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.

Before Hours on May 24
Rushford EDA Coordinator Donna Mack invites you all to attend CEDA's Marketing in the Morning seminar at Hoiland Mill from 7-8 a.m., with a light breakfast and coffee provided at no charge. This free seminar will feature Sarah Miller from White Space, who will present "Where Marketing Ends, Branding Begins: The Importance of Cohesive Branding." Email Donna to attend!
After Hours on May 24
Rushford State Bank will host an After-Hours Social from 5-6 p.m. on May 24.  Bank staff will have information about the Shazam Bolt$ app, which is debit card fraud protection, and Rushford City Administrator Tony Chladek will be available to discuss the EDA micro loans and other programs with any interested businesses. Everyone is invited for after hours appetizers and refreshments. Add this event to your calendar and visit Rushford State Bank!  
Photos from the past...
Trail replacement nears completion
The Root River Trail between Peterson and Rushford will soon re-open after being reclaimed and repaved over the past month. This portion was first paved in late 1988. The trail's Grand Opening then took place on a bright and sunny May 20, 1989 with an estimated 800 people attending.

At a cost of $599,814, the new trail has been funded by Legacy Amendment funds (3/8th of 1% additional sales tax passed by the state's voters in 2008) and has widened the asphalt from 8 feet to 10 feet. Bridge work was also completed in this section of trail. At this time the new asphalt is done, and shoulder work and seeding will finish by May 26 when the trail re-opens.
Chamber Activities
Guidebook - Click on the left image to page through the e-version of the new Rushford Peterson Valley guidebook. This document is now being printed and will be distributed soon. Thanks to the Rushford Economic Development Authority for helping with the printing cost. We have had many requests for printed information and hope these guides will continue to draw visitors to our area, as well as provide our new residents (or those exploring relocation) with a few details on our various and diverse local businesses and organizations. Thank you to graphic designer Sarah Peterson for working with the Chamber on the guide's updates. Please contact the Chamber if you would like guides at your place of business.



March School Tour - Thank you to the many Chamber members that attended the new school tour on March 4. It was a great opportunity to see the project's progress and learn more about the features of the new building. A special thanks to Chuck Ehler, Andrea Shepherd, Lisa Lawston, and school staff for leading the tours and providing this opportunity for Chamber members. There will be no more tours until the building is complete in August. If you missed a past tour, you can watch on-line videos through this link. 
Secretary of State Steve Simon made a brief visit to our area on March 24, and the Chamber helped make meeting arrangements. We thank our member businesses who were able to meet with him on short notice and to Jessie Street Java for hosting. Secretary Simon provided information about his office's business services and distributed copies of the Southeast MN Economic and Business Conditions Report 4th Quarter 2016
Property Sales in 2016 & Future Property Taxes - Chamber members heard from Fillmore County Assessor Cindy Blagsvedt and Winona County Recorder Bob Bambenek on March 23 regarding the counties' property sales in 2016 and how these sales impact future property tax assessments and taxation. Ms. Blagsvedt shared reasons why property taxes may vary and what steps to take if you think your property is over-assessed. She also said based on the county's sales data from 10/2015 to 9/2016, there would be no change in commercial assessment values for taxes payable in 2018. The same is true for residential assessment values in Peterson and Rushford, which were based off 3 sales in Peterson and 20 sales in Rushford. Eight (8) residential sales in Rushford Village showed a need to increase future assessed values. Based on sales of both Agricultural Unimproved and Improved, these types of properties' assessed values will see a future increase. Mr. Bambenek shared details on Winona County sales for residential, commercial, and agricultural land. Contact the Chamber if you would like copies of the presenters' handouts.

Certified Food Manager Course - Several owners and employees of area food establishments attended the April 25 re-certification or initial certification in food safety. As in past years, the Chamber coordinated the class with The Food Safety Guy, which provided a discount for our local participants. A special thanks to Loken's Rshford Inn for the use of their Conference Room.   
Local Scouts and the Lions Club
helped make the 2nd Annual Trailwide Community Clean-up a great success on April 22. The Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and their families, as well as other community volunteers, picked up trash along the trail and in parks and other public areas in the Rushford Peterson Valley, and the local Lions served lunch to all the volunteers at the Rushford Historic Depot. The Chamber coordinated this event, which was replicated in the other Root River Trail Towns the same day.
Wayfinding Signs - The Chamber coordinator presented MnDOT-approved sign designs to the Rushford EDA Board and the Rushford City Council in March. Most sign locations will consist of a Rushford Peterson Valley brand and directional arrows to key destinations, such as R-P School, Creekside Park, Creek Trail, Magelssen Bluff Hiking, Magelssen Bluff Park, Visitor Info, State Trail and Root River Water Access. MnDOT regulations dictate the size of font, which then corresponds to the sign size, as well as the color scheme. The signs have been ordered and will be installed by Rushford Public Works.
Marketing & Promotion Efforts
  • RP Valley Chamber volunteers Jen Hengel and Sally Ryman set-up and staffed the Root River Trail Towns' booth at Houston's International Owl Festival the first night of the festival. Other Trail Towns representatives staffed the booth throughout that first weekend in March, including Gail Boyum of Peterson. Together, the group reported providing hundreds of people with information about the trail and our adjacent towns!
  • Root River Trail Towns representatives are also organizing a booth for Iowa's RAGBRAI stop in Cresco, Iowa. Trail Towns is seeking volunteers to staff the booth and provide these bicycle enthusiasts - up to 10,000 people - with information about our area. Contact the Chamber if you're willing to volunteer for a few hours on Thursday, July 27 in Cresco. The [Des Moines] Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa began in 1973, and this is only the fourth time the ride has come as close to us as Cresco.

  • The Chamber is always seeking ideas on new ways or avenues to market our area. We're interested in hearing from you. What websites, publications, or other media do you use to determine where to vacation or when you make travel or destination plans? Send us an email! 

Help us thank these new Chamber Members:

  • Peterson American Legion Gilbertson-Rude Post 526
  • Hardwood Country Sportsmen's Club
  • Heiden Century Farms
  • Root River Saddle Club
  • Rushford Area Society for the Arts
  • Rushford-Peterson Booster Club
  • Rushford Women's Club
  • St. Mark's Lutheran Church
  • Sandhill Appraisals
  • Shannon Meier Photography
  • S weet 16 Farm & Frisbee Golf
  • Michael and Juli Sieve (individual members)
  • Visions Salon

Visit the Rushford Peterson Valley website for details on these and all of our 120 members! Thank you to all members for the continued support of your Chamber--we would not be here without you!

Chamber Member News

Peterson American Legion Auxiliary will host a Memorial Day Program and lunch beginning at 10 a.m. on May 29 at the Bandstand (or Middle School if raining). After the program, a pulled pork sandwich lunch will be served at the Legion for a free-will donation. Everyone is invited to this public event!

Rushford American Legion will host Memorial Day activities in Rushford. Breakfast at no charge for all Veterans at the Rushford Legion beginning at 7 a.m. A Memorial Day service will be held at the Veterans Memorial at Creekside Park at 10:30 a.m. (at High School if raining). Brats and burgers will then be served back at the Legion for a free-will donation.

Stumpy Restaurant owner Judy Christian was recently recognized as KTTC's “AmaZING Woman” of the month for her selflessness and willingness to help others. Congratulations, Judy, on this well-deserved recognition.

L&L Volkman Auto Body Repair has a new website. Owners Leigh & Kayla Volkman created the site themselves through GoDaddy, and shared that the experience was user-friendly with great customer service. Contact Kayla at 507-864-2590 if you'd like to learn more about how they went about building their website.

Bluff Country ATV Club representatives are working on a Rim Trail proposal to develop 35-40 miles of family-oriented ATV trails that would loo p around the Root River valley and connect Rushford and Peterson commercial areas. There are seven steps to satisfy the criteria of a DNR's Grant-in-Aid trail, and the Bluff Country ATV Club is currently completing requirements of the first of these steps. Property owners are being contacted for permission. DNR Forestry has offered access & cooperation. A 'start-up' financial commitment has been made by the DNR Trails Division, but there is a tremendous amount of work to do for the non-profit, volunteer club membership in the next 6-18 months to make the Rim Trail a reality. The club will also accept the responsibilities for maintenance and future enhancements of the trail once open. This Rim Trail is the foundation for Bluff Tracks' Master Plan, which would involve construction of a natural surface recreation trail system [approx. 250 miles of ATV, 100 miles of horseback, 75 miles of mt. bike, and 75 miles of nature/adventure hiking trails]. The system would feature stand-alone trail clusters as well as connector routes to satisfy the needs of day users and extended-stay visitors. 

Loken's Rushford Inn has commercial space available for lease at the northwest corner for the Inn, which is adjacent to the Root River State Trail. The room is 217 square feet (14' x 15'). The Lokens are looking for a business that would complement their lodging business. Available immediately. Look at the space by calling Mike Brazee, motel manager, at 507-864-2222 or Eileen Loken, owner, at 507-421-1180.

Semcac was awarded one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Southeast Minnesota awards presented by Workforce Development, Inc. A total of 14 businesses in Southeast Minnesota received the award after completing  a 40-question survey that allowed their employment practices to be analyzed by the consulting f irm of Personnel Dynamics Consulting of Florida. The purpose of the program is to provide local employers with information about the practices they use to attract and retain employees. 

AcenTek is excited to announce they will be upgrading the existing copper connections to the homes in the city limits of Rushford to a fiber connection. Construction started this month on the north end of town in hopes of completing the new school by June. Central Cable is the contractor hired to do the construction, which will be completed in September. AcenTek projects customer installs to be complete by March 2018. 
Rushford Peterson Valley Farmers Market begins Wednesday, June 7, and will be held every Wednesday through mid-October, 4-6:30 p.m., at the Rushford Depot Park. Contact Jess Heiden if you're interested in participating as a vendor!
Worth the read...

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has issued an Employer's Guide to Employment Law Issues in Minnesota. Download the document, which is searchable by topic.

Governor Mark Dayton signs Real ID measure into law; from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. After years of debate, Minnesota has adopted the federal Real ID standards for driver's licenses. Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday morning signed the bill that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday. "I am very pleased that the Legislature has finally passed this critical bipartisan measure, which will allow Minnesotans to continue to board airplanes, and access federal facilities, with a compliant driver's license," the Democratic governor said. Read more...

Education veto, spending disputes mark Legislature's fifth-to-last day; from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  The prospect of a timely finish to the legislative session dimmed Thursday as Gov. Mark Dayton's administration and Republican leaders of the House and Senate put budget talks on hold for a day of public sparring over dueling tax and spending plans. Adding to the growing partisan tenor of the session's final days, Dayton on Thursday nixed a Republican policy priority by vetoing a bill that would have overhauled Minnesota's troubled teacher licensing system - infuriating lawmakers who worked on it for months. Read more...

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Re-cap of the 2017 Legislative Session. Receive an immediate analysis from the MN Chamber's policy team on how the actions of the 2017 Legislature will affect businesses and an early preview of what issues are anticipated for the 2018 Legislature. The webinar will take place at 12 noon. Contact the RP Valley Chamber to find out how you can participate in the webinar.
2017 Events in the Rushford Peterson Valley
The Chamber continues to promote our local events on the Rushford Peterson Valley website, Explore Minnesota Tourism website, and the Root River Trail Towns website. If you know of additional events or have corrections to the dates below, contact the Chamber coordinator.

May 19-21—SEMBA Bluegrass Festival, Cushon’s Peak Campground
June-Oct.—RP Valley Farmers Market, Wednesdays 4-6:30 p.m., Depot Park
June 17—Gammel Dag Fest, Peterson
June 23-24—Root River Trail Towns 60-Mile Garage Sale, includes RP Valley
July 6-9—Root River Bluff & Valley Bike Tour in Peterson, Rushford & Preston (itinerary below)
July 9-July 30—Music in the Bandstand, Sundays 5-7 p.m., Peterson
July 10-16—Rushford Days
July 12-16—RASA performs "Annie," Rushford
July 28—Fillmore County Relay for Life in Rushford
July 29-30—Great River Rumble group in Rushford; Sunday river launch (itinerary below)
Aug. 17-20—SEMBA Bluegrass Festival, Cushon’s Peak Campground
Sept. 9—Taste of the Trail: Peterson, Whalan & Lanesboro
Sept. 23—Taste of the Trail: Rushford area & Houston (same day as re-scheduled Root River Triathlon in Houston!)
Oct. 14—Bluff Land Tri: Run, Bike, Hike triathlon in Rushford Peterson Valley
Oct. 21—Rushford Arts & Crafts Fair
Dec. 9—Christmas in Peterson and Parade of Lights in Rushford
Your membership is vital in sustaining the local Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Coordinator Jennifer Hengel and the Chamber Board of Directors
Robin Paulson, President - Steven Halvorson, Vice-President - Angela Colbenson, Treasurer Sally Ryman, Secretary -  Beth Tudahl - Megan Boyum - Kathy Riley  
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