Our mission is to serve as a member-driven organization that promotes business and community growth through economic, civic, social, and cultural programs in the Rushford Peterson Valley.

Seeking feedback on Trade Area Retail Gap Analysis 
To provide actionable data to support new business and business expansion, the Rushford Economic Development Authority recently partnered with the University of MN Extension and the Chamber to update a Retail Gap Analysis, last completed in 2009. The trade area included a 15-minute drive time from Rushford and included a population of 6,230 people. The inputs into the analysis included “Demand” estimates calculated from the 2007 U.S. Economic Census (based on sales per capita spending) and “Supply” listings (existing businesses) provided by the Rushford Peterson Valley and Houston chambers of commerce.  The analysis’ output is the business gap—where demand exceeds supply. 

As a sample of the report, here are the business categories where the gap is greater than 1.0:
  • Limited-service eating places (food services where patrons generally order and pay before eating; most do not have wait-staff service)
  • Cosmetics, beauty supplies, perfume stores
  • Jewelry stores
  • Other health and personal care stores
  • Appliance, television, & other electronics stores
  • Women’s clothing stores
Bruce Schwartau from the UMN-Extension noted the Retail Gap Analysis should help inform, not replace, local knowledge of what may or may not be missing from retail options. For instance, each business gap should not necessarily be looked at as a new store-front as much as a product line. 

Also, each indicated gap should be further analyzed as to whether an existing business is already providing that good or service. Consider that for this study each existing business was given one NAICS code, and we know several businesses provide goods that are shown as a “gap” under a different NAICS. For example, take “Limited-service eating places,” which shows a business gap of 3.4 (6.4 businesses in demand and 3 in supply). Of the supply using that NAICS code, 2 businesses are in Houston and 1 in Rushford. Using our local knowledge, however, one could also say a few other businesses offer limited service eating, such as Rushford Foods, Pam’s Corner and Kwik Trip, which are included under different NAICS codes (Grocery stores or Gasoline stations). 

The analysis should, therefore, be used as a starting point for considering possible business opportunities for the area. “We realize that while the information is insightful, the data needs to be scrutinized further by business savvy realists that may see opportunities. If those opportunities can be realized the community benefits when more can be purchased locally and when business can prosper doing so,” remarked Tony Chladek, Rushford’s City Administrator and EDA Executive Director.  “We are focused on providing actionable business information and finding the folks that want and can take advantage of it.”

The City of Rushford, EDA and Chamber representatives plan to continue to consider and follow-up on the analysis’ findings, including meeting with business owners for input. Please take a look at the report, and consider the following: 
  • Are you aware of (other) existing businesses already providing the goods identified as gaps? 
  • Are there opportunities for expanding the inventory of goods a current business supplies in order to fill these gaps and capture the sales that may be leaving our area? 
  • Are there opportunities to start a business to capture these sales? 
  • Are there other retail gaps that were missed? (Are people leaving the area for retail needs not identified in the report?)
  • The analysis does not touch on what service professions may be missing from our trade area’s mix of businesses. Are residents leaving the trade area to find a certain service, whether a construction-related trade to pet grooming to attorney services—what has your experience been?
Email your input or questions to the Chamber or contact the EDA’s Donna Mack (651-380-1618) to set-up a time to meet regarding the gap analysis or business opportunities. 
Nominate a Board Member
The Chamber Board of Directors is seeking nominees for a board member to fill a 2-year term beginning February 2017. The 7-member Board of Directors meets monthly to guide activities of the  Chamber of Commerce. Any business member or an employee of a business member is eligible to serve on the Board. If you are interested or have a nomination, please email the Chamber today! We need your input and service to continue to have an active business association

Business of the Month: Rushford Chiropractic Clinic
Dr. David Hinz first opened the doors at Rushford Chiropractic Clinic on December 6, 1996, shortly after he and his wife, Lynn, moved to Rushford. For 20 years he has provided chiropractic care for area residents of all ages. In recent years, Dr. Hinz has seen an increase in visits from younger patients--from toddlers to high school students. He said children typically respond quickly to chiropractic treatments. In addition to chiropractic care, the clinic offers a hydrotherapy table (with heat and massage). Dr. Hinz accepts most insurance plans and has cash plans available. He continues to adapt to dynamic insurance conditions.   
Dr. Hinz noted the Rushford area has been a great place for he and Lynn to raise their two daughters while growing a small business.  The Chamber recognizes Rushford Chiropractic Center as the Member Business of the Month, commending the business for 20 years of service in the Rushford Peterson Valley.
Chamber Activities
Membership Drive - Thank you to everyone who has sent in their 2017 membership! Contact the Chamber if you did not receive the email appeal sent on November 23.

Thank you Hoff Funeral Home for hosting a Business After Hours on November 17. All who attended enjoyed their time networking with fellow business representatives!

Small Business Saturday and Shop Small - Thank you to the businesses and customers that participated in Shop Small efforts in November and early December. We encourage everyone to Shop Small year-round to support locally owned businesses from retail stores to restaurants, health/fitness and many other services. - we're fortunate to have such diverse businesses! Also over the last month the Chamber has sold over $7,000 in Valley Doe, our local currency for spending in the Rushford Peterson Valley. It's not too late to purchase Valley Doe for your holiday gift-giving--contact the Chamber with your order.

Chamber Annual Meeting - Mark your calendar for Thursday, February 2 at 12 noon at The Creamery. We will have a brief business meeting prior to a keynote address from Della Schmidt, President of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce. Reservations will be taken beginning in early January.

Groups coming next summer - The Chamber is helping with plans to bring at least two large groups to the Rushford Peterson Valley next summer. The Root River Bluff & Valley Bike Tour will begin with 100-300 bicyclists overnight in Peterson on July 6 and overnight in Rushford on July 7. The Great River Rumble 2017 will launch up to 200 paddlers (canoes & kayaks) on the Root River from Rushford on July 30, after they spend the night in town. Both the bicyclists and paddlers are planning to dine at our restaurants during their stays in our valley. Stay tuned for details as they're formed in early 2017.

Christmas in Peterson and Parade of Lights organizers - thank you for all your work in planning these terrific events this past Saturday! Your countless hours of preparation are worth the effort when we see our streets full of visitors and residents. Thank you also to the businesses and organizations that help make these events successful. 
Business News

Il Luigi Italian Restaurant would like fellow businesses to know they have event space for groups, whether 10 or 100 people. Birthday or anniversary parties, graduation parties, Christmas or News Years parties, lunch or dinner meetings--any reason to celebrate or bring people together! Talk to Diego or Luis for details and to arrange any special dishes or meals. (507)864-2050 or (612)730-4376 for reservations

Nordic Lanes is offering one free game of bowling for those who donate one toy or two non-perishable foods, now through December 23. Please help Nordic Lanes gather items for those in need in our area.

Rushford IGA is a brighter place to visit thanks to the recent installation of new LED lights by Norman's Electric. The lighting stays brighter longer, reduces electric usage and saves money! They wish to thank Todd and Norman's Electric for getting this important project completed.

Sweet Dreams Bed & Breakfast would like to share that they  very much enjoyed the customers resulting from their donation to the MN Mayors Conference last spring. Owners Vince and Donna Ciangiola gave a night's stay as part of a package that Rushford Mayor Chris Hallum took with him to the conference. The Ciangiolas hosted a metro area mayor and guest this past summer. In addition to their time at the B&B, the guests ate dinner in Rushford, enjoyed Magelssen Bluff, and toured around town. They also wrote a very positive review of the B&B on Trip Advisor
FCE assists with Entrapment Rescue Training 
Farmers Co-op Elevator helped Rushford firefighters with extrication training in the event of an entrapment situation. Using the grain truck and rescue tube pictured to the left, rescue teams received hands-on experience to simulate emergencies.   

“Using the equipment in the grain allows firefighters to train in real life conditions,” according to Dennis Overland of the Rushford Fire Department. “We appreciated the co-op’s involvement to help us be prepared.”  

The group also toured the co-op’s facilities while the dryer was running to practice finding switches, controls and shut-offs in case of an emergency.

Rushford firefighters participate in two hours of training twice a month and attend outside training to maintain their certification. Classroom training, mock fires, and confined space training are all part of the curriculum. One newer area of emphasis is learning were air bags and batteries are in vehicles, because cutting into an air bag at an accident scene can cause the bag to explode.

FCE Safety Director Rich Fravel stressed that entrapment rescue training is not just for co-op personnel and firefighters. Area farmers benefit from knowing the firefighters are ready to help if an accident happens on their farm.
Your membership is vital in sustaining the local Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for your continued support.

Coordinator Jennifer Hengel and the Chamber Board of Directors
Peggi Redalen - Gary Marcoux - Robin Paulson - Angela Colbenson - 
Beth Tudahl - Megan Boyum - Steven Halvorson  
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