Annual Small Business Award & Trade Show Going Virtual
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing
Dear River Heights Business Community,
We are all feeling the pain from this worldwide pandemic in different ways. The River Heights Chamber is here to assist your business in any way possible; we remain committed to supporting you during these challenging times.
Our small businesses are a critical piece of our community, and as such, the Chamber is moving forward to bring you the Small Business Award and Trade Show virtually, to honor and recognize our Small Business of the Year and the importance of small businesses in our community.
Our 2020 Virtual Small Business Award and Trade Show will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 2:00 pm via a Zoom Webinar and is FREE to attend. Chamber Chairman, Adam Bengtson, will facilitate the 2020 Small Business Award Celebration and Best Selling Author of Outperform the Norm, Scott Welle, will share strategies used by high achievers to take your game to the next level, especially during this unique time. And for the grand finale, be there LIVE for the announcement and to honor the 2020 Small Business of the Year and watch their video during this webinar! You don’t want to miss it!
The Trade Show component is a popular piece to this event. All members are invited to participate in the Trade Show which will remain online, viewable and shareable through the end of the year. For only $35, a business can share its logo, messaging and/or a video to the Virtual Trade Show. This is an opportunity to be creative and interact as if it were sharing your business at a LIVE trade show. For example, you can include a link to download and print a coupon to be used at a later date or bring in the coupon for a free giveaway. The sky is the limit!
Click HERE to register for the Virtual Trade Show
This event is supported by our generous sponsors, Town Square Television, Enbridge Energy, Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC, Microtel Inn & Suites By Wyndham and DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Downtown St. Paul.
Register in advance for the 2020 Small Business Award Celebration here!
Chamber Federation Launches Legislative Agenda – River Heights Businesses Speak Out
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials
The River Heights Chamber reached out to members to hear their challenges to growing jobs in Minnesota – here are what a couple of them said and more from Minnesota Chamber President, Doug Loon, on the Chamber Federation’s Legislative policies.
Mar 2, 2020
By Chamber President Doug Loon
Strike up a conversation with any business owner on the challenges to growing jobs in Minnesota, and the themes ring familiar.
High taxes hinder growth. Access to quality health care at an affordable price. The increasing number of government-mandates on employee benefits. Shortage of skilled workers.
Businesses of all types and sizes feel these stresses. Job-creators across the state hold their collective breath as the 2020 Legislature gets underway. Listen to those on the front lines as we seek ways to lessen these headwinds and create economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.
St. Cloud and River Heights are among the 40-plus members of the Minnesota Chamber Federation, which unites and amplifies the voice of local chambers by advocating for policies to grow business in every corner of the state. Together with the Minnesota Chamber, the Federation is launching its 2020 agenda as the Legislature gets underway.
Workplace regulations are center stage for St. Cloud businesses, says Teresa Bohnen, president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Among their concerns is the broad wage theft law that, among other things, penalizes employers for unintentional payroll errors. “It seemed like the wage theft law sailed through last year without much consideration of the unintended consequences. Now we are requiring all businesses to absorb additional costs related to excessive paperwork and compliance to regulations that the vast majority of them were already following.”
The Federation will pursue modifications in the wage theft law.
We also continue to oppose “one size fits all” state mandates that limit employers’ ability to design competitive benefit packages for their employees. The patchwork of local mandates is cited in Inver Grove Heights. “Many small businesses don’t just work in one community,” says Brenda Dietrich, co-owner of Hardline Concrete & Masonry. “When cities make their own legislation, such as mandating wages and benefits, it is a hindrance to small businesses.”
Kari Rihm, president and chief executive of Rihm Family Companies, underscores the most widespread difficulty facing businesses: Finding workers. “Too few people are going into trades, and too many people are retiring from them.” she says. “It’s no secret. Businesses will be stymied if they can’t hire enough experienced, skilled workers.” The Federation continues to seek systemic reforms to raise all student achievement, ensuring every high school graduate is ready for postsecondary education or a career.
Local employer concerns resonate with Jennifer Gale, president of the River Heights Chamber. “We need to align our state’s legislative policies with our desire to keep Minnesota competitive,” she says. “Local chambers can work side by side with our legislators to connect them with business owners who know firsthand the everyday challenges.”
Conforming Minnesota law with the federal Section 179 tax code tops our tax agenda to allow immediate expensing equipment purchases. Rounding out our priorities are requiring a cost-benefit analysis as part of any proposal to add insurance mandates to state law and supporting environmental policies that drive private investment in Minnesota while helping employers reduce environmental impacts.
Federation partners have collectively advanced employer priorities for more than a decade; they represent 43 communities and 21,000-plus businesses.
If you want to be in the know – and lend your collective voice to help improve the lives of all Minnesotans – I encourage you to become a member of your local chamber or the Minnesota Chamber. Sign up for email updates throughout the legislative session to keep abreast of what is happening at the Capitol.
As one employer, your voice can be a whisper. Combine it with hundreds of others, and your voice becomes a roar.
A Breakdown of Our 100 Year Old Businesses
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight
1919, that seems like forever and a day ago, right? Well, it was 100 years ago! The year was not in the least bit ordinary. It had the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, drowning 21, the origination of the UPS, the foundation of the American Legion, a Stanley Cup that was not awarded because of a flu epidemic, the founding of SSP’s own Croatian Hall, the creation of Southview Country Club and lastly the birth of the Globe Publishing Co., a union shop from the onset. How did these local businesses start, what changes have they seen over the years and what does it mean to them to reach this milestone?
The Croatian Hall was built by the Croatian immigrants that settled in South St. Paul at the turn of the century. The Hrvatski Dom (Croatian Home) was built as a gathering place for Croatians to meet, celebrate their heritage with traditional food and music and get help with learning English, finding jobs and any other help they might need. Through the last 100 years, it has changed from a Croatian-only club to a community gathering place for the whole community, regardless of ethnic background. The Hrvatski Dom Board members are proud of the positive impact they have had on South St. Paul and surrounding communities while continuing to celebrate their Croatian heritage with others across the state and region. Their 100th Anniversary celebration saw the next generation of Croatian-Americans and community members get involved to continue the legacy of the Cro – the community gathering place and the Hrvatski Dom – their Croatian heritage. The Cro – you know where it’s at!
For Southview Country Club, 1919 brought a different kind of gathering space. Local South St. Paul businessmen decided they wanted to build a golf course to bring local businessmen together. The gentlemen purchased the Peters Farm and started Louogden Country Club, named after two prominent South St. Paul residents; Lou Swift and Ogden Armour. Prior to 1975, the club was owned by different private businessmen. The members purchased the club from some investors in 1975, and ever since has been owned by the membership. The original idea of bringing local businessmen and golfers together still holds true today; however, it has become so much more. Southview Country Club is a place for men, women and families to come together for golf, work and celebrations of all kinds. Many of their members join for the golf and stay for the long-lasting memories and relationships they have created. The golf course has evolved with time as it began as a 9-hole course with sand greens. Now it is an 18-hole golf course which is highly recognized by many Minnesota golfers. Southview has been host to the Tapemark Charity Pro Am since it began in 1972. Being a long-standing and successful club says a lot about our members. Southview Country Club has had its share of difficulties over the last 100 years, but the one constant is our members and their love and passion for their club.
Looking back on the beginning of Globe, Charlie Regan and his partner, Jay Dunbar, purchased the “Globe” on September 26th, 1919. It originally published a newspaper, hence the name, with Regan being the editor. It turned into a print shop and in 1955, Ed Horst and John Goff Jr. bought it from Regan & Dunbar. Ed bought out his partner in 1960 and 60 years later, here they are with a second-generation family-owned business.
Bill and Dan Horst have since taken over the day-to-day operations of the business and their father, Ed (E.W., aka Grandpa Eddie), passed away peacefully in November 2013. Working in and with the Exchange Building commission companies kept them on their toes and some of those relationships go back 70-75 years. High-speed digital printing and 2 color presses have changed what they can do for their customers. While the printing industry has seen many changes and methods, the same values that their father taught them growing up still ring true as their main focus today, their dedication to quality and the trust of their customers. “This 100-year milestone is a tribute to all of the people associated with Globe, whether owners, employees (past and present), customers (past and present) or vendors,” says Dan Horst.
Congratulations to these River Heights Chamber members, Croatian Hall, Southview Country Club and Globe Printing and Office Supplies – Happy 100 Years!
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Editorials, Marketing
You have undoubtedly heard about -and many have supported- the Shop Local, Small Business Saturday and other such initiatives to promote businesses in your community. There is an easy way to identify businesses that support the community. When you see a River Heights Chamber of Commerce CONNECTED 2019 window decal, you know that business is doubly invested in your area’s economic prosperity.
Chamber membership is a visible sign of the businesses’ commitment to growing, maintaining and attracting business to the community. A strong business community is tantamount to creating a desirable region to work, play and live. Businesses that join their local chamber are dedicated to the chamber’s mission to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the area.
Businesses of all sizes play a vital role in the health of the community and have different needs from their local chambers of commerce. For a smaller business, it may be networking and visibility. For larger businesses, it could be government affairs and influence. All members have access to these and other services including opportunities with business and leadership development.
The chamber is leading regional talent attraction through a variety of programs and partnerships aimed at recruiting a solid workforce base for business growth. It is a catalyst in advancing the business community’s economic prosperity, providing countless resources and connections to ignite new growth and inspire leadership.
Look for the Chamber’s CONNECTED decal when you are out in your community. The member list can also be found on the website at RiverHeights.com.
For more information on the Chamber’s role in shaping a business-friendly region, please contact the River Heights Chamber at RiverHeights.com or by phone at (651) 451.2266.
Meet the Newest Staff Member: Eric Satre, IGH CVB Tourism Director
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Editorials
From Eric Satre, Tourism Director of the Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau:
My name is Eric Satre, Tourism Director, with the Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). I’m new to this role but I live in South St. Paul so I’m familiar with the south metro area.
Pop quiz: What Minnesota industry generates $15 billion in gross annual sales, $969 million in state sales taxes, and employs 265,000 workers?
Answer: If you said the leisure and hospitality industry, you are correct!
Within the industry’s travel and tourism sector is the Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB). Cities across the country, and the globe, have a CVB to promote tourism. In large downtown areas, CVBs usually operate independently from a chamber of commerce, while smaller cities such as Inver Grove Heights co-exist with a chamber, in this case, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.
The CVB mission is: To market and promote Inver Grove Heights to visitors; to maintain and stimulate the community’s economic vitality.
Quite simply, when visitors stay in a city, visitors spend money and the entire city benefits. When we share our story and invite leisure and group travelers to experience our city, impact on the local economy is able to grow. A CVB is at the forefront of those efforts.
Prior to joining Inver Grove Heights CVB in January, I spent the previous 11+ years at Visit Saint Paul in downtown St. Paul. Working in the sales department, my job was to secure conventions at Saint Paul RiverCentre and hotels. I accepted the position as Tourism Director because I’m invested in the south metro and I see a lot of potential for tourism growth. Our community has a lot to offer, we just have to share it.
In doing so, it’s important to think about our identity as a tourist destination and how we can strategically market our city. What makes us unique? What are our strengths as a visitor destination? Why would someone choose to stay in the south metro versus another area of the Twin Cities?
We have resources available to communicate our message. The VisitIGH.com CVB website is a great resource for all things Inver Grove Heights. I’m also building up our social media presence. Side note: have you liked our Facebook page yet? I’ll be compiling a centralized event listing, from special events at Veterans Memorial Community Center to Inver Grove Heights Days, to serve as a one-stop-shop for things to do.
Another great resource is the CVB visitor guide, which is available in both print and digital format. The visitor guide is a FREE brochure highlighting hotels, attractions, golf courses, restaurants, and things to do. Visit the website to request your copy.
Additionally, the CVB markets the city for group travel whether we’re hosting the event or we’re providing a hotel room block for an event nearby. One example is the Ice Sports Industry (ISI) 2019 Synchronized Championships at Doug Woog Arena on April 12-13. The Inver Grove Heights CVB, Eagan CVB, and City of South St. Paul partnered together to secure this event that will draw 600 competitive skaters from 10 states. Shameless plug—we invite you to check out Saturday’s competition, admission is FREE! Visit www.skateisi.org (National Competitions page) for the event schedule.
Finally, here is my call to action. Engage in local events wherever you live and help tell the story of your community. Take advantage of local options—restaurants, shopping, hotels, attractions, parks and trails, educational events, sporting events, and event facilities (birthdays, reunions, wedding receptions, corporate meetings, etc.). Keep the CVB in mind for resources too and share your experiences with us on social media @VisitIGH.
Inver Grove Heights is a city neighboring the Mississippi River, boasting robust parks and trails, family-friendly activities and events, unique venues and quality hotel accommodations at an affordable price. Just minutes from downtown Saint Paul, Mall of America® and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport, Inver Grove Heights is closer than you think!
Who’s On the River Heights Chamber’s Most Wanted List? How Can You Help?
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Business Ideas, Editorials, Event News, Marketing
Click on the image to see the Top 10 Most Wanted Businesses in Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul to apprehend during the River Heights Chamber’s Most Wanted Membership Campaign and learn the Top 5 Reasons to Join the Chamber!
Have a hot lead? Report any info to the Chamber Tipline at 651.451.2266 ext. 1032 or email here!
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!
Read more about what businesses can get from a Chamber of Commerce here.
River Heights Chamber Announces Small Business of the Year
Nicole Bengtson0 comments Business Ideas, Event News, Marketing
March 29, 2016
Contact: Nicole Bengtson FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Telephone: 651.451.2266 ext. 1033
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham to receive 2016 Small Business of the Year Award from River Heights Chamber of Commerce
27th Anniversary of Small Business Award in Local Business Community
Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham will receive the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Small Business of the Year Award! Don Heikkila, General Manager, will humbly accept the award at the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul.
The River Heights Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us in celebrating Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham and to salute small business at the annual event on April 14th. This year marks the 27th Anniversary of the River Heights Chamber celebrating this award with the business community and is sponsored in-part by Town Square Television, Waterous Company, Hometown Meats (2015 Small Business of the Year) and Antonsen Construction. The event also consists of a business Trade Show supported by Wakota Federal Credit Union and FASTSIGNS of Inver Grove Heights. Member businesses nominated local small businesses and the Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the award recipient from many deserving applicants.
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.
Keynote speaker, Dina Simon, from Simon Says Lead and Simon Says Give, is confirmed to share her secret sauce to being unstoppable in achieving what you want in your business and encourage you to find your own unstoppableness along the way. Dina is a professional speaker, author and CEO of Simon Says Lead and will share with us her personal journey of moving from managing a $500 million P&L to being the founder of two start-up operations.
RSVP to attend the luncheon and tradeshow ($35/pp) at www.riverheights.com/smallbusiness and plan to exhibit at the trade show by signing up at www.riverheights.com/tradeshow by April 7th!
For more information on this award recipient, please contact the River Heights Chamber of Commerce at 651.451.2266 or visit us online at www.riverheights.com to see their award video following the event.
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, YouTube and LinkedIn!