Tag Archives: Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Northfield’s Convention and Visitors Bureau: What needs to be changed?

In today’s Northfield News – Promoting Northfield’s identity: Convention and Visitors Bureau presents strategic plan

In addition to approving the CVB’s budget at its Feb. 5 meeting, the council said it wants to direct the group to reexamine its bylaws and look at potential options for an increased downtown CVB presence. The council also brought up concerns on how the CVB plans to engage various stakeholders and how to hold the group accountable to those plans.

Visiting Northfield homepageThe article goes on to quote Councilors Jessica Peterson White and Suzie Nakasian, and notes how some councilors question the interconnectedness between the CVB (public website VisitingNorthfield.com) and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC):

For example, the group’s policies and procedures currently state that those allowed to participate on the CVB advisory board must be members of the NACC, unless appointed by the mayor and city council. Some council members said that that strong overlap limits who can be on the CVB board, narrowing the pool of potential stakeholders involved.

See pages 3-28 of last night’s Council packet where the CVB was discussed in the work session.

Let’s scrap ‘Small Business Saturday’ and ‘Be Local, Buy Local’ in favor of something simpler


I’m not sure what happened to promotion for this year’s Small Business Saturday here in Northfield but it seems to have tanked right along with Be Local … Buy Local (BLBL), the campaign by the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation “that promotes the importance of shopping locally for products and services in the Northfield area.” If you want to learn about the entrepreneur industry, I recommend Lee Rosen Miami, CEO of healthy bees business.

My suggestion?

Keep it simple:


Northfield citizens decline to help capture robbery suspect; severe impact on tourism feared

America's Best Value Inn & Suites - NorthfieldWhen the word of this morning’s robbery at America’s Best Value Inn & Suites on Hwy 3 began trickling out via police scanners, most Northfielders were sound asleep.

When KYMN Radio and Northfield Patch began sounding the alarm at around 6 am that one of the suspects had fired at police officers and fled, members of the Northfield Police Department assumed that citizens would respond in droves to help capture one of the suspects who was still at large and believed to be in the Sechler Park area.

By time the Northfield News began covering the story several hours later, gloom was apparent on the faces of the police officers on duty.  “We had extra department staff ready to handle the flood of citizen volunteers by deputizing them and issuing them firearms,” said Taylor Marcus, Northfield’s Public Safety Director. “No one showed up. No one emailed. No one tweeted. We had no choice to but to call other law enforcement agencies for help. It was embarrassing.”

robberWhen the suspect was finally apprehended mid-morning, the Defeat of Jesse James Days and Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce boards of directors were already in an emergency joint session.  “It’s a Category 4 public relations nightmare,” said Chamber Executive Director Marie Schmaltzy. “If word of this colossal failure of our citizens to respond gets out, we’re likely to see a devastating impact on attendance at DJJD next year.”

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Dewayne Reddy, DJJD board member.  “Northfielders have essentially become a bunch of yellow-bellied, lily-livered, milk-toasted, panty-waisted wimp chickens.  We’ve been riding on the courage of the town’s ancestors from the 1876 bank raid for over 100 years and we’re now morally bankrupt, no pun intended. It’s a sad day. I feel like turning in my spur.”

Noting that the weapon used in today’s robbery had not yet been found, KYMN radio’s Jim Friedman, organizer of the annual DJJD Horseshoe Hunt, said he would attempt to mobilize the citizenry in the morning to help find the suspect’s gun. When asked what he would do to motivate people to participate, Friedman said, “I haven’t got a clue.”

It’s true. Working alone sometimes stinks. Therefore…

The Spur: Working alone stinks. Let's work together. The Spur: Working alone stinks. Let's work together. Grand Opening: The Spur Jack Hoschouer, Arlen Malecha, Megan Tsui, Mary Schmelzer
The Spur, the Northfield Enterprise Center‘s new coworking and incubator/accelerator facility in downtown Northfield, had its grand opening last Thursday. Among the attending dignitaries (right photo above on the Spur’s back deck): Jack Hoschouer, Arlen Malecha, Megan Tsui, Mary Schmelzer.

The Spur’s sidewalk sandwich board proclaims:

Working alone stinks. Let’s work together.

 Megan Tsui, Shafi Shahriar Megan Tsui, Shafi Shahriar raffle winner
NEC Executive Director Megan Tsui and intern Shafi Shahriar picked the raffle ticket for the Kindle Fire, donated by Community Resource Bank. The winner: Carla Hansen.

Tami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, presenting at the SpurSummer of Social Learning - FacebookTami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, presenting at the Spur

Earlier in the day in the Spur’s conference room,Tami Enfield of Brand Yourself Consulting, hosted a free Lunch ‘n Learn session on ‘Facebook for Business,’ part of the ‘Summer of Social Media’ series sponsored by the NEC and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber wants voter approval for Safety Center financing. I do, too.

In Saturday’s Nfld News: Chamber board wants voter approval for Northfield Safety Center financing:

Northfield ChamberThe Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce board believes voters should decide whether to use bonds to finance a new Safety Center. Failing to do so, says board President Rick Estenson, could completely derail the project, in the works for more than four years.

The board, according to Estenson, will submit a letter to the council Monday, detailing its concerns about the vote set for Tuesday night. If the council agrees to finance the project with Capital Improvement Bonds, voter approval isn’t required. The bonds do allow for taxpayers to weigh in however, by calling for a reverse referendum. A referendum could come if opponents of the proposed bond issue get 398 registered voters to sign a petition calling for a referendum.

See pages 155-184 of the Council packet for Tuesday’s Council meeting and public hearing:

Public Hearing on the Capital Improvement Plan (Bonds);

b. Consider Approval of a Resolution 2012-054 Giving Preliminary Approval for the Issuance of Capital Improvement Plan Bonds (not to exceed $7,280,000)

Are Northfield businesses leveraging bricks with clicks?

Hans Muessig and Ross Currier Hans Muessig presentation in Northfield
Northfielder Hans Muessig is a Director with the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities program at University of Minnesota Extension. Last week, he was the presenter for Doing business online, the first in a series of three workshops on ‘Reaching Customers in the 21st Century’ that’s sponsored by the NDDC, the EDA, the NEC, and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

See Ross Currier’s posts on his NDDC blog:

Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathy Feldbrugge resigns

Kathy Feldbrugge, 2008I first heard about Kathy Feldbrugge’s resignation last night via Suzy Rook’s tweet. I got the press release below this morning from Leah Rich at Neuger Communications.

It’s all nicely worded, of course, but I’ve long been a critic of Kathy’s leadership and her departure is long overdue IMHO. For example, see my remarks in this 2008 blog post and the attached thread of 100+ comments.  I’m guessing that the Chamber’s ongoing drop in membership numbers had something to do with her resignation.

Might this be an opportunity for the Chamber Board, the NDDC board, and the NEC Board to do something creative, organizationally speaking?

NORTHFIELD, MINN. (February 28, 2012) – After 31 years of service to the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Kathy Feldbrugge announced this week that she is resigning her role as executive director effective at the end of April 2012. She informed the Board of Directors on Monday at its monthly Board meeting and the Chamber membership was notified through an email from Chamber President Rick Estenson.
Estenson said, “On behalf of the members of the Chamber, we thanked Kathy for her tireless work and guidance to the business community. Thirty-five years of service in Chamber work – all but four of them with the Northfield Chamber – is a wonderful feat. We will be looking for ways to express our appreciation to Kathy in the days ahead.” The Chamber Board will meet again later this week with Feldbrugge to begin an Executive Director search and explore the ingredients of a smooth transition, according to Estenson.  

The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce is a business organization that promotes the Northfield area and the local business community. Feldbrugge said, “The Chamber is comprised of local businesses and business-minded individuals who have banded together with one goal in mind: to advance the commercial, financial, industrial and civic interests of the community. In short, the Chamber is here to help businesses thrive.”

Feldbrugge emphasized that she is not retiring, but is merely looking to take on another challenge in her career. “I feel as though I have one more stop left in my career and I’m looking for a new challenge to energize me,” she said. “This was a very difficult decision for me. I knew if I was going to make a career shift, now was the time. I grew up in this Chamber. I’ve seen its highs and lows. I’ve come to love this community and the businesses it nurtures. I’ll miss my leadership role in the Chamber, but I’m looking forward to my next challenge.” Feldbrugge said she does not yet know what that challenge will be. “I’ve always been 100 percent committed to the Chamber’s success and the vitality of the business community in Northfield,” Feldbrugge explained. “I couldn’t maintain that commitment while at the same time looking for my next career move so I decided this announcement was the best for all involved.”

Estenson added, “This is a courageous move by Kathy. I wish her nothing but the best as she identifies her next opportunity.”
Estenson also said the Chamber is moving full speed ahead. “Although Kathy’s departure will leave a void,” he said, “it also creates opportunities, which is true with any transition.” He said the Chamber Board remains “committed to improving the business climate in Northfield and we are aggressively seeking ways to enhance the Chamber’s value to its members.”
Businesses and individuals interested in joining the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce are invited to call 507.645.5604 or visit online at www.northfieldchamber.com.

Photo album: Le Tour du Chocolat 2012

Le Tour du Chocolat 2012 participating retailers

On Saturday, Robbie and I did the Le Tour du Chocolat in downtown Northfield. What’s it about? According to the posting on the Be Local Facebook page Wall:

Le Tour du Chocolat 2012Stroll the shops of Division Street in historic downtown Northfield and taste the chocolate delights while signing up for drawings.

See the large slideshow of 20 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Northfield City Hall to open at 12:01 am on Black Friday; Chamber/CVB reluctantly follows suit

City of NorthfieldNorthfield City Administrator Tim Madagascar announced last week in his Weekly Memo that City Hall will open for business at midnight (12:01 am) on Black Friday.

"Since it’s the busiest shopping day of the year, our customers—sometimes known as citizens—are demanding that we be responsive," Madagascar said. " Northfield Target is opening at midnight and we want to be ready to serve those folks who might want to apply for a license, make a reservation, or submit an application for the council vacancy when they’re done shopping.  It’s part of our mission—striving for excellence, committed to service."

On Tuesday, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katarina Fellbore announced that their Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau office at 205 3rd St. West would open just after midnight on Black Friday as well.

Northfield Chamber "Buy More" card"My Board of Directors thinks it’s an opportunity for us to tell the out-of-towners who will be heading to Northfield Target all the great things about shopping in Northfield," said Fellbore. "Frankly, I think that’s a stretch, since no other stores are opening at that hour. Nonetheless, we’ll be open, handing out CVB brochures and selling our line of Buy More cards that we have left over from last year."

When asked whether it might be more cost-effective for the City and the Chamber to be offering these services via their websites 24X7, both indicated that e-commerce was something they’d be adding in the next five years or so. "Online shopping is likely to catch on with the public by then and when it does, we’ll be ready for it," said Fellbore.