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Showing posts tagged with: River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The Government Affair

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

What’s in Store For You…
It’s no secret… This four-part educational series will commence this September and is perfect for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of civic affairs. Whether your experience with government is limited to voting for elected officials or you lobby your representatives on a weekly basis, this program will walk you through a comprehensive, non-partisan, grassroots experience at the local, state and federal level. This program will challenge participants to stretch their knowledge on all levels of government while learning from and networking with other business people and influential leaders.
How Can I Benefit?
  • Individual Benefits: Develop a great network of individuals who play an active role in the business community; become a more effective and influential leader at work by understanding the process of civic affairs; and learn transferable tools for your professional tool box.
  • Employer Benefits: Gain company exposure; and develop a strong employee who understands civic affairs and increases their leadership talent within the organization.
  • Community Benefits: Support active participation in the community; and further engage the local talent in grassroots initiatives on all levels of government.
Series Investment: $199

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Annual River Heights Chamber Golf Classic Open to Community

Nicole Bengtson
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Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul (June 2017) – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce invites the community to golf in the Chamber’s Annual Golf Classic fundraiser on Monday, June 26, 2017 at Southview Country Club at 239 E. Mendota Road in West St. Paul. This year’s tournament is presented by Republic Services.

Southview Country Club is a premier 18-hole course whose sheer aesthetic beauty lies in stark contrast to the challenge it provides to golfers of every skill level. It is the kind of course you never grow tired of playing, and are always proud to bring your guests to.  Today, Southview is noted for its immaculate rolling fairways, mature trees, numerous water hazards featuring fountains and magnificent landscaping.  And of course, the finest greens in this part of the country.

June 26th is promised to be filled with fun including a Bloody Mary bar while you get checked-in and practice your swings, contests on the course, and a ball drop contest and awards dinner following the day’s play.  Registration begins at 10 a.m., with a shot gun start for teams at 11:00 a.m.  An online auction will be sure to please with great items prior to the tournament and closes at 6:00 p.m. on June 26th (click here to check out the Online Auction). If you would like to donate an item, gift card or fun experience to the auction, click here!

“We’re excited to have another great tournament this year and have fun events in-store for this year’s golfers,” says Travis Jensen of Home Federal Savings Bank and Golf Task Force Chair.

Special thanks to these businesses for being major sponsors of the tournament: CHS, Inc., Home Federal Savings Bank, Quality Auto Care Center, Sanimax and Town Square Television.

Golf is $175/golfer after June 1st; a discounted rate of $600 per foursome is available throughout open registration and payments are due upon reservation.  Additional guests may attend the awards dinner only for $35/person to network and socialize.  For more information on the golf tournament or to register to attend, visit us online at www.riverheights.com/golf or call the River Heights Chamber of Commerce at 651.451.2266.

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who 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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Hardline Concrete & Masonry Honored with 2017 Small Business of the Year Award 28th Anniversary of Small Business Award in Local Business Community

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

March 30, 2017

Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Hardline Concrete & Masonry of Inver Grove Heights will receive the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Business of the Year Award! Jon and Brenda Dietrich, owners, will be accepting the award at the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at enVision Hotel & Conference Center in South St. Paul.

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 member businesses nominated local small businesses and the Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the award recipient from many deserving applicants.  This year’s recipient, Hardline Concrete & Masonry, excels in all these areas and more.  When Hardline was asked how they feel about receiving this award, Brenda replied, “We feel truly honored to be recognized for the River Heights Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award because being recognized by a group of your peers is a good yardstick to be measured by.  There are so many deserving businesses and we are very humbled to be selected.” 

Hardline Concrete & Masonry 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 yard and home.  Jon and Brenda pride themselves in doing the job correctly the first time and being primarily a referral-based business.  They form relationships with their customers and treat every job as if it was their own when they leave their Hardline logo stamped in the concrete.  When it comes to employee relationships, they realize that being a seasonal employer can be challenging in employee retention.  In the past few years, Hardline has implemented some policies and benefits to let their employees know that they care for them, beyond the scope of a work day.  They faced adversity during the recession of 2009 but because of Hardline’s presence in the community they could continue to work.  Hardline Concrete & Masonry is involved in the community by supporting the local Inver Grove Heights Days, Simley wrestling and football and volunteering at their local church. Jon & Brenda strive to give competitive bids for local projects and have been privileged to work at the Inver Grove Community Center, Simley High School and various concrete projects for the City of Inver Grove Heights. Hardline Concrete & Masonry believes in small businesses succeeding and have recommended five other sole proprietors, LLC’s and corporations to join the River Heights Chamber of Commerce for continued success. Brenda is very active in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and has served 1 year as an ambassador chair-elect, 1.5 years as an ambassador chair, has been a Board member since 2015 (and is currently Chair-Elect for 2017), 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 Southmetro Business PAC in 2016.  The River Heights Chamber is proud to have Hardline Concrete & Masonry as a dedicated member of the business community!

This year will be the 28th Anniversary of the River Heights Chamber celebrating this special award with the business community and is sponsored in-part by Town Square Television, Waterous Company and Antonsen Construction.  Community businesses will exhibit in the trade show at 11 a.m. followed by a luncheon, award ceremony and keynote speaker, Jill Renslow SVP Business Development and Marketing with Mall of America.

For more details about attending the Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show, visit www.riverheights.com, and to learn more about the Chamber’s award winner, Hardline Concrete & Masonry, please watch their video on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber following the event on April 13th.

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who 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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Fighting Workplace Mandates on Two Fronts

Nicole Bengtson
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Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials

Column By: Doug Loon, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

The Minnesota Chamber continues to challenge workplace mandates at the Legislature and in the courts. A recent court ruling underscores the importance of our parallel efforts.

A Minneapolis ordinance is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017, that requires businesses to provide paid sick time to employees. St. Paul has a similar ordinance scheduled to take effect the same date. Duluth is considering enacting its own set of workplace regulations. It’s only time before similar measures come to a city near you.

In October 2016, the Minnesota Chamber brought a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis asking the court to do two things: No. 1, issue a temporary injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing its “paid sick and safe time” ordinance on any businesses; No. 2, permanently rule the ordinance unlawful.

The Hennepin County District Court delivered a mixed ruling on January 19. Judge Mel I. Dickstein said Minneapolis may not enforce its ordinance on employers “resident outside the geographic boundaries of the city of Minneapolis.” He also ordered that, for now, the city could enforce the ordinance against employers within the city. We are appealing the decision.

The judge’s mixed ruling underscores the importance of our efforts at the Capitol to pass the Uniform State Labor Standards Act, which would prohibit local governments from passing their own mandates on wages, benefits and scheduling. The Act would keep Minnesota’s laws uniform, our communities open for business, and our economy thriving for all.

The legislation is being spearheaded by the United for Jobs Coalition, a broad-based coalition of local chambers of commerce and business associations led by the Minnesota Chamber.

We do not believe the state should dictate private-sector employee benefits. The only thing worse than state government dictating one-size-fits-all mandates on all employers is for local governments to do so, thus creating a patchwork of local laws for businesses to navigate across the state. Minnesota’s economic strength is due to a diverse business landscape. Distinctive operations and workplace needs require that employers have the flexibility to develop wages and salaries, benefits, policies and procedures that best serve the mutual needs of employer and employees.

Borrowing a sports phrase, the best defense is a strong offense. Minnesota employers consistently receive national recognition for providing tremendous workplace environments. We will continue to challenge workplace mandates. At the same time, legislators also need to hear about the voluntary wages and benefit plans employers use to attract and retain employees in this competitive marketplace. Minnesota businesses increasingly are offering leave plans that meet the needs of employees such as offer paid maternity and paternity leave, paid sick and safe leave, and other benefits– without state or local mandates. Please share your best practices by contacting Jennifer Byers at 651.292.4673 or jbyers@mnchamber.com.

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Minnesota Legislative Priorities Update Video

Nicole Bengtson
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Advocacy & Public Policy

Check out the latest video from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce regarding the 2017 legislative priority to reform health care. Bentley Graves, director, Health & Transportation Policy, gives a progress report on our 2017 Health Care Policy.

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Voters Demand Progress at Legislature

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials

Voters Demand Progress at Legislature

By: Jennifer Gale, President, River Heights Chamber & Doug Loon, President Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Change swept the nation in this year’s elections as America woke up to a President-Elect Donald Trump in his upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Change propelled the shakeup in Minnesota’s political landscape, too, as Minnesotans affirmed their support for divided government. The Legislature is now firmly Republican. The executive branch remains Democrat under Governor Mark Dayton.

Voters were also crystal clear about their expectations that the Governor and Legislature will govern – that they will work together to develop, debate and pass solutions to our state’s most pressing problems. No stalemates. No stagnation. Our policymakers must use the experience of the last two years to build a record of progress that all Minnesotans will be proud of. The River Heights Chamber, Minnesota Chamber and our local partners are ready to do our part.

The election offers some key takeaways:

  • Personal economics were on Minnesotans minds – especially health care, but also economic growth and wage growth. Everyone wants to be part of a growing economy.
  • Good candidates and hard work produce solid results.
  • The House and Senate are mirroring each other in the state’s political landscape. Democrats are being elected primarily in the urban core and are increasingly liberal; Republicans hail in primarily the outer ring suburbs and regional centers.
  • Republicans are making substantive gains in the suburbs that we have not seen for years.

The Senate now stands at 34 Republicans and 33 Democrats, according to unofficial results. Two races are within the vote totals that trigger automatic recounts. Margins in the House are larger with 76 Republicans and 57 Democrats elected. In addition, one House seat remains unresolved; a special election is scheduled for February 14 for District 32B.

We are ready to present, discuss and help pass solutions that will accelerate the development and growth of our local and statewide economy. The MN Chamber’s annual Minnesota Business Benchmarks provides an excellent springboard for our legislative agenda. The River Heights Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be reviewing these priorities for 2017:

  • Reduce business taxes that undermine growth, entrepreneurship and expansion of Minnesota businesses.
  • Pass long-term, comprehensive transportation package that increases investment in the state’s multimodal infrastructure.
  • Allow flexibility in workplace regulations and oppose one-size-fits-all mandates; pass statewide pre-emption of local labor mandates.
  • Provide employers with more options and greater flexibility in providing health care coverage for employees.

The election provides the political landscape for the 2017 Legislature. The budget forecast will set the financial parameters. The 2016 Legislature adjourned with a $729 million surplus for FY 2016/17 which will likely change in the December 2nd report.  We are most effective at the Capitol when we build relationships and elect legislators who understand business issues.

The 2017 Legislature convenes January 4, and our work has already begun. The election results are shaping our 2017 proposals. Now, policymakers and business leaders must work collectively to adopt them. That way we will be ready for the future – ready for change and ready to grow.

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Minnesota Chamber Releases Minnesota Business Benchmarks

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials

Minnesota Chamber Releases Minnesota Business Benchmarks
Annual report reaffirms innovative, skilled talent; workforce shortage a growing concern

A talented workforce remains a backbone of a growing Minnesota economy, according to the Minnesota Business Benchmarks. But the second annual report produced by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and its local Chamber Federation partners cautions that Minnesota could be losing its advantage.

“Our members regularly cite shortage of workers and high taxes as the two biggest impediments to growing and investing in Minnesota. The difficulty of finding workers at all skill levels across all industries is a huge issue for Minnesota businesses,” Chamber President Doug Loon said. “The problem already is exacerbated by a slowing growth in the working-age population coupled with the retiring baby boomers. Plus, we struggle with the persistent achievement gap among students of color.”

The report highlights an additional strain on the workforce. Minnesota is losing more people to other states than it is gaining. This trend is hindering growth opportunities for many companies, Loon said.

Business Benchmarks is a collection of key economic indicators that measure Minnesota’s competitiveness and the health of the state’s economy compared with the rest of the country. Comprehensive, objective data was compiled from sources such as state and federal agencies.

Minnesota continues to lead in many categories, the report shows. But it is slipping in key areas, too.

On the positive front, innovation remains a trademark with Minnesota ranking fourth highest among states in patents per capita. The state ranks second in the nation for residents with at least a two-year degree.  It is 10th best in concentration of STEM jobs – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The good news/bad news dynamics, however, are reflected in economic growth, Loon said. Minnesota ranked 13th among states for GDP growth in 2015, up from 27th the previous year and tied at the national average of 2.4-percent growth. That improvement, however, was largely on the strength of the first quarter. Minnesota ranked 41st when viewing GDP growth for the final three quarters of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

Minnesota improved in job growth and personal income growth but still lags the national averages – ranking 29th and 30th, respectively, Loon noted. And its standing in key tax categories was largely unchanged from 2014. The state is still third highest in the nation for its corporate and income tax rates, and second highest for some business property taxes.

The Business Benchmarks provides an excellent springboard for priorities to focus on at the 2017 Legislature, Loon said. Policymakers and business leaders must work collectively to build on the state’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

“We cannot rest on our past successes. We must continue to adapt to changing competitive pressures,” Loon said. “Our work at the Minnesota Chamber is to make Minnesota ready for the future – ready for change and ready to grow.”

For the full report, click here.

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The Small Business Makeover Contest is Coming Back to River Heights!

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

September 6, 2016

2016 Small Business Makeover Contest Logo

The Small Business Makeover Contest is Coming Back to River Heights!

Nominations and Applications Now Being Accepted!

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – Who will be the next lucky winner of the The River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Makeover Contest this fall?  One local small business will win up to a $20,000 Small Business Makeover ($20,000 of professional services and maybe even some hard cash!) to help them remodel and revitalize their small business! What business wouldn’t want that?

Who Can Enter to Win?

If your business meets the following criteria, you can apply! Nominations and applications are now being accepted!

The Chamber is looking for businesses to apply for consideration for the 2016 Small Business Makeover Contest. We know there are a lot of deserving businesses out there, so don’t be shy!  If you know someone or a business who could benefit, nominate them or encourage them to apply!  Businesses should submit a complete online application here and provide supplemental materials showing/talking about their need for a makeover and the impact the makeover could have on their business.  A winner will be selected by a Selection Committee based on their application and voting results from a public online voting poll this fall.

  • Located in the River Heights region
  • Member of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce
  • In business for a minimum of three years
  • For-profit business
  • 25 or fewer employees
  • Ethical business practices
  • Show a need for a makeover

Why sponsor?

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is currently seeking In-Kind Sponsors to be a part of the Small Business Makeover Contest by either donating their professional services to the makeover package or by making a donation to fund the grand prize for the lucky winner! More details on how you can support the makeover with sponsorships, in-kind products or services, cash donations, rules, videos and supporting businesses of the makeover package is available at www.riverheights.com/makeover.

Sponsors will receive recognition in Chamber communications including, but not limited to, Chamber Weekly Update email, press releases, social media, videos, blogs and website of the contest. In addition, In-Kind Sponsors will receive recognition for providing their product/service at the winning business.   What a great opportunity to support small business growth, and be a part of a makeover project giving opportunity for new potential business and referrals.  This initiative has the potential to draw state-wide attention from the media and is a great way to demonstrate your company’s support of small business and a community outreach initiative.

Need an idea of an in-kind service?

Services such as marketing/design, website development, digital marketing/seo, signage, printing, public relations, advertising products/services, office supplies/services, financial, accounting, painting, remodeling, landscape and photography are some ideas of how you can participate!

 

“We are excited to offer this unique opportunity again by holding a Small Business Makeover Contest to support the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s vision to promote the business community and the growth of a local small business in our area,” says Jennifer Gale, President of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.  “This is an excellent opportunity for a small business in the River Heights area to gain access to THOUSANDS of dollars’ worth of services and products for FREE and for supporting businesses (sponsors) to be promoted in the business community!  This initiative is a great way to demonstrate your company’s support of small business and a community outreach initiative,” Gale added.

 

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is a business organization who 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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Jobs, Output & Taxes: New Report Quantifies Freight Rail’s Economic Impact

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Marketing, Social Media

MN_WI---Rail-bridge---St.-Croix_web

Earlier this year, an economic analysis showed freight rail’s key economic contributions to Minnesota, finding that railroads are responsible for $40 billion of Minnesota’s state GDP and 7 percent of its total workforce. Now, for the first time ever, a new study has quantified the economic impact of freight rail investments at the national level—and how private rail spending “ripples” throughout America’s national and local economies.

For every dollar freight railroads spend on building, maintaining and enhancing America’s 140,000-mile rail network, $10 is generated in economic impact, according to the study from Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI). Freight rail investments also support 1.5 million jobs across the country—nine jobs for every rail job.

Researchers examined the economic impact of freight railroads’ private investments, which surpass $600 billion since 1980 and are expected to reach $26 billion in 2016. In a State of the Industry report released along with the new study, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) says that the findings demonstrate freight rail’s “powerful economic ripple effect across a myriad of U.S. industries.”

“Whether selling and building automobiles and houses, powering businesses or enabling manufacturers to reach new customers, American industries rely on rail to get raw goods and products to market in the United States and beyond,” writes Ed Hamberger, AAR CEO and President. “The net economic effect is profound.”

Across Minnesota, railroads are a crucial component in transporting almost 248 million tons of cargo that originate in, terminate in or pass through the state in a given year. They also employ over 4,500 Minnesotans in well-paid, community sustaining jobs.

In 2014, the year that was examined in the study, spending by Class I railroads created $274 billion in economic activity and generated nearly $33 billion in total tax revenues. Of these taxes, $11.9 billion were collected at the local and state levels, exceeding the tax revenues collected by 30 states.

SOTI 2 274 Billion V2

The study links the success of this powerful economic engine to the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which created a balanced regulatory framework that allowed railroads to run like businesses and earn enough capital to invest back into their network.

Researchers pointed to the impact of these private investments for customers, noting that rail productivity has increased 139 percent since the Staggers Act. “Most of these productivity gains were passed through to rail customers—decreasing the cost of utilizing rail transportation.”

Learn more about freight rail’s economic impact in your community and read the study: https://www.aar.org/report2.

Freight Train - Union Pacific

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River Heights Chamber of Commerce Invites Chamber and Community Members to Sail the Rhine in Luxury

Nicole Bengtson
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Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing, Social Media

CD - Rhine River Cruise - Newsletter Insert - 2017 (River Heights)

June 1, 2016

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul, MN – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce announced today that it will be embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime scenic sail up the gorgeous Rhine River during an exclusive 10-day cruise available to chamber members and their family and friends.

Participants will get to experience the Rhine’s most romantic and legendary sights while aboard the brand-new Amadeus Silver III, set to depart from Amsterdam on May 9, 2017. Over the course of this 10-day trip, travelers can experience first-hand the fascinating history and captivating charm of the cities lining the Rhine’s banks during guided tours and free time for exploring. While in Germany, tourists will see the beautiful religious architecture of Cologne, witness the breathtaking cliffs and ancient castles of Koblenz, taste the famous Moselle wines of Cochem and wonder at the self-playing music boxes in Sigfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. The cruise also takes its travelers through the beautiful city of Rothenburg, referred to as Germany’s well-preserved “Jewel of the Middle Ages” with its ramparts, city gates, impressive town hall and the St. Jakob Parish Church. With ample opportunities for learning, tasting, exploring and relaxing, this luxurious journey through the culture-filled Rhine and its European cities is sure to please.

“This is an incredible opportunity to see and experience the true beauty of the Rhine River,” Jennifer Gale, President of the River Heights Chamber said. “And we have secured 5-star accommodations at a significant discount!”

Space is limited, so act fast. Don’t miss your chance to visit the Rhine’s awe-inspiring riversides and create new memories that will last a lifetime.

For more information about this amazing trip please call the River Heights Chamber at (651) 451-2266 or email Jennifer Gale at Jennifer@riverheights.com. You can also find additional information and view the trip itinerary on the links below (click on the photos to enlarge).

Click here to view itinerary brochure

 

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Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge - Cologne - Germany

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge – Cologne – Germany

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