February 2016
In the January 2016 eNewsletter Todd wrote about the Top Ten Ways the Chamber Can Help Your Business. All tools were $125 or less, many of them being free! Please let me know if you missed this list and I will send you a copy. We offer the tools, and we can show you how to use them to grow your business.

This month I decided to steal Todd's Top Ten list idea, which he borrowed from a late night show who's name we will not mention. This month I created the Top Five Reasons to get involved with a Chamber Committee.

Why You Should Join a Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Committee

Working with a committee that shares ideas and practices is a huge benefit to everyone involved. Most people pay to learn these skills, but our committees provide a venue for you to listen and learn from others experiences.

Committee members have multiple opportunities to interact with others within the Chamber. You are able to promote your profession, company and interests to not only your fellow participants, but to other Chamber members. You never know when or how you will meet your next big client!

Participating in a Chamber committee gives you the opportunity to associate yourself with a professional organization. As a general rule, you get out of the committee what you put into it. If you choose to be an active member,  it is likely that you will be highly visible within the group, along with enhancing your skills and improving your career path.

The benefits of joining a Chamber committee are endless, and most importantly, you will feel good about making a difference within the industry. You too can have an impact!

Participating in a committee is a great way to get away from your computer, your office, your boss, your coworkers and the daily grind. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air and head over to the Chamber Office for some committee action!

The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism offers many committees to choose from, so search for one that best meets your needs and utilizes your skills and talents! 


Home & Garden Show Committee
   Meets the first Thursday of the month 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Golf Committee
   Meets the second Tuesday of the month 9:00 - 10:00 am 
Ambassador Committee
   Meets the third Thursday of the month 10:00 - 11:00 am
   Business Visits second and fourth Thursday of the month
Be Local - Buy Local Committee
   Meets the third Wednesday of the month 
New Chamber Event Committee  (NEW) 
   Meets the fourth Friday of the month 8:00 - 9:00 am 
   First meeting, February 26th
Winter Walk Committee
   Meets the first Friday of the month starting in August
   8:00 - 9:00 am 
Please contact Todd if you are interested in getting involved in the new Government Affairs Committee that will be starting later this year 

Programs are continually being added and improved upon, marketing opportunities are being expanded and membership continues to grow. It is a great time to be a part of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism!


Upcoming Events




3:00 pm



9:00 pm
Golf Committee Meeting

7:00 am


10:00 am


10:00 am

22 23

7:00 am 


10:00 am



The renovation of our public library continues.  

The southeast corner addition, a new entrance and glass atrium, is the most obvious construction. 

But if you follow Library Director Teresa Jensen's photo blog on  guides.mynpl.org, you know that the inside of the library is getting a thorough make-over. The children's area and the staff work areas are expanding. Two new conference/study rooms are being created.  The meeting room will return to its original function as a community meeting space.  And the many complex renovations that will be behind the walls and in the ceilings -  heating and cooling, power, data, sprinklers and lighting - will be invisible when the library reopens on Saturday, May 7. 

While the construction zone has been primarily confined to the site and Washington Street, the impact of the renovation has been felt all along Division Street.  600-700 people visit every day when the library is open.  We learned several years ago that about 70% of all library visitors then proceed to retail businesses, offices and restaurants in the downtown commercial area.  Since the library closed in July and moved to City Hall for the renovation, library visitors dwindled to 200 people per day (a lot in the tiny temporary library!), and downtown foot traffic to the library has been reduced to the few gawkers who watch the renovation's progress. 

The staff and the community look forward to the reopening of the library, as do the downtown businesses.  Save the date - May 7 for the Grand Reopening Gala! 

Thank You to Our Sponsors:
New Members!!

255 Cedardale Drive
Owatonna, MN 55060
Primary Contact: David Legault

Town Square Media 
601 Central Avenue 
Faribault, MN 55060 
Primary Contact: Paul Benzick

Seykora Asphalt Maintenance & Paving
2448 East School Street #1 
Owatonna, MN 55069
Primary Contact: Bradley Seykora

Harmonic Spirit Hypnosis & Wellness
101 East 5th Street, Suite 204 
Northfield, MN 55057
Primary Contact: Brenda Miller

Northfield #50 IOOF
West 5th Odd Fello Lane 
Northfield, MN 55057
Primary Contact: Jeanne Reynolds
January's Top 
Chamber Buck 



The Chamber Buck program is another member benefit offered by the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. We encourage members to proudly display their "Chamber Bucks Accepted Here" stickers and promote their acceptance in their own marking materials. For ideas please contact the Chamber office. 

According to a study conducted by Local First "local retailers return an average of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared with just 14 percent for the chain retailers.  Similarly, the local restaurants re-circulate an average of 79 percent of their revenue locally, compared to 30 percent for the chain eateries." 


Other members that took advantage of the Chamber Buck program in January include:

J Grundy's Rueb 'n' Stein
Froggy Bottom's River Pub
Rare Pair 
Perkins Restaurant and Bakery 
A Bag Lady
Professional Drive Dental 
Northfield Olive Oils & Vinegars 
DuFour's Cleaners 
Apple Bee's Grill & Bar
Larsons Printing 
Mainstream Boutique 
Dokmo Ford Chrysler

Remember Chamber Bucks
make great gifts or employee incentives. Available all year in $5, $10 and $25 denominations 
Ambassador's In Action!
Northfield Auto Body 

Ambassadors from left to right:
Shawn McLeran -  Cannon Valley      Veterinary Clinic 
Todd Anderson - Dicks  Sanitation
Carly Dabroski - Northfield News

The Grand Event Center 

Ambassador of Q4 - Carly  Dabrowski

Chamber Happenings

                        Business After Hours at the Center for Human Resources 

Morning Business Brew at The Northfield News  

Chamber Seeks Remedy to 
Drive-by Lawsuits
By Doug Loon

White Bear Lake Press: Serial litigator suing businesses over disability access, October 2015

KTOE Radio, Mankato: More than half-dozen Mankato businesses sued over ADA, June 4, 2015

Fox 9 TV: Small businesses sued by controversial lawyer over Americans with Disabilities, Oct. 26, 2015

Small Business Trends: More Than 100 Minnesota Businesses Sued Over ADA Violations, October 2015

Small businesses across Minnesota have become the target of lawsuits alleging violations of disability laws. These actions of one attorney forced many businesses to pay thousands of dollars in settlement demands, and at least a few have closed their doors. The lawsuits have surfaced in numerous communities including Mankato, Marshall, Rochester, Shakopee, Minneapolis, St. Paul and White Bear Lake. More than 120 lawsuits have been filed in the past two years.

Make no mistake, the Minnesota Chamber and our members want their businesses to be fully accessible to their customers and to comply with federal and state disability laws. Providing access for disabled customers is simply good for business. However, the lawsuits appear to have the primary goal of lining the pockets of attorneys versus improving access.

It's important to understand the types of violations that are being targeted. These lawsuits have been filed against an 84-year-old widow who runs an antique store in Marshall alleging a jukebox is blocking a door; against a clinic in Minneapolis claiming a door threshold is an inch too high even though there was a fully accessible and compliant entry; against a White Bear Lake restaurant because of a step at its front door even though the side door has a ramp.           

Most businesses, when notified of an alleged violation, have immediately taken steps to correct the problem or have shown that they are actually compliant. Yet, the lawsuits are not dropped, and the plaintiffs continue to ask for large settlement awards.

Businesses often wind up paying a settlement - $8,000 on average - to avoid the additional cost and time of litigation. These settlements are a financial hardship on these small businesses.
The good news is that we're making progress in seeking legislation to stop what many characterize as abusive lawsuits. We are working with the Minnesota State Council on Disability to ensure that our solution is acceptable to the disability community. We are educating employers on their requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and, in our state, the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

At the Legislature, we are developing a bipartisan solution with Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, and Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis. The legislation would require that businesses be notified of an alleged violation and be given an opportunity to fix the problem prior to any civil action being filed. The intent is to help prevent these drive-by lawsuits by minimizing the opportunity for attorney fees and settlement demands while still requiring businesses to comply with the law.
We do not want to protect businesses that refuse to correct a violation. We do, however, want to give businesses proper notice and a reasonable time to fix the problem. That's a win-win for all businesses and all customers alike.

Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce -  www.mnchamber.com .

Member News
Eleanor 'Ele' Hansen, the long-time chair of the Carleton College women's athletic department, will be recognized with the Minnesota Legacy Award during the 30th annual Minnesota Girls and Women in Sports Day (MGWSD) ceremony at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Nancy Braker, Carleton College Arboretum director was appointed to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Committee on natural heritage. 

Nikki Brod has been promoted to Business Development Representative at the EO Johnson Business Technologies Wausau office.
Do you have business news to share? We want to hear about it! Please contact Lindsay at lindsay@northfieldchamber.com to have your big announcement in next months newsletter. 
Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce |  Lindsay@northfieldchamber.com   http://www.northfieldchamber.com
 205 Third Street, Suite B
Northfield, MN 55057