Category Archives: Businesses

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 salmon and halibut fishing excursions, 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 where they conduct spirit plant journeys – a safe place to experience ayahuasca. 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, I remember back then I had a Mercedes Benz car lease and I used to love my car more than anything. 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 article by Alexis McKinnis. Details:

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 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.


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. For more information about vape business visit MigVapor’s vaporizers.

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 and continuing here on Locally Grown Northfield since 2006. Learn how to grow any business online by applying the training found inside of awol academy

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.

Questions? Here’s our website: – long distance movers information

Photo albums: engaged citizens and the Northfield Public School District

Back in mid-January, I took photos of people speaking at open mic at the Northfield Board of Education meeting about the proposed calendar (blog post here).  This week, I took photos of people attending the calendar conversation meeting at the High School (blog post here).  I had my consulting hat on for both events but I thought I’d blog the photos here on LoGro, adding to my collection of 15,000+ photos of Northfield-related events and scenes since 2003.

See the large slideshow (recommended) of 38 photos from the Jan. 14 meeting, or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

See the large slideshow (recommended) of 32 photos from the Mar. 7 meeting, or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

A school calendar conversation with the Northfield community: back to square one

Back in early January, I blogged here on LoGro that Northfield Public Schools Superintendent Chris Richardson had hired me (with my Wigley and Associates consultant hat on) to manage the online engagement for the  ‘balanced calendar’ that was being proposed.   It never happened. Chris later wrote:

At the Jan. 14, 2013 Northfield Board of Education meeting, 26 parents, students and community members spoke with concern about the proposed change to the school district calendar structure for 2013-14. The board voted unanimously to stop consideration of a more balanced calendar for the 2013-14 school year. They directed the administration to recommend a 2013-14 calendar in an upcoming meeting based on the traditional academic year with an after-Labor Day start. In addition, the board requested that administration develop a plan to more deeply engage our community in a discussion about what kind of academic calendar will most benefit students in the future.

Instead, I worked with the District to manage the online engagement for the Transformational Technology proposal which was approved by the Board on Feb. 12.

Northfield Schools Calendar ConversationI’ve now been hired by the District to manage the online portion of a community discussion about school calendars.

I’ve got the project blogsite up and tonight, the District is hosting the first in a series of three community meetings led by Mary Grace Hanson, Director of Teaching and Learning.

(The other dates are April 2 and April 30. All meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the high school upper cafeteria.)

School Board Member Rob Hardy has been writing about school calendars on his Learning Curve blog.

And here’s a Feb. 27 Northfield Patch video by Supt. Chris Richardson talking about the calendar conversation:

Tandem Bagels, opening Tuesday: Northfield likes baked goods with coffee

Jim Bohnhoff Tandem Bagels Howie Holt
Last Wednesday I had a front row seat from my corner office window at GBM as Jim Bohnhoff , Howie Holt and crew mounted the exterior signs for the new Tandem Bagels shop next door that opens tomorrow morning.

Tandem Bagels, Northfield Tony Frentz Tandem Bagels
Shop co-owner Tony Frentz was inside, also wearing his hat as owner of Frentz Construction in Mankato. Tony said his wife, Anne Frentz, runs the bagel business (they also have a shop in Mankato) but that one of their employees there will be moving to Northfield to manage the shop here.

This means that the east side of the 300 block of downtown Northfield will now have three shops selling baked goods with coffee: Tandem Bagels, Goodbye Blue Monday Coffeehouse ("Coffee, Tea, Bakery"), and CakeWalk Custom Cakes & Dessert Bar?.

Nfld News: Tandem Bagels opening Tuesday in downtown Northfield

Update March 5, 6 am:

Marty Larson, Tandem BagelsTandem Bagels, NorthfieldTandem Bagels, NorthfieldTandem Bagels, Northfield
I arrived for my GBM coffee at the usual hour this morning and the new manager of Tandem Bagels next door, Marty Larson, was out shoveling the sidewalk.  Marty and his wife and daughters (ages 6 and 8) will be moving to Northfield in the near future. He took one look at the fat bike I was on and noticed the Milltowns Cycles sticker on it. "I’m friends with Ben Witt."  He then let me inside to take some pre-7-am-opening photos.

Back room, Tandem Bagels, NorthfieldMenu, Tandem Bagels, NorthfieldThe A Team, Tandem Bagels, Northfield
Left: There’s a back room for meetings and those seeking a little peace and quiet.
Center: The menu has some items named after Northfield businesses
Right: The A-Team on duty for opening day: Marty Larson, Lisa, Anne Frentz (co-owner), and ??

Parking management for downtown: Focused blog discussions all week

For the next week (and maybe longer), I’m moderating three focused blog discussion threads on the Parking Management for Downtown blog.

Downtown building owners mtg at RuebDowntown bike commuters mtg at GBMDowntown pedestrian commuters mtg at HideAway

Although each one addresses the concerns of the particular stakeholder group (F2F meeting photos above), the discussions are open to all. Here are the links to each blog post:

Among the many issues raised by the three groups:

  • parking meters
  • enforcement
  • diagonal vehicle parking
  • painting center lines and sharrows
  • crosswalk safety
  • walking routes to downtown

Extra virginity now available in Northfield from Joe and Sherry Morgan

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive OilAbout a month ago, I happened to hear Splendid Table’s Lynne Rossetto Kasper interviewing journalist Tom Mueller about his new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil on her show.

I normally don’t pay much attention to food shows but I knew that Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars had opened their store in downtown Northfield earlier this year. I’m glad I caught it. Read or listen if you want a quick lesson on EVOO, both the industry and the product: What extra virgin means, and who in the olive oil industry abides.

The bar for extra virgin olive oil qualities is fairly low. Apart from some chemical tests, the law essentially says that it has to remind you in odor or in taste of fresh olives, and it can’t have any defects. The typical defects defined by the law are rancidity; fustiness, which is a fermented taste; and earthy, which is dirty olives. Each is connected to a flaw in the oil-making process. The law doesn’t say that it has to have any positive attributes apart from reminding you of olive fruit, so it’s a fairly low bar. Nonetheless, a lot of oils don’t clear it.

Joe and Sherry Morgan, Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars, Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars
Robbie and I stopped by Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars on Bridge Square store yesterday and met the owners, Northfielders (10 years) Joe and Sherry Morgan.

Robbie Wigley, Joe Morgan, Sherry Morgan Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars Northfield Olive Oils And VinegarsNorthfield Olive Oils And Vinegars
I used my better-than-before smartphone camera to take a few photos (the store is a visual treat) while Sherry gave my personal-chef-of-a- wife a tour of the store’s offerings. We got a short lesson from Joe on how to properly do an olive oil taste test: swirl, sniff, slurp and swallow. Who knew? We came home with three bottles of something and I expect we’ll be regulars.

Graham Wigley, Blue Door PubAs we were about to depart, Robbie mentioned to Joe that our three sons were foodies and that two of them manage the two Blue Door Pub locations in the Twin Cities.  Joe laughed and said that he and Sherry are longtime Sunday regulars at the BDP in St. Paul where they’ve gotten to know our son Graham quite well.

You can follow Northfield Olive Oils And Vinegars on Facebook and on Twitter @NorthfieldOlive.

See also the Jan. 4 article on Northfield Patch: Oil and Vinegar Store Opens in Downtown.