Don't miss what's happening in the Rushford Peterson Valley!
Photo by Deb Book
Reminders from
"Roadside Advertising in the Digital Age" workshop
On September 29, the University of Minnesota Extension led a workshop to give us the tools and know-how to ensure people find our businesses and attractions with a computer, a smartphone or GPS device. These are two steps you can take today to become more accessible to potential customers--those searching for the goods or services you offer:
(1) Claim your businesses on Yelp. This site is where "Siri" finds information for all queries on Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPads. Go to www.yelp.com and search for your business. If you find your business or organization, click on the link to Claim this Business (you may have to click on the "?" symbol with the word "Unclaimed"). Create a Yelp account to provide accurate details on your business.
(2) Find your business on Google. If details or location are not correct, you will have to first either verify this business (verify ownership via phone or postcard) or use the "suggest an edit" link. For greater control over your listing, please verity this business and create a Google account to access details on Google My Business.
Contact the Chamber to set up an appointment for assistance with the above steps. Thank you to the Rushford Economic Development Authority and Rushford Foods for sponsoring this workshop, and thank you to Tri-County Electric Co-op for the use of the meeting room.
MN Chamber's October webinars
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce held two webinars this month, and the RP Valley Chamber registered for both to share important information with our member businesses. Below is a re-cap of each webinar and where you can find more details. 

(1) New FLSA Overtime Rules & White Collar Exemptions. The rules take effect December 1, 2016 and increases the salary threshold under which most employees will be automatically eligible for overtime pay. The webinar, provided by Martin Kappenman of Seaton, Peters, Revnew, The Lawyers for Employers, gave details on who will be affected, compared the current rule and final rule, and assisted with figuring out which employees are exempt or non-exempt.  Find the webinar slides here. For additional details, visit the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Wage & Hour Division's Q&A site.

(2) ADA Compliance. Small businesses across Minnesota have found themselves sued for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the MN Chamber, "Common violations alleged are parking lots including the color/height of parking signs; ramp entrances to
buildings; door frame width/lip and door handles; and aisle widths."  Find the webinar slides here. These slides include information
on what you can do today to ensure your business is complying with the ADA; who to contact if you would like assistance; and resources available. The webinar recording is also available upon request. Take action: (1) Identify barriers; (2) Identify resources; (3) Create a reasonable timeline for completion; (4) Identify responsible person; and (5) Implement plan - demonstrate progress!
Welcoming our newest Chamber member
Representing Rushford's new, family-owned Il Luigi's Italian Restaurant, Iris Jara cut the ceremonial red ribbon on October 27 to celebrate the business' opening at 100 W. Jessie Street. We welcome the Luis & Iris Jara family and Il Luigi's Italian Restaurant to the Rushford Peterson Valley! 
Pictured with Jara in front are Chamber Board members Steven Halvorson, Beth Tudahl, Peggi Redalen, Angela Colbenson and Megan Boyum. Also supporting the new business are the Rushford EDA Coordinator Donna Mack, Merchants Bank representatives Debbie Erickson and Maria Sampson, R-P Schools Administrator Jake Timm, Jeffrey O'Donnell with O'Donnell Wealth Management, Rushford State Bank Business Banker Craig Schroeder, Rush Foods, Inc. Co-owner Brad Hoiness, Rushford State Bank Executive Vice President Terry Chiglo with his wife, Deb, Rushford Mayor Chris Hallum, and Rushford City Administrator Tony Chladek.
More Chamber News

November's Business A fter Hours.  Join fellow Chamber members on 
Thursday, November 17 for an Business After Hours social from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. hosted by Gary & Sue Hoff at Hoff Funeral Home in Rushford. Stop in to visit with old friends and perhaps meet some new! 

Small Business Saturday. November 26 is Small Business Saturday--a 
national promotion encouraging people to shop local, especially during  the holiday season.   Contact the Chamber  if your business plans to be open for shoppers that day and if you have any special offers planned. We'd like to help enhance your promotions through email and social media.

Marketing our area.  The Chamber submitted an Explore MN Tourism grant application in mid-October to enhance marketing of the Rushford Peterson Valley. We have received  these grant funds for the past 2 years. The grant reimburses up to 50 percent of state-wide or out-of-state marketing . Our 2017 application requested funds for advertising with Wisconsin Public Radio, Facebook, Google AdWords, and Have Fun Biking. Depending on grant funding and anticipated results, the Chamber Board will decide if and how much advertising to do with these media. Other advertising being considered for 2017 (and not eligible for grant funding) include: Destination Bluff Country booklet, SEMBA's event booklet, Visit Bluff Country magazine, Explore Minnesota 2017 magazine, and the Root River Trail Towns' website. The valley's three cities have all participated in supporting our marketing efforts in the past. Contact the Chamber if you have suggestions for other successful advertising venues. 

Beware of potential fraud.  A reminder to be on your guard for potential fraud related to advertising on cash register receipts. Earlier this month, the Chamber sent an email about a man selling what he said was
advertising that would be printed on the back of cash register receipts at
Rushford Foods. This man took money from local business owners for the ads but never followed through with printing of the ads. In response to our email, we heard from several businesses that had paid for these ads, including one just last month. The Rushford Police Department is investigating, so please contact them at 864-7023 or by email if you have information regarding this matter.

Annual Business Trick-or-Treat. Thank you to the many Chamber-member businesses and organizations that will participate in the Trick-or-Treat event and to the Rushford Lions for again serving as crossing guards! 
Business of the Month ~ Dennis Overland Insurance
This month the Chamber congratulates Dennis Overland Insurance Agency, Inc. on 50 years of business in the Rushford Peterson Valley. 
In 1966, Dennis' father, Jardiene, began selling insurance through American Family. He became an independent agent in 1979. Dennis started in the insurance business in 1990 working for Jardiene, selling property and casualty insurance. In 1994, Dennis joined Mutual of Omaha, where he also learned life and health insurance. Dennis purchased the agency from his father in 1996, and the company grew, acquiring other practices in Rushford and Houston. 

Photo by PIA Minnesota
Dennis is active in professional associations to stay involved in t he ever- changing insurance environment. For instance, this year is Dennis' seventh on the board of directors for Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Minnesota, and he became the state's representative to the National PIA. He travels to Washington D.C. a couple times each year for legislative advocacy regarding insurance. 

Dennis is one of a few Fillmore County agents certified to sell MNSure. In addition to health, he also offers life, auto, property, farm and commercial insurance. His wife, Sheri, has been working with the business since about 2010. Dennis recalls a time when the company employed up to five people, but technology has made a significant difference. He said his mom, Irene, used to work in the business, having to carbon-copy stacks of paperwork. With computers and the Internet, more work and information can be transmitted in less time, so the business has been able to continue to prosper with only he and Sheri in the office. 

The Chamber recognizes Dennis Overland Insurance Agency, Inc. as the Member Business of the Month, commending the business for its continued growth and service in the Rushford Peterson Valley.
Trail maintenance postponed
The re-paving of the Root River Trail between Peterson and Rushford that was supposed to happen this fall will now occur late next spring. The contractor was delayed in other projects due to the wet September. The new completion date for the re-paving will be May 26, 2017. 
News from around the state and beyond

Be prepared for Election Day.  Your ballot includes more than just a vote for the next president or U.S. and state representatives and senators. Ballots in Minnesota also include a question on a state constitutional amendment regarding lawmakers' power to set their own pay.
 Fillmore County ballots also include two questions related to the appointment or election of county auditor/treasurer and county recorder, as well as Soil & Water Conservation District races. In some areas, there are also city council races, school district board member races, and over a dozen races for judges. To view a sample ballot for your precinct, go to  myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/ and type in your address...then "Click Here For Sample Ballot."  You can print the sample ballot from this website and become informed about what's on your ballot. Voters may take sample ballots or campaign flyers into the voting booth but they should not display these materials outside the booth.  Also, to avoid lines on Election Day, consider Voting Early (absentee) at your county auditor's office during normal business hours; the last Saturday before Election Day (10 a.m. - 3 p.m.); or the day before Election Day until 5 p.m.

Small Tip Pool Violation Creates Big Headache for Employer. From HR.BLR.com: A recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) settlement serves as a reminder for employers with tipped employees: you cannot require workers to share tips with nontipped staff. Doing so can leave an employer liable not only for the misappropriated tips, but also--because of a provision in the law--for back minimum wage and overtime payments that it wouldn't have otherwise owed. Read more...

Minnesota premiums to exceed national average. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Big rate increases next year in the state's individual market mean that Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own will pay above-average premiums - a startling reversal from 2014 when individual market rates in much of the state were among the lowest in the nation. A federal report this week looked at rates for "benchmark" plans across 44 states and found a family of four in Minnesota will pay $1,396 per month for the coverage. That's about 28 percent higher than the average across most of those states at $1,090 per month. Read more...
Area Events
October 31, 3:30-6pm
Business Trick-or-Treat
Rushford Peterson Valley

First Saturday Every Month,
8-10am
Mason's Pancake Breakfast
Mystic Star Masonic Lodge

First Wednesday Every  Month, 7pm
Rushford American Legion
November 5, 1pm
St. John's Hart Ladies Aid
St. John's Hart Church
November 12,
10am-1:30pm
Rushford Lutheran Church
November 17, 5-6:30pm
Business After Hours
Hoff Funeral Home
November 26
Small Business Saturday
Make an extra effort to shop local & support small business.
December 10
Christmas in Peterson & Parade of Lights in Rushford

Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce
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