Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Colleen Murphy Roth has been named Interim President by the Board of Directors and commenced her role officially on June 15, 2020.
Colleen has been employed with the River Heights Chamber for two and a half years as the Director of Membership Development which has provided a solid building block for this transition. Previously, she worked in development with various nonprofits in the Twin Cities. Colleen also currently serves as the VP of Squirts for District 8 of MN Hockey.
The transition of roles came after former River Heights Chamber President, Jennifer Gale, announced that after 16 years of service she made the difficult decision to resign from the position and move to the private sector. Jennifer stated, “I wish to thank the Board members, both present and past, the membership for investing in the River Heights Chamber during my tenure and to the community leaders who have partnered with the Chamber to make our community a great place to live, work and play. I take great pride in the staff and the work plans we accomplished together to solidify the Chamber as the premier local advocate for business. It has been my greatest pleasure serving our business community and I am blessed to have had the chance to work with, learn from, and partner with the amazing leaders in the River Heights community.”
Colleen is excited for the challenges that lie ahead with the ever-changing business landscape and is committed to continuing to position the River Heights Chamber of Commerce as the premier resource for business in the community.
At a planning conference in November of 2019, the Board put together a work plan for 2020. Even with COVID-19, the Chamber has made a lot of initiatives into a new way of doing business in our regions.
Some highlights include:
• FOCUS ON DEMOGRAPHIC CLUSTERING – We have structured Chamber programming on demographic clusters to position the Chamber to be out front of the needs of incoming or elevating demographic subsets. Group involvement and participation is hardwired, regardless of the generational angst we feel in any given decade. We have an innate need to belong. Through weekly webinars we are providing programming in specific categories such as working from home, investments, tourism, retail, real estate, legal, HR and managerial staffing. We have seen more levels of staff participating because of the variation in our new virtual programming.
• INVEST IN TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNICATION – Chambers are small business enterprises and, as such, must try to keep up with members and the world at large. Interpersonal connectivity and human relationships, especially if enhanced and maintained through electronic channels, will have more impact than ever. The River Heights Chamber has utilized platforms such as Facebook Live, Zoom and Microsoft Teams for meetings and group communications and events. The information availability has opened to members and community leaders that possibly couldn’t attend before.
• BRIDGE THE POLITICAL FRAGMENTATION Chambers have the potential to employ their considerable consensus-building experience and position of trust to provide workable alternatives to fringe dogma and out-of-hand dismissal of compromise. The Chamber acts as the convener of those who can find solutions, resources and political will. Articulating shared values, rather than divisive talking points, will be needed more than ever in the coming decade. The Chamber moderated a town hall meeting with Rep. Craig this spring to discuss the PPP and EIDL Small Business Loan programs. The Chamber has worked with our state legislators on all sides to secure additional unemployment, grants and state loans to assist local businesses in the pandemic. We are also working with the local governments to relax city ordinances while keeping in line with state policy to assist businesses in reopening in a safe, yet profitable, way. The River Heights Chamber of Commerce has positioned itself well in the middle and is advocating on behalf of all business in the community, regardless of political preference.
We invite businesses and the community to learn more about the resources and benefits the River Heights Chamber has to offer and see how we can help you during this challenging time by visiting our website at www.riverheights.com or contacting our Chamber staff. Colleen can still be reached at the River Heights Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Spring is almost here and that means the Small Business of the Year Award is soon to be in bloom for one lucky business in the River Heights area! The River Heights Chamber of Commerce has been honoring small businesses with this award since 1989 and its members have been receiving much deserved recognition in the business community during its process.
The Chamber has received some great nominations so far. Time is coming down to the wire to nominate a business (March 10), so don’t miss your chance! If you’re a business that meets the following qualifications (see below) or know of a great business that would be an excellent candidate for this award, please nominate them here or complete the online application here! Nominations are due by Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 3 p.m. and all applications must be submitted here by Monday, March 14, 2016.
No matter if you’re a small business or not, we hope you will join us to celebrate the winner and the importance and vitality of small businesses in our communities at the Small Business Award Luncheon and Trade Show on April 14, 2016. Click here for more details of the event and to register to have a booth at the Trade Show to market and promote your business!
Qualifications for the Small Business of the Year Award:
Business must meet the following qualifications to be considered.
- 20 or fewer employees
- At least 5 years in business
- At least 2 years as a River Heights Chamber member
- At least 1 year of Chamber committee service
- Business is located in the area served by the River Heights Chamber of Commerce
Congratulations to previous recipients who have been recognized with this award:
- Varing Insurance – 1989
- Century 21 Kuntz Co – 1990
- Kathy’s License Service – 1991
- Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital – 1992
- Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Wass, Inc. – 1993
- Bauer Floor Covering, Inc. – 1994
- Boche Carlson, Inc. – 1995
- Images By Design – 1996
- Designers of Travel – 1997
- English-Meeker & Kandt Funeral Home – 1998
- Bywords Printing – 1999
- ACE Paint & Hardware – 2000
- Pro Pharmacy – 2001
- Protouch Painting – 2002
- Edward Jones & Company – South St. Paul – 2003
- FASTSIGNS of IGH – 2004
- Catch A Tan – 2005
- Langer Real Estate Services – 2006
- Jersey’s Bar & Grill – 2007
- Town Square Television – 2008
- Schaeffer Financial – 2009
- Quality Auto Care Center – 2010
- Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning – 2011
- Wakota Federal Credit Union – 2012
- Cannon River Winery – 2013
- Simons Landscaping – 2014
- Hometown Meats – 2015