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NEWSLETTER Rochester Downtown Alliance

Service Campaign

RDA shines a light on 100+ Downtown services businesses for the third industry specific marketing initiative. See more on page 14.

Plus... We highlight our summer programs and events, our #MyDowntownRochMN marketing campaign, a special ‘Featured Stakeholder Series’ with Ty Bestor, upcoming events, and more. © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


Greetings Downtown Rochester! I’m excited to be working with you, the people who are helping to make Downtown the place to be for an active, vibrant Rochester experience! For those of you I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting, my Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) roots date back more than a decade when I worked for the growing organization during the spring and summer of 2008 under Sandy Keith and Heidi Mestad before going on to work as Director of Communications and Public Relations for the University of Minnesota Rochester. In 2015, I dove headlong into the world of entrepreneurialism, launching Inspire, a local firm that provides a variety of organizations - including RDA - with public relations, communications, and marketing services. But my love for the RDA and the critical work the organization does for Downtown never diminished, and I am delighted to be part of it once again. The creative and dedicated RDA staff worked tirelessly this summer to keep Downtown hopping. From familyfriendly events like Movies in the Park and Dogs Downtown to passive programming like Games on the Grass and the Bookworm Walk, scores of people spent time in Downtown this summer. And while the summer activities may be coming to a close, here in the RDA office, we’re geared up and ready to keep things active as we move into fall and winter. Thank you for your continued support of the RDA. I look forward to engaging with you during the coming months. Sarah


3 DMC Discussions 4 Social Steps 6 Bookworm Walk 7 From the Chair 8 From the Outside

Looking In: Thursdays on First & 3rd

10 Board Member Feature 11 #MyDowntownRochMN Campaign

12 Summer Interns 14 Service Campaign 15 Movies in the Park 16 Featured Stakeholder Series w/Ty Bestor

18 Mark your Calendars

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Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and Discovery Square are proud to collaborate with The Arc Minnesota and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to bring an innovative new pitch competition to Rochester this fall. The Assistive Tech Challenge invites teams of competitors to come up with novel ideas to help facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities. Teams will compete for $15,000 in total prize money to bring their creative concepts and products to life. The Challenge seeks solutions to alleviate barriers to employment, ways to enhance social skills to foster meaningful relationships, support for direct care providers, and improve access to the community through public infrastructure. “The Assistive Tech Challenge will offer a preview of the collaborative efforts we expect to see happen in Discovery Square in the future,” says DMC EDA Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “Development of products and services will provide new options for individuals with disabilities, and will also help reduce the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in our region and across the United States.” Anyone interested in forming a team and developing innovative Assistive Technology solutions is invited to participate. The competition will take place during the Assistive Technology Expo scheduled for Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Heintz Center in Rochester. To learn more, visit and search for Assistive Technology. Page 3 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


In June of 2017, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) launched a new arm of activation called “Programs.” These programs featured smaller scale but longer running activities, which allow people to take part in a scheduled class or engage with a passive activity almost any time they are Downtown. One of these programs was called “Move on the Plaza.” “Move” provided free, weekly fitness classes throughout the summer on the Peace Plaza, offering a simple concept: give the public an to opportunity to come Downtown, exercise, and feel healthier. After “Move” was launched, we monitored how the public responded to the classes. We first noticed many patients and visitors would relax in the chairs surrounding the Peace Plaza, socialize with others around them, and enjoy the dance performances. We also noticed that, rather than using the dance lessons as a workout, attendees danced with people they didn’t know and seemed to enjoy meeting new people.

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When determining 2018 programs, we used those observations and decided to shift the emphasis of the classes toward helping people find connection through dance. Move was re-branded as “Social Steps” and the RDA partnered with Dahl Dance to provide free dance lessons on the Peace Plaza, every other Friday, from June to August. The Kahler Hospitality Group also came onboard as a partner to provide signature cocktails for purchase by attendees at each of the events (because sometimes social dancing requires a little “liquid courage”)! As we close Social Steps this summer, the RDA is delighted to see the program succeed as a result of the changes we made, and we’re excited for how this program will evolve in the future. The RDA continually strives for excellence and understands that for our Downtown to serve as a great gathering space for people, the activities within it should always serve as adaptable vehicles for people to meaningfully connect.

Page 5 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


It’s hard to believe summer is coming to a close and season two of the Bookworm Walk is already over! The Bookworm Walk offered the opportunity for families to increase time spent outdoors and encourage reading skills by featuring children’s books set in flower planters along the Riverwalk. This year, we saw a large increase in the number of users that participated in the walk. In 2017, we distributed 2,100 maps to the public compared to 5,000 maps this season. It’s incredible to see the increased reach, but it’s also important to note what the Bookworm Walk provided to children and families while Downtown. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person spends 93% of their life indoors. 87% of that time is spent inside, with 6% spent in automobiles. This means that only 7% of our lives are spent outdoors. Research suggests that spending time outside can help improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. One parent summed up the benefits of this program with the following survey comment; “We loved it! [The Bookworm Walk] connected us to the outdoors and our children without any technology.” We couldn’t be happier to see this comment, and we look forward to bringing this summer program to Rochester families again next year! Thank you to our partners - the Rochester Public Library, the Rochester MN Moms Blog, and Lanier Parking - for their support of this program. Page 6



“Formally welcome Sarah Oslund as Interim Executive Director” very excited to have her as part of the team as we finish out a very successful 2018.

On behalf of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) Board of Directors, I would like to formally welcome Sarah Oslund as Interim Executive Director of the RDA. She brings great attributes to the team, such as excellent written and verbal communication, a vast knowledge of marketing and public relations, plus first hand experience working with the RDA, both internally and externally. We are

In addition, as summer is coming to a close, I would also like to highlight the RDA’s summer events and marketing interns, Emma Culbertson and Madison Kelly. They were a huge asset to the team and represented our organization extremely well during their time with the RDA. You can read more about their personal experiences with the organization on pages 12 and 13. Speaking of summer, can you believe it’s already September? The end of summer means the end of our beloved events: Thursdays on First & 3rd, Movies in the

Park, Social Steps, and others. However, the fun doesn’t stop there. We now invite you to join us for Fall Fest on October 6th on the Peace Plaza as we celebrate my favorite season. Plus, the fall season means new trends. Help us kick off the shopping season with our new retail-focused campaign, which you will see on social media, digital and outdoor billboards, magazines, and more during the months of October and November. Also, don’t forget to save the date for our annual meeting on Wednesday, December 12. Hope to see you there!

From the Chair is a recurring article within the RDA Newsletter where the sitting Board Chair reflects on the past quarter and speaks to the next quarter. Page 7

© 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


Every summer, First Avenue and the Peace Plaza transform from a typical Downtown city street and walkway to a huge artisan and entertainment market. Thursdays on First & 3rd was scheduled for 13 weeks in 2018, bringing nearly 200 vendors, 78 bands, and hundreds of thousands of attendees to Downtown Rochester. As the Rochester Downtown Alliance staff, we know what it takes to prepare for the event, from logistics to partnerships, to marketing. But what do those from the outside see? We wanted to find out, so we spoke with Darci Fenske, a Rochester resident; Cindy and Brandon Reichel, who are in Rochester from Sartell, MN for appointments; and vendor Pratibha Verma with Shri Lakshmi Fashion and Accessories to find out more about what Thursdays on First & 3rd meant to them. What is your favorite part about this event? Darci Fenske: The food, the cocktails, the people – everything! The food, especially, is a great way to sample the Downtown restaurants that I don’t always have time to visit. Cindy and Brandon Reichel: We love the variety of craft vendors along with the food options. It’s a great way to see smaller versions of all the great restaurants Downtown has to offer. Pratibha Verma: Coming out on the street, because many times, people don’t know what is going on, who we are. So when we come out, we see how diverse we are again. What kind of impact would you say Thursdays on First & 3rd has on you? DF: This event has a huge impact on Downtown. It helps to bring myself and many others Downtown when we normally wouldn’t. C & B: This event is a wonderful way to get us out of the hospital and help to reduce the stress we are going through with having a family member in the hospital. Overall, this event really helps to brighten our day. PV: I love to share my culture and my living style, my tradition, so people know that we can live together in the same community. It is very important for me to show here. I do online business, but bringing my stuff here—it’s not all about earning money, but showing [people], what we have and how much effort we put in to bring it here. What does the event tell you about the Downtown Rochester community? DF: There is an energy Downtown that you can’t find anywhere else in Rochester. Seriously, it’s so vibrant!

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Photo: Cindy & Brandon Reichel

Photo: Pratibha Verma

Photo: Darci Fenske

C & B: Thursdays on First & 3rd shows that there is so much to do in Downtown Rochester. We can tell that this is a very involved community. Everyone is so friendly and willing to chat, even if it’s just for a few minutes. We have met so many new people while here. PV: Rochester is alive. We hear a lot, “Rochester means ‘Mayo Clinic’.” Rochester has more than Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic brings a lot of people here, which is good, they can see we are alive here, we live here, and full of life. Do you have a go-to food/drink/vendor at Thursdays on First & 3rd? DF: I love the Pescara Fish Tacos and the Blackberry Mojito from The Taphouse. C & B: We love going to Carroll’s Corn in the subway, so it was nice to see they have a booth here as well! PV: We love to [eat at Thursdays on First & 3rd]. I’ve tried Newt’s many times, and it’s awesome. Last year, I ate their chips and avocado dip every Thursday. My children enjoy Tea Time. If you could summarize Thursdays on First & 3rd in one word, what would it be? DF: Social C & B: Entertaining PV: Awesome

Page 9 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


Part of a diverse and eclectic group, RDA Board Members Jay Hesley and Terry Spaeth share their point of view into the RDA’s values, mission, and strategic priorities. Which of the RDA values resonates the most with you and why? Jay Hesley: My favorite value is Build It Together. Rochester is growing and for many that can be a difficult proposition. There is uncertainty and many opportunities to make choices that can leave people or businesses behind. The best way to meet the uncertainties and challenges is to work collectively and get many different voices at the table. This is a cornerstone of how the RDA approaches the future. Terry Spaeth: Being the Downtown Experts is the value that resonates the most with me. Having the RDA serve as an advocate and a voice for the Downtown is extremely valuable. Community leaders appreciate that the RDA is a conduit to the Downtown business community and can share information and expertise to assist in the decision making processes that affect the Downtown. Which strategic priority is most important to you and why? JH: Stakeholders are the key to RDA success, and they set the tone for the organization’s strategic

Photo: Jay Hesley

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direction. It is necessary to continue to make sure that those interests are heard and influence our priorities. Unfortunately, resource limitations do require a prioritization of efforts to achieve that greatest impact on vision. Therefore it is our responsibility through stakeholder relations to ensure that all recognize the value and trade offs within RDA actions. TS: I would consider Stakeholder Relations as my highest priority. Having the RDA keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening Downtown and what issues and concerns the Downtown stakeholders have is of utmost importance. Having excellent stakeholder relations is crucial to maintaining continued support for the Downtown Special Services District, which is a primary funding source for the RDA to be able to provide services and event programming. Why do you feel it’s important for the RDA to provide benefits, opportunities, and support for Downtown Rochester? JH: In Rochester, Downtown is the primary location for our government, our city’s largest employers, and the primary reason for people to visit the city. Downtown is the heart of any city and it should provide for a positive experience that can then be carried into other areas of our community. Downtown should be the example of doing it right. TS: The City and Downtown have seen, and will continue to see dynamic changes, including more opportunities to live and work in a Downtown environment. Having the RDA to provide services and event programming, along with Downtown related information is a tremendous asset that serves our Downtown businesses, residents, and visitors

Photo: Terry Spaeth

alike. These opportunities and benefits help create the vibrancy we have sought for the Downtown. Why do you feel a vibrant Downtown is important? JH: Combining the right mix of retail, hospitality, living opportunities, infrastructure, transportation, private and public spaces with active and passive programming will all work together to draw people in and keep them coming back or maybe even have them stay permanently. Once they are here, we can provide them with a positive and unique experience that they will want to repeat or expand on during their next visit. TS: The Downtown is the heart of the City and a place that provides business, cultural and civic activities for the City and Region. It also represents the image and character of the City. With the competition for jobs and talent, having a vibrant Downtown is important in attracting and retaining a talented workforce and providing visitor experiences that will help us meet the goals and objectives of the DMC initiative.




We have had a great time promoting the #MyDowntownRochMN campaign, which started on May 22, 2018. The campaign features interviews with a variety of community members as they share the things they love about Downtown Rochester, MN and walk us through their perfect day in Downtown Rochester. In addition to featuring community members, the campaign provides a chance for us to highlight local businesses. We have seen increased visits to our website and collectively, our blog has moved into one of the top five most visited pages on our, website, which is a success not only for RDA, but also for all of the businesses mentioned throughout the campaign. On average, about 16 businesses are mentioned by each #MyDowntownRochMN participant, which could result in over 250 businesses mentions throughout 2018. Take a look at the #MyDowntownRochMN campaign by visiting our blog by clicking here.

Page 11 Š 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is fortunate to have had two fantastic Summer Events & Marketing Interns. From the end of May through August, Emma Culbertson and Madison Kelly have built upon their talents and skills to successfully assist with Thursdays on First & 3rd, Movies in the Park, Dogs Downtown, Sidewalk Sale, Programs, as well as general marketing initiatives. The RDA strives to create an abundant space for individuals looking to grow and develop both personally and professionally. We sincerely thank Culbertson and Kelly for their outstanding work. Here is what they have to say about their respective experiences serving as 2018 Summer Events & Marketing Interns: Emma Culbertson (pictured on the right) Being a college student has taught me numerous professional skills, but being an intern with the RDA has given me a platform to put those skills into a real-world setting. I came into this internship expecting to improve my writing, planning, speaking, and social media skills, but what I didn’t expect was how much I would improve my interpersonal skills. Being able to sit in on staff meetings, work on projects within all departments of the RDA, network with stakeholders, and have an open dialogue with all the staff and much of the community is something I admired about my internship. Page 12

VOLUME: 5 / ISSUE N O: 03 / SEPTEMBER 2018 I wasn’t a ‘coffee-getting’ intern, I was valued as a team member. My main jobs within the internship were writing press releases, blogs, and social media posts for Thursdays on First & 3rd, Movies in the Park, and Dogs Downtown, along with contributing to the writing of the #MyDowntownRochMN blogs and various tasks for the Bookworm Walk, Social Steps, Games on the Grass, and events after the summer months. I also implemented the #BehindTheThursday mini-campaign on the RDA Instagram account, which featured our Thursdays on First & 3rd staff, and worked on site in the RDA tent as well as on stage making announcements at Thursdays on First & 3rd. I appreciated how often the staff would trust me with various jobs, encourage me when I had a new idea, or just check-in to see how I was doing. Overall, I am so happy I was able to work for the RDA this past summer and am so excited to see all they do in the future. Madison Kelly (pictured on the left) As a graphic designer, the RDA has really given me a place to expand my portfolio by creating promotional items for real events. I’ve been able to follow my designs from idea to print, while working with my co-workers to ensure my work is in line with RDA branding. Dogs Downtown was my biggest project this summer. I designed posters, postcards, banners, and shirts. Through this project, I was able to learn about the approval process of promotional materials. It challenged me to incorporate others opinions into my designs as I worked closely with my co-workers through each phase of the project. As a photographer, this internship has allowed me to expand my comfort zone from portrait photography to event photography. I am now far more comfortable interacting with attendees and partners and it really shows in the moments I’ve been able to capture. I am grateful to have worked somewhere that gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons and the materials to do so. Whether I was doing announcements at Thursdays on First & 3rd, taking pictures for our social media accounts, or designing materials for Movies in the Park, I was moving myself forward in my career and am excited to find out what’s next! Do you know someone interested in interning at the Rochester Downtown Alliance? Does this person embody the RDA’s Core Values? Please refer them to RDA Community & Events Manager Meghann Southwick for opportunities and details.

BOARD MEMBER APPLICATIONS The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is seeking applications from interested candidates to join its Board of Directors for 2019. Interested candidates should have a direct stake in developing a strong, healthy, and vibrant Downtown. Successful candidates will be chosen based on their expected contribution to the RDA’s purpose, vision, and values. There are significant efforts made to ensure a diverse and representative Board of Directors. The deadline to complete the application is Friday, October 5th. If you are interested, please reach out to Board Development Chair, Angie Richards at Page 13 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM


Our third industry-specific campaign launched in August and focused on all of the service businesses located in Downtown Rochester. Covering more than 100 Downtown businesses, we hope to increase awareness of all the services available Downtown by utilizing multiple marketing mediums such as digital outdoor and skyway billboards, social media, banners, mailed and printed brochures, posters, and more. The campaign will run through the first week in October, as we celebrate National Customer Service Week (October 1 - 5). For this campaign, we partnered with White Space and Inspire, two Downtown businesses, to help with the graphic elements and our catchy tag line, “Checking Off Your ‘To-Do’ List One Block at a Time.” The overall budget for the campaign is $7,000 and is an intentional investment to promote all of the service-orientated businesses within the Special Service District. Page 14



Movies in the Park returned to Central Park for its third year in 2018. This year, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) took a strategic look at opportunities for enhancements to the overall experience. Three movies have lit up the big screen thus far, and this year we added an additional fall date based on public request. We also used public input in deciding to move up the event start time to 7pm, allowing movie-goers to extend their quality time Downtown. It’s an evening filled with food, drinks, and activities, including a special appearance by the RDA’s newest program, Games on the Grass, and a movie under the stars. A notable addition to the event in 2018 is the presence of a Downtown Rochester bar or restaurant serving up a specialized menu for purchase. The RDA was excited to introduce this new opportunity for stakeholders to engage with the community. We have been fortunate to work with Grand Rounds Brewing Company & Restaurant, Francisco’s Cuban Café, The Loop Rochester, and soon, Bleu Duck Kitchen. Menus were inspired by the movie theme and attendees enjoyed everything from a classic burger at The Sandlot to Ruby Roundhouse BBQ Ribs at Jumanji. If you haven’t attended yet this year, it’s not too late! Bring your lawn chair or blanket and join us on September 15 for the showing of “Safe Haven.” Remember, pre-movie activities, along with food and drink for purchase, begin at 7pm and movie begins at 9pm. Thank you to our Presenting Partner, Premier Bank Rochester, for their continued support, as well as our Activities Partner, Charter House. If you would like information on how to get involved in Movies in the Park or other events, please contact RDA Community and Events Manager Meghann Southwick at msouthwick@

Page 15 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM

Featured Stakeholder Series w/Ty Bestor President/CEO of Valor Mechanical


Ty Bestor, owner of Valor Mechanical has been helping build our city for many years. Below is a quick behind-thescene glimpse of his business model and some of the secrets behind his success. What is your favorite thing about Rochester? The continuous change and evolution of Downtown is definitely something I love. Being on the south outskirts of the Downtown area, we’ve got a front-row view of the Page 16

on-going development. We get to see and experience the atmosphere of Downtown change with each new business that comes in and watch current businesses flourish and expand (including our own!). The overall excitement in people and businesses is clearly something that DMC has helped spur. What do you think is the best kept secret about Downtown? Hands down it’s the food.

Being located Downtown means we’re within walking distance of such a wide variety of amazing restaurants. They’re not chains – they’re privately owned with creative chefs and ever-changing menus. What do you think the biggest change will be to Downtown in the next 20 years and what do you look forward to most? I anticipate the biggest change will be the public transit system Downtown, but the


skyline of Downtown is sure to change, too, over time. Some buildings will come down, and new buildings will go up. I look forward to seeing more changes and project development. It’s something we love about the construction business here at Valor Mechanical – constant evolution. Why did you start the company? What inspired you? I had the desire to own a different kind of company – one that separates itself from its competitors, doing business with different standards and ideas. I realize that a lot of businesses may say this in their marketing, but we work hard to live and breathe this mission. I grew up in a small town (and still live there today) and I want my business and my team to operate based on that smalltown mentality that inspires me to be different and serve my clients better.

conveniences of Downtown. entirely on relationships. We don’t advertise much at all. Why is it important to you to We’ve expanded based on be operating from Downtown the requests of our current Rochester? relationships, and get our Our clients and vendors business based on reputation appreciate our centralized and referrals. Our marketing location. We like being near efforts circle around our the hub of commerce and relationship approach and being a part of the hustle reputation with our clients. and bustle of businesses Downtown. It’s motivating. Operating in Downtown, what has it meant for your business? For Valor, our field team travels mostly outside of the Downtown area, but our office is pretty centrally located in the Rochester area making it convenient for them. For our office staff, being Downtown means we have easier access to our colleagues, construction partners, and other businesses. Is there something that would surprise people about your business?

There are a couple things, What has been your most actually. First of all, many memorable moment(s) since businesses claim to put clients first. Now don’t get going into business? me wrong, our clients are Moving our office Downtown extremely important to us, was probably my most but we believe in putting memorable moment. We our employees first. If our took an old, unused space (it employees are happy, they’ll was formerly the Le Bistro treat our clients better and will nightclub) and transformed value their relationships with it into a modern, unique office our clients as well. Secondly, environment near all the we’re a business based

What do your clients appreciate most about you? At Valor Mechanical, the entire team – from the office staff to our service technicians to our field staff – believes in providing real solutions based on the specific needs of our clients. We’re price-conscious, but we value comfort, and longterm benefits for our clients over providing the cheapest, cookie-cutter solution. We always joke about how we wouldn’t suggest anything to a client that we wouldn’t suggest for our own family, and I think Valor’s clients appreciate that. We don’t just see them as our clients, but rather, as family.

Page 17 © 2018 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All rights reserved | 311 S Broadway Ave, Suite A2, Rochester, MN 55904 | DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMN.COM

Mark your Calendars UPCOMING RDA EVENTS

Fall Fest - Saturday, October 6th We’re excited to once again bring the allure of pumpkin patches and apple orchards to Downtown Rochester with our third annual Fall Fest. Join us and thousands of others on the Peace Plaza for free pumpkins, a pumpkin carving contest, a petting zoo, and more family fun! Fall Fest runs from 10am to 2pm. s a t u r d ay

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Peace Plaza PUMPKIN PATCH Petting ZOO




More details at

Here Comes Santa Claus - Friday November 23rd Here Comes Santa Claus is coming back to Downtown Rochester this winter from 4pm to 8:30pm. Santa Claus will spread holiday cheer to the young and old. Cherish the holiday traditions and help save Santa from Old City Hall before heading to the Peace Plaza for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. Don’t miss out on telling Santa what you want for Christmas while you get a photo with him. Full details at

Small Business Saturday - Saturday, November 24th Small Business Saturday is a nationally recognized event created to support local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and preserve neighborhoods across the country. At the Rochester Downtown Alliance, we want to help support our small businesses in Downtown. We will assist in providing Downtown businesses the opportunity to apply for mini event grants to create fun and engaging programming during the day. Mark your calendars and “Shop Small” in Downtown Rochester.



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A Word From Our Staff Karli McElroy, Program Manager On July 9, I celebrated my four-year anniversary at the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA). As I reflect on my time here, I am struck by the change this organization has experienced. I have had the privilege of working alongside individuals who have brought creative ideas and talents to the table. I look forward to the next chapter at the RDA and in Downtown Rochester.

Meghann Southwick, Community and Events Manager What a summer it has been! Time flies when you’re looking forward to Thursday each week, plus all of the other fun events happening in Downtown Rochester! Thursdays on First & 3rd started and ended with a bang, Movies in the Park will conclude on September 15 with Safe Haven (bring your date!), Dogs Downtown was so much doggone fun, and now we’re thinking about celebrating the upcoming season at Fall Fest. Whether you have attended, been our partner, or helped to make an event happen, thank you for your unending support!

Bill Fay Events Coordinator We had rain, we had heat, we had wind, and we also had a fun summer at Thursdays on First & 3rd. It was such a great experience throughout my first summer with the Rochester Downtown Alliance watching the community come together for all the summer events. I look forward to staying a little bit cooler and enjoying our fall events as well. It’ll be great to see the community come together again and again in Downtown Rochester.

Samantha Rossi, Marketing and Communications Manager It is a great time to be part of the Rochester Community; things are changing at a fast-pace and it seems like opportunities for growth are popping up at every street corner. Downtown has increased significantly in vibrancy since I moved back to town about five years ago. I love seeing the transitions and being part of this growing community, not only with my career, but as a Downtown resident. I have also enjoyed hearing from others as they share their story with us for our new #MyDowntownRochMN campaign. It has truly been inspiring and I look forward to sharing more authentic voices.

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September 2018 Newsletter  
September 2018 Newsletter