a daughter. In the midst of all this familial bliss, it makes sense then that McBride’s latest novel revolves around the bond between a mother and a daughter.


MC.March.McBride.portraitSusan McBride is the author of women’s fiction, including The Truth About Love and Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, as well as the award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries. She calls herself an “accidental cougar” after meeting a man nine years younger in 2005 when she was a St. Louis Magazine “top single.” They were married in February 2008 and live happily ever after in a suburb of St. Louis. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor and often speaks to women’s groups about her experience. In January 2012, she was named one of St. Louis’ “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In late June of 2012, Susan and her husband, Ed, had their first child, Emily. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring!”


The books are available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

A new blog reflects a shift in my consulting business: Engage Citizens

I’ve been a bit of a laggard here on LoGro lately. For years, I’ve had something new on the blog everyday but in the last month, I’ve only had a few new posts/week and have not been very active in the comment threads.

What’s up?

Engage Citizens - Vertical - 185wI’ve created a new blog called Engage Citizens as I’m shifting more of my Wigley and Associates consulting work to helping local units of government (state, cities, counties, townships, school districts) use online tools and services to—you guessed it—engage citizens.

I’ve been doing online citizen engagement as a citizen since the early 90’s in my work with Northfield.org and continuing here on Locally Grown Northfield since 2006.

Grandview-Development-Framework-finalGriff Wigley, Scott NealBut it was my consulting contract with City Manager Scott Neal and the City of Edina back in April of 2011 when we created the Edina Citizen Engagement project that helped me see how other local units of government could benefit from something similar.

The Grandview District Development Framework project in particular was enlightening because of how the online tools complemented the face-to-face work of the steering committee, consultants, and city staff over the course of 9 months.

Griff Wigley at  League of MN Cities annual conference, 2012Tim Madigan at  League of MN Cities annual conference, 2012Last summer, I presented and facilitated a session for the League of MN Cities annual conference about my work with the City of Edina titled Government 2.0: New Strategies for Engaging the Public.

One of the people in the audience that day was Northfield City Administrator Tim Madigan who, a few months later as most of you LoGro readers are aware, hired me to manage the online engagement for a Developing a parking management plan for downtown.

Chris Richardson, Griff Wigley, Matt HillmanShortly thereafter, when I heard that the Northfield Public Schools District had a calendar project in the works, I approached Superintendent Chris Richardson and HR/Technology Director Matt Hillman about adding an online citizen engagement component. I just finished up the Transformational Technology project for them and last week started another online engagement project with them titled A school calendar conversation with the Northfield community.

I’ll continue to post client updates on my Wigley and Associates blog but most of my consulting-related blogging energy will be devoted to the Engage Citizens blog. I’ve also changed my Griff Wigley Twitter username to @EngageCitizens. I’ll tweet all my new Engage Citizens blog posts but you can also subscribe to Engage Citizens via email or RSS.

Now that I’ve got all this in place, I’ll get back to posting more regularly here on LoGro. I’m scheming on a new doodad for y’all.