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You’re Invited to Food For Thought

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Food for Thought Logo

On the Menu… Branding!

Tuesday, August 21
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Evolve Workplace
260 Wentworth Ave E.,
West St Paul, MN 55118

 

Attend the River Heights Chamber’s new luncheon series called Food for Thought! Each member luncheon will focus on a different topic. On the menu, this month is a branding presentation from Dan Foote of FootePrint Marketing & Advertising as well as the special reveal of the River Heights Chamber’s new brand from Tabor PR!

You’ve likely not heard of Foote, yet you more than likely have heard of the brands that he helped establish.

How did The St. Paul Grill become “A Favorite On Everyone’s List?”

How did Pazzaluna get named Pazzaluna?

Why did a small town in Mississippi have to “Give A Sh-t”  in order to drive economic development?

Most importantly, how can discovering the answers to these questions make a difference to your brand?

Hear how Dan Foote, partner in FootePrint Marketing & Advertising for the past 30-years used the Brand•FootePrint process to help establish each of these brands. And more importantly, how you can take advantage of this same process.

“Never be afraid to ask why and take the time to saunter down a cobblestone path.”  Dan Foote, Partner, FootePrint Marketing & Advertising

Member Spotlight: KOMA

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

We Built This City, by Starship, is not only a successful song from 1985 but is also a theme song KOMA showed their love for in their 2015, 30 year anniversary, music video on YouTube here. No, KOMA didn’t build the city on rock and roll, but they do love to build!

In 1985, Dan O’Brien, Jim Krech and Brian Wass formed a partnership and opened the doors of Krech, O’Brien and Wass after formerly working together for the CHS architectural and structural engineering department that closed. Two years later, Brady Mueller joined the firm as an owner and they became Krech, O’Brien, Mueller + Wass. In 2004, the firm rebranded and became Krech, O’Brien, Mueller and Associates. Under new ownership, the company completed a second rebrand last year and is now doing business as KOMA.

KOMA’s mission is to collaboratively create inspiring, aesthetically pleasing and highly functional spaces for people to live, work, learn, play and worship. They achieve this through hard work, passion, keeping a healthy workplace and teamwork. KOMA has worked with numerous companies within the community including Neighbors, Inc., Old World Pizza, Waterous, CHS and Gertens Greenhouse. They have a wide range of experience in multiple industries including education, corporate offices, retail and industrial.

When asked about what inspires their business, Ashley Riley, marketing coordinator, shared, “We are a firm built on relationships. We embrace partnerships with our clients and we believe people come first, always.” This statement also holds true with their participation in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. KOMA has always volunteered with projects and at events to lend a helping hand since they joined the Chamber over 33 years ago. When asked about their favorite thing about the River Heights Chamber, Ashley said, “We love the people! The Chamber is very inclusive, very welcoming and the relationships are genuine.”

KOMA is a perfect example of how a good company is built. Keeping a healthy workplace while maintaining hard work can be tough for anyone, but when KOMA pairs it with passion and makes sure to add a little fun, they created a strong, cohesive company. The company’s values, their dedicated staff and their dedication to their relationships are ensuring success for KOMA’s future.

Watch their Member Spotlight video with managing partner, Marc DuBois below.

Member Spotlight: Town Square Television

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

When thinking of locally, homegrown businesses none come to mind quite like Town Square Television. Founded in 1987, after its parent NDC4 Cable Commission was founded five years prior, Town Square Television has served Northern Dakota County as its local community media center for nearly thirty-one years.

Jodie Miller, Executive Director of Town Square Television, has been employed by Town Square Television since 1989 and hopes to be there until she retires. When asked about her background, Jodie said, “I have a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and English, writing concentration, and a minor in Business Administration. These credentials allowed me to take over the executive director position in 1993 and have also helped me succeed in my career.”

When asked about what inspires Town Square Televisions’ work, Jodie commented, “Our volunteers, our customers, our viewers, and the people we feature on our programs inspire us every day. Northern Dakota County and its seven cities have many stories to tell, and we are privileged to be able to tell them using video as our medium.” Their inspirations and their business philosophy of, “Lead with your heart. Listen. Be flexible. Be truthful. Be fair and consistent. Be thankful,” have shown their love for the community. This love and support has helped Town Square Television become, and continue to be, such a beloved asset to our community.

“The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is our go-to organization for networking and community outreach. We have been members for twenty-five years. Our customers are Chamber members, our vendors and service providers are Chamber members, and after thirty years in this community, our long-term partners and friends are Chamber members,” added Miller when asked what a membership in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce has meant to their business.

Click below to watch their Member Spotlight video!

April 2018 Member Spotlight: Point North Networks, Inc.

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

Modesty, professionalism, relationships and transcending. These are the founding principles of Point North Networks, Inc.  Brian Emerson, founder and president of Point North Networks, Inc., has a background in computers and networking dating back to high school. Emerson worked for IT consulting firms and contracted with numerous businesses including BestBuy.com and Carlson Companies. This experience sparked Emerson’s interest to start his own IT firm. Emerson states, “I really enjoy new challenges and helping other businesses overcome their technology challenges.” With that drive and helpful nature, Point North Networks, Inc. was created.
In 2005, Emerson started Point North Networks, Inc., a data hosting company for websites, emails and business apps. Point North is a full-service IT company specializing in cloud hosting, server colocation, and managed IT services. Emerson explains, “In addition to having a friendly and knowledgeable tech support staff to help our clients on-site, we have been able to develop a wide range of services. We provide our own cloud hosting out of our Minneapolis data center as well as our own VoIP phone service. We do web design and maintenance, and provide IT cyber-security features, making us a true full-service IT company.”
The business started to take off due to their superb Google ranking. Point North Networks prides itself in exceeding customer expectations by providing their customers with superior IT services and support. Emerson proclaims, “Our overall success is composed of the small, daily victories that we have by helping our customers solve an issue. Over 10 years those can add up!”
Emerson and his staff have been active in the River Heights Chamber where they regularly attend and participate in networking and educational events.
Highlights include:
  • Member of the Business Owners Roundtable
  • Hosted a booth at the 2017 Small Business Trade Show
  • Presented on Cyber Security at the November 2017 Power Lunch
  • Point North staffer, Brian Martell, serves as a River Heights Chamber Ambassador
Emerson is proud to be in the River Heights Chamber and he is also proud of the success of his business. Emerson said, “I want Point North Networks, Inc. to become known as the most trusted IT services company in the Twin Cities that attracts and retains superior clients that hold themselves to the same high standards that we hold ourselves to.”Emerson makes sure to never forget those standards and has an interview hung in his office as a reminder. Emerson shared, “The Pioneer Press did an interview in 2016 with a 75-year-old business owner who was discussing his longevity in the business of being a blacksmith in the ornamental iron trades. He had a line that really resonated with me. He said, ‘give your customer a little more than they expect. You never have to look over your shoulder. Figuring out how to whittle them for 15 cents – That’ll bite ya.’ “
Watch Point North Networks, Inc. Member Spotlight video

2018 Small Business of the Year Announced

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Roadware Incorporated Honored as 2018 Small Business of the Year 

Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce held it’s 29th Annual Small Business of the Year Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul.  Community leaders learned about local businesses at the trade show, learned about The Art of Ship Building (how to build effective and long-lasting ships: friendships, relationships, partnerships, sponsorships) from keynote speaker, Bob Schlichte, of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, celebrated the small business award finalists and heard first-hand who was awarded the 2018 Small Business of the Year!

In the Chamber’s 115th year of business, the board of directors asked how we can continue to build ships in the community and embarked upon a rebranding effort.  Many of you weighed in on what makes our Chamber unique and successful and we heard you loud and clear.  The Chamber bridges relationships between every business in the community with our future workforce, our important nonprofits who fill a much-needed gap and with our elected officials and public servants that plan for responsible growth.  With all the outstanding businesses in the community, the Recognition Committee decided to recognize all of the small business finalists for their accomplishments along with this year’s recipient.  The four finalists, The Coop, Edward Jones, Steve Doody’s Office, Mississippi Pub and Roadware Incorporated were nominated by their peers – what an outstanding accomplishment!  Following a video that highlighted of each of the nominees, the River Heights Chamber announced Roadware Incorporated as the recipient of the 2018 Small Business of the Year Award!  The Small Business of the Year Award acknowledges an organization that encompasses a commitment to the community through its involvement and assistance to community organizations, to its employees, suppliers and customer relationships, in addition to a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics and operations. Brenda Dietrich, Chair of the Board, commented, “I am honored to serve the community with all of these talented businesses –  our finalists and winner are all very well deserving!” 


Roadware Incorporated is a family-owned business located in Bridgepoint in South St. Paul. They specialize in making and manufacturing polyurethanes for concrete repair for industrial and commercial purposes around the world. The Glewwe family started Roadware in 1994 in their garage, and now it’s an international business!  Roadware enjoys taking an active role in groups they have a personal interest in throughout the community and the River Heights Chamber has been one constant since the beginning.  Kelton Glewwe, VP of Marketing, stated in his acceptance speech, “when asked why we belong to the Chamber, I think it is all about the relationships we have… it’s about building the Chamber family we have, and it’s been really important to me. I’ve gotten so much out of the Chamber – The Chamber is a belief in commerce and business, and we all have a passion for business, so it’s really great to be a part of.”  To learn more about the River Heights Chamber’s 2018 Small Business of the Year recipient, Roadware, Incorporated, please watch their video on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber.

The River Heights Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award event was sponsored in-part by the event sponsor Town Square Television.  Major sponsors included Waterous Company and Hardline Concrete & Masonry and LeVander, Gillen & Miller, Microtel Inn & Suites By Wyndham and Mississippi Pub were contributing sponsors.  Special thanks to the trade show sponsors Deerwood Bank, Doody Cleaning Service and Good Samaritan Society of Inver Grove Heights!

 

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce aggressively promotes the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer-driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members. Visit our website www.riverheights.com to learn more!

 

Stay Connected with the River Heights Chamber on our social media sites!

 

 

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2018 Small Business of the Year Award Luncheon & Trade Show

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing

River Heights Chamber of Commerce Recognizing Small Business Success  

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce would like to invite the business community to set sail with us and our Keynote Speaker, Bob Schlichte, from Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, on The Art of Ship Building on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at the Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul.  Network with community businesses at the trade show at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon program to see who will be recognized with the 2018 Small Business of the Year Award!

This year, we’re changing it up! The 2018 Small Business of the Year Award recipient will be announced at the luncheon – don’t miss it! With all of the outstanding businesses in the community, the Chamber wanted to showcase more than one business at the luncheon.  The Small Business of the Year Award acknowledges an organization that has been in business for five years or more, has 20 or fewer employees, has at least two years of membership in the River Heights Chamber, and encompasses a business that has a commitment to the community through its involvement and assistance to community organizations, to its employees, suppliers and customer relationships, in addition to a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics, friendliness and business operations. Chamber members nominated their peers and the Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the winner.  We are proud to announce the River Heights Chamber 2018 Small Business Award Finalists: The Coop, Edward Jones – Steve Doody, Mississippi Pub and Roadware Incorporated.  Brenda Dietrich, Chair of the Board, commented, “I am honored to serve the community with all of these talented businesses –  our finalists are all very well deserving!” 

This year is the 29th Anniversary of the River Heights Chamber Small Business of the Year Award. It is sponsored in-part by the event sponsor Town Square Television.  Major sponsors include Waterous Company and Hardline Concrete & Masonry, and LeVander Gillen & Miller, Microtel Inn & Suites By Wyndham and Mississippi Pub are contributing sponsors.  Special thanks to the trade show sponsors Deerwood Bank, Doody Cleaning Service and Good Samaritan Society of Inver Grove Heights!

For more details about attending the Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show, visit www.riverheights.com/smallbusiness.  To learn more about the Chamber’s award winner announced at the event, please watch their video on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber following the event on April 12th.

 

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce aggressively promotes the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer-driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members. Visit our website www.riverheights.com to learn more!

 

Stay Connected with the River Heights Chamber on our social media sites!

February 2018 Member Spotlight: Hardline Concrete & Masonry

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Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

Jon Dietrich, of Hardline Concrete & Masonry, has been in the industry for over 20 years, and started Hardline over 13 years ago! Not only has Hardline been in business for over 13 years, they have been a part of the River Heights Chamber for 4 years. Hardline started as a sole proprietor in 2005, doing mainly commercial and industrial work. When incorporating in 2009, they shifted business to completing more residential and decorative work.

While they are grateful for fundamental commercial work, they feel their true passion lies with being able to help customers create their artistic vision for their own yard and home. Jon has an artistic side that helps him think outside the box and give customers innovative ideas that work in the Minnesota climate. Jon and Brenda pride themselves in doing the job correctly the first time and being primarily a referral-based business; they contribute many of their referrals to being a part of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. They form great relationships with their customers. When working so closely with the customer to get them what they want, customers become grateful for the service. Jon talked about how many customers even make food for the crew. When asked what the crew’s favorite food was he said, “Anything the customers make is always great! I have had customers grill us hamburgers and make homemade french fries, those meals are always the best.”

They treat every job as if it was their own when they leave their Hardline logo stamped in the concrete. When Hardline was asked how they came up with their logo, Jon replied, “Following in my father’s footsteps to work in the same line of work was hard. Losing my dad at a young age didn’t secure me the guidance most people get from taking over a family business, causing me to make many mistakes along the way. It was like a hard line in the sand. That’s where the name comes from. Regarding the logo my buddy and I put it together. I used red because it was my dad’s favorite color and the color of his first car.”

Not only does Hardline Concrete & Masonry care about their customers’ needs they also care about their employees’ needs. Employee relations are important at Hardline. Every employee is treated like family. They know how hard the work can be. They put policies in place to keep their employees safe, as well as keep their customers safe and free of potential liability. Some policies they have implemented are a drug screening and zero tolerance drug policy, as well as a healthy work policy. Hardline appreciates the hard work done by employees so they offer job bonuses based on work expectations. They even offer full-time employees hour long massages ever 2 weeks!

Hardline Concrete & Masonry believes in small businesses succeeding and has recommended five other sole proprietors, LLCs and corporations to join the River Heights Chamber of Commerce for continued success. Brenda is very active in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, currently serving as the 2018 Chair of the Board, and has served 1.5 years as the Ambassador chair, 1 year as Ambassador chair-elect and has been a Board member since 2015. Brenda also has served as a delegate for MN at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Summit 2015, received the River Heights Chamber Marshall award during the 2016 membership drive and was a member of the South Metro Business PAC in 2016. When Hardline was asked about an impactful moment that they would consider their greatest win, Brenda said, “Being nominated for the River Heights Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award, it was an honor and a huge win because being recognized by a group of your peers is a great feeling.” The River Heights Chamber was proud to honor Hardline with the award and is proud to have Hardline Concrete & Masonry as a dedicated member of the business community!

Watch their Member Spotlight video here.

River Heights Chamber Announces Award Winners

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating its 115th Annual Meeting on Thursday, February 15, 2018, starting at 11:30 a.m. at Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights. The luncheon will honor our leaders of 2017, welcome our new Chairman for 2018, and recognize the Chamber’s 2018 Business of the Year, 2017 Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence, 2017 Rising Star and 2017 Ambassador of the Year.

Brenda Dietrich, 2018 Chair of the Board, will be honoring the Chamber’s outgoing 2017 Chairman, Jon Erickson, and taking us into our year of celebrating a “115-year solid foundation.” When asked about what she’s excited about being the Chair of the Chamber this year, Brenda shared, “Having the opportunity to get to know more businesses in the Chamber [in more detail], what makes them tick, what are some challenges they face and how the Chamber can help out, that’s what I’m excited to do.  Also, with it being the 115th Anniversary this year, I think it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of the Chamber. To have a renewed push towards the value of membership and how the Chamber has evolved over the last century to advocate for commerce. I am excited, energetic and committed to working with our members to achieve the goals set before us.”

 

 

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proudly announcing that Deerwood Bank of Mendota Heights will receive the River Heights Chamber’s 2018 Business of the Year Award on February 15th. Deerwood Bank was established in 1910 in Deerwood, Minnesota. It served the lumber and resort community for 68 years before adding a second branch in nearby Garrison in 1978. In 2015, Deerwood Bank acquired the former American Bank of St. Paul, effectively doubling the size of the Bank and adding locations in the Twin Cities Metro Area.  “At Deerwood Bank, we have helped businesses grow and prosper for over 100 years by providing superior services to our customers and communities we serve. Our goal is to help our customers reach their goals. Our business philosophies are based on the belief that, to be a successful community bank, we must be committed to our communities and have a unique ability to know and serve our markets.” stated Ross Dahlin, Assistant Vice President of Business Banking at Deerwood Bank.

The Chamber is also honored to announce, Rick Hansen as its 2017 Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award recipient. Rick truly exceeds in all criteria for this award, which encompass a commitment to the betterment of life, business, community and entrepreneurship for the River Heights region.  He has spent much of his life being a champion of the environment. Graduating from the Upper Iowa University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1985. He continued his education and received a Master of Science degree in Soil Management from Iowa State University. In 2004, Rick resigned his positions with MDA and SWCD when he was elected to the Minnesota Legislature where he serves as the Minnesota State Representative for District 52A representing South St Paul, West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Mendota and Lilydale. Rick is committed to his community, state and family and committed to doing what is right. During his time at the legislature, he has authored and championed a variety of bills, and in our business community Rick has been actively involved in the Chamber’s South St. Paul Local Issues committee and instrumental in many community projects.

The Rising Star will also be awarded at the Annual Meeting on February 15. This award is given to a volunteer who has accelerated in their first few years as a Chamber volunteer by displaying leadership, enthusiasm and passion for the Chamber’s mission.  The Ambassador of the Year Award, that is given to an individual Chamber Ambassador who earns the most points throughout the year for their volunteerism within the Chamber, will be announced then too, so stay tuned!

Special thanks to our current event sponsors Waterous Company and Town Square Television, as well as major sponsor Deerwood Bank. To attend the Annual Meeting or see more details as they arise for the Feb. 15th event, please visit the event page at www.riverheights.com/annualmeeting.

For more details about the Chamber’s award winners, please watch their videos to come to the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber.

Register Now for the River Heights Chamber’s 115th Annual Meeting

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing

River Heights Chamber 115th Annual Meeting Invitation

Register Today!

Harrison Smith Joins Paul Allen for Big Game Gala ‘Halftime’ Show

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

Posted Dec 6, 2017
Credit: Craig Peters, vikings.com


BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Harrison Smith is used to going full-throttle for four quarters, but on Tuesday night, the Vikings safety was part of the “halftime” show.

Smith joined “Voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen for an on-stage chat between meal courses as the River Heights Chamber of Commerce held a “Big Game Gala” at the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America.

As Allen was introducing Smith to the crowd, he mentioned fielding variations of the same question from guests about how what’s been a good season so far might conclude.

“I have no idea where this ends, where this 10-2 is going to go,” said Allen, who is in his 16th year of covering the team.

He said this year’s team is “unique” from any that he’s seen in more than a decade and a half. Allen expressed optimism and encouraged the enjoyment of every moment down the final stretch.

“Just enjoy it every single week, and we’ll see where it goes,” Allen said.

Smith, sharply dressed in a suit and tie, hopped up on the stage and immediately drew ribbing from Allen for not wearing socks, which Smith attributed to a fashion tip from fellow safety Andrew Sendejo.

Smith said the Vikings haven’t looked beyond Sunday’s meeting with the Panthers and explained how the approach goes beyond the one-game-at-a-time cliché.

“I think everyone remembers being pretty excited when we started 5-0 and ended up 8-8 last year, so that’s kind of a learning experience of what not to do,” Smith said. “I think that helps, as far as not getting ahead of ourselves.

“Also, I think the biggest thing is we have a group of guys that really enjoys playing football, which sounds kind of silly because we’re getting paid to play a child’s game, which is the best-case scenario, so how could you not love it? But for some guys, it can get kind of monotonous, the grind of every week,” Smith continued. “Around the league, that’s just how it is. That’s not how it is here. This team loves football, and I think it’s easy to go one day at a time when you love what you’re doing.”

Smith said he thinks Xavier Rhodes is “the best” cornerback in the league. When asked by Allen if Sendejo is wild or calculated, he explained how the safety is using a “weird mix of both” successfully.

Two other highlights from Allen’s Q&A included:

On Anthony Barr:

“He’s one of those guys you look at who is supremely talented,” Smith said. “He can run with anybody, is big and strong and can play multiple positions, and he also calls our defenses and gets us aligned. He’s kind of the one who says, you know, he kind of gets us going when we give up a couple of plays here and there, he says, ‘All right guys, time to stop messing around.’ He’s been a force for us.”

On Case Keenum:

“He just has this moxie about him, so it’s definitely not arrogant, but he just has a lot of self-confidence where you know he has it and he doesn’t have to tell you about it,” Smith said. “This quarterback situation, where we have three guys that have all at some point in their career been playing top-notch, you just don’t see that a lot around the league. Most teams can’t find one. If that’s the problem we have, I’ll take it.”

Allen opened the session to questions from the crowd, and one guest asked his thoughts of U.S. Bank Stadium.

“Normally players don’t get to see a lot of stadiums,” Smith said. “We just see the locker room and the field, but this one, I think, has honestly surpassed every player’s expectation. Last year, we kind of went in and played. It was awesome and loud, especially for the defense. It looks beautiful in the city, as well.

“In the offseason, when we had more time to come back to events that were held there, we really appreciated from more of the fan side of it, how many different areas and things are there that can be put to use,” Smith continued. “I got to go to the X-Games and thought that was the coolest thing.

“There’s not a ton of home-field advantages in the NFL,” Smith added. “That’s more of a college football thing, but in my opinion, I think we have the best home-field advantage.”

Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley provided an update on the team’s future headquarters, the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, which is scheduled for completion on March 1.

Bagley said 220 workers from 38 contractors, including 34 Minnesota-based companies, are working on the headquarters that also will be able to host youth and high school sports and other events.

“It’s really a community asset,” Bagley told attendees. “Our vision is to share it with the community and partner not only with high school sports but our Minnesota Vikings Foundation.”

Smith, who attended the formal groundbreaking of TCO Performance Center in summer 2016, said he enjoyed learning about the site’s progress and chatting with guests about the Vikings season and Minnesota hosting Super Bowl LII in less than two months.

“It was great to see how excited the community is about [TCO Performance Center] and how excited the businesses are for Minnesota hosting the Super Bowl,” Smith said. “You can tell how excited the community is, how much pride the people have in the Vikings and what the organization means to them. That adds even more respect for our fans and the organization that I’m fortunate to play for.”

Local band Highwood (featuring Jon Erickson, Kelton Glewwe, Steve Snelling, Steve Sorenson and Lee Swenson) concluded the evening with live music.

Click here to see photos from the Big Game Gala

Click here to see post from Vikings