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March 2019

Community Connections “Powering up business throughout Martin County”

Annual Banquet invites optimism

Inside This Issue Page 2 - Greater Minnesota Initiatives Page 3 - Ag Scholarship Deadline Nears Pages 4 & 5 - Business Briefs Page 5 - Individual Membership Page 6 - Area Career Exploration (ACE) Page 7 - Ambassador Visits Page 7 - Think Local First!

The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce held our 2018 Annual Banquet at the Fairmont Holiday Inn on the evening of Friday, February 22. In attendance were nearly 100 area business and community leaders. The Chamber recapped progress made and achievements realized in 2018 and encouraged members to reach their business goals by utilizing the many benefits available to them as Chamber members. Attendees began the evening with an opportunity for networking during the social hour and were offered the chance to commemorate the event with a photo in front of our Hollywood style backdrop. Dinner was served following brief introductions of the chamber board and

ABOVE: Attendees applaud as the 2018 Business of the Year Award winners are announced during the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on February 22 at the Holiday Inn - Fairmont.

staff. The program continued with an update on chamber committees, initiatives and finances for the fiscal

year 2018. A keynote delivered by Ursula Mentjes, three-time bestselling author, (Continued on page 3)

MCAF accepting grant applications The Martin County Area Foundation is excited to announce the start of its 2019 competitive grant cycle. The Foundation will be accepting applications from eligible organizations now through May 31. It also accepts inquiries year-round for emergencies or high need. Please refer to the grant guidelines and application form at for information. If you have further questions or ideas, please contact the Foundation’s administrative staff at 507235-5547 or any member of their board of directors.

The Martin County Area Foundation is a community endowment founded in 1993 by a group of community residents and established by a matching grant from the Mickelson Foundation. The Martin County Area Foundation is governed by a volunteer board responsible for growing the endowment and selecting grant recipients. Per its mission, the Foundation focuses its giving in five general areas: arts and humanities, community and civic affairs, social and economic growth, environment and youth.

323 East Blue Earth Avenue • Fairmont, MN 56031 • 507-235-5547 • •


M i s s ion St a te me n t : T h e Fairm ont Area Cham ber of Com m erc e is a n a dvo ca te fo r pro mo ting a he a l thy b us ine s s cl im

Board of Directors Officers: Chair Sara Pierce Pierce Accounting and Tax Services

Vice Chair Deb Barnes Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center

Past Chair Les Anderson Martin County Farm Bureau

Treasurer DeAnn Eversman Dee’s Floral & Designs

Board of Directors: Stephanie Busiahn Visit Fairmont Dave Cone Kahler Automation Corporation Brandon Edmundson Krahmer, Shaffer & Edmundson, Ltd

Nicole Gries Valero Renewables


Judy Gustafson U.S. Bank

Teresa Haycraft Fairmont Ford John Kasper Graffiti Corner

Steve Pomerenke Compeer Financial Blake Potthoff Fairmont Opera House, Inc.

Ned Koppen President Kandi Menne Office Manager/Director of Communications

Benjamin Landsteiner Marketing & Social Media Coordinator Miranda Larsen Finance Coordinator

Contact Information:

Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce 323 East Blue Earth Avenue P.O. Box 826 Fairmont, MN 56031 Phone: (507) 235-5547

Greater Minnesota initiatives By: Ned Koppen - Chamber President We at the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce always try and work hard for all of our members and the business community in all of Martin County. We do everything we can to help you gain success and we try and help you understand our efforts and appreciate the benefits. One thing we don’t always talk about and yet it is an important part of the “Chamber” efforts is our support of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. When you support your local Chamber, you are in turn supporting the Minnesota Chamber. The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Minnesota Chamber, which means we support their works and benefit from their efforts. On February 27th, I was able to attend the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce “Business Day at the Capital” in St. Paul. On this day the Minnesota Chamber makes a concerted effort with their members to speak to their legislators and to encourage them to consider the initiatives that the Chamber is pursuing for the best interests of all Minnesota’s businesses large and small. This year’s key initiatives are as follows: Tax Competitiveness – Urging legislators to be selective and strategic on any increases in government spending, use state revenue gains from federal tax reform to improve tax competitiveness, reduce income tax rates and the statewide property tax levy, provide relief for owners who report business income on personal tax returns, Conform Minnesota’s estate tax to the federal threshold, enhance the research-and-development tax credit


and protect against automatic tax inflators. Health Care – Align Minnesota’s health care data privacy laws with federal law, support continued stabilization of the individual market (i.e. reinsurance), Oppose destabilizing expansions of government programs, establish an independent Health Policy Commission to identify ways to lower health care cost, and increase efforts to combat opioid abuse. Workplace Mandates – Ensure consistent statewide laws by explicitly preventing local governments from enacting wage, benefit and scheduling mandates, Op“...every one of pose “one size fits all” labor [the MN Chamber mandates that are unfeasible for the variety of workplaces initiatives] are across Minnesota, and preintended to work serve existing legal standard for claims of hostile workplace in the best interests environment while promoting training. of the Minnesota Transportation – Dedicate business community 100% of sales tax on auto parts to transportation, resolve longin large city metro term metro transit funding areas as well as challenges, require hands-free cell phones while driving, preoutstate small pare for connected and autontowns.” omous vehicles and establish permanent long-term efficiency expectations at Minnesota Department of Transportation. Workforce Development – Expand Business Education Networks through partnerships with local Chambers of Commerce, redirect existing state dollars to fund effective programs that meet the needs of the changing economy and employers and increase access to early learning scholarships that give priority to low-income families to access high-quality programs. That is a long and ambitious list for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to pursue with our legislators and every (Continued on page 7)

ma te by faci l i t a t i n g a c ce s s to le a d e rs , co mm unic ation and educ ation t hrough programs a nd s e r v ice s fo r its me mb e r s .

Annual Banquet invites optimism

award winning entrepreneur and sales expert, invited participants to enter “The Belief Zone” and envision greater things for themselves, their businesses and the community. She walked the audience through her 7 step process to make more money, give back to organizations you care about, and live an authentic life. Ursula encouraged attendees to let go of limiting beliefs, step out of their comfort zone and develop key habits to help them achieve their true personal and business potential. As the evening drew to a close, the Fairmont Area Chamber announced the winners of the 2018 Business of the Year Awards. Award winners were recognized for setting a standard of excellence and innovation in business practice and community involvement. Awards were given for Large Business, Small Business, New Business (Rising Star), and Non-Profit of the year. We would like to thank Hy-Vee (Fairmont), JL Computers, MRCI and United Hospital District for sponsoring our 2018 Annual Banquet.


(Continued from page 1)


Valero Renewables (Welcome, MN)

Graffiti Corner Frozen Treat & Coffee Lounge



Culligan Water Conditioning

Martin County Historical Society

$4200 Ag Scholarship deadline nears In partnership with the Agriculture Future of America (AFA), the Agri-Business Committee of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce is offering two $4,200 scholarships, which includes registration for the Fall 2019 AFA Leaders Conference. Graduating Seniors of Martin

County high schools who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in an area of study relating to agriculture may apply. To be considered for a scholarship, please visit The Martin County application deadline is March 13, 2019.

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Email: Mon 8-8; Tues through Fri 8-5:30; Sat 8-3


If you have any questions about the scholarship, please contact Ned at president@ or call 507-235-5547. Questions regarding the online application can be directed to Johnna Wallingford on AFA staff at

Vision Statement: The Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce will b

Chamber member business briefs Martin County Historical Society (507) 235-5178 The release of Lenny Tvedten’s book, Tales of Martin County’s Past, was kicked off with a book signing and open house at the Pioneer Museum on February 21. About 75 people came with some coming from as far as Bancroft, Iowa. Tvedten, the executive director of the Martin County Historical Society, has been writing columns on local history for over 15 years. This book is a culmination of more than 200 of those columns. The publication of Tales of Martin County’s Past was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The book is available for $20 at the Pioneer Museum and can be shipped in the continental United States for $5. The book is also available on Amazon. For more information, call the museum at 507-235-5178 or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Fairmont Opera House, Inc. (507) 238-4900 WE Banjo 3 finds common ground between old world tradition and authentic Americana by playing their banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin in an innovation fusion of styles that they dub "Celt-grass" come enjoy this show on March 9th at 7:30PM. March 30th at 7:30PM we will be bringing in our biggest show of the year! One Night in Memphis created and directed by John Mueller is the number one official tribute to legendary Sun Records recording artists Perkins, Cash, Lewis, and Presley performed live and starring former cast members of the Broadway smash, "Million Dollar Quartet."

Red Rock Center for the Arts (507) 235-9262 Due North, a cappella group is coming to the Red Rock Center Sat., March 16 at 7pm. Due North thrives to leave its own footprint on the genre while bringing a family fun atmosphere to each and every performance. From the inter-webs, to the city streets, to the stage, Due North will bring a refreshing taste to the music you know and love, while adding new songs to file away in your personal playlist. Advance tickets on sale now at Hy-Vee or at the door night of the concert.

Sweet Financial Services (507) 235-5587 For the SECOND year in a row! Raymond James Financial Services announced that their very own Bryan Sweet, ChFC® of Sweet Financial Services has been ranked on the Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisor list for the state of Minnesota! He is the only firm outside any metro area to make this list and is ranked #6. Burtis Chiropractic Center Please check out the list here: (507) 235-5551 Dr. Scott Burtis of Burtis Chiropractic has reKahler Automation cently completed additional training to further (507) 235-6648 complement his recent Certification as a FuncOver 17 days during the months of January tional Medicine Practitioner. Recent Post-Grad training included classes in and February, Kahler Automation hosted a series of all-day advanced train- “inflammation & Nutraceuticals”, “Gut and Microbial Health”, the latest in coning sessions for customers seeking in-depth knowledge of our bulk material cussion protocol treatment, and “Nutrition Approaches for Optimal Athletic handling software. A total of 161 participants travelled to Fairmont from 14 Performance”. Dr. Burtis is available for consultation on these topics and is states across the country, patronizing local hotels, restaurants and gas sta- currently accepting a limited number of new patients. Services include functions. We host two series of classes — one in winter, one in late summer — to tional medicine blood draws for thyroid and hormonal health as well as genhelp our customers make the most of their Kahler Automation systems, and eral wellness. For more information please call (507) 235-5551. we’re happy to share our community with them! Interlaken Heritage Days (507) 848-4664 AdMfg, Inc. The Interlaken Heritage Days committee has some fun(507) 238-1243 draising events coming up in the next couple of months. At AdMfg, we are looking forward to spring! As we finish Holy Hotdish will begin in April; watch the papers for the the snow season and complete our tax season, it is time weekly schedule and menu! If your organization would like to get on track with your business! It is easy to not tend to to participate in Holy Hotdish there’s still room! The Little & the details of your business when so many other things deJunior Miss and Mister sign-ups will begin during the Family Fun Fair on March mands your time; and planning and marketing tend to take a back seat. We are ready to help you bring your business, product or service 29th. This will NOT be a talent competition! On April 27th we will be hosting our to the next level. CREATIVE – DESIGN – PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS – DECO- annual Spring Craft & Vendor Show as well as crowning the Little & Junior Miss RATED APPAREL – WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT – SOCIAL MEDIA – Call or stop and Mister at Five Lakes Centre. For more information on all of these events, or to register, visit the Forms tab of our website by today, we are ready for SPRING!

e r e c o g n i z e d a s t h e l e a d e r i n a s s i s t i n g a r e a b u s i n e s s e s t o p r o s p e r.

Chamber member business briefs Edward Jones Investments - Mandi Kosbab (507) 235-8524 - Member SIPC Time for Some Financial Spring Cleaning. Spring is here – which means it’s time for some spring cleaning. This year, in addition to tidying up your surroundings, you may also want to clean up your financial environment – and some of the same moves may apply. For starters, get rid of the “clutter” you may find in your investment portfolio. If you have too many of the same type of investments, consider selling some and using the proceeds to buy others that may help fill out your portfolio. Also, just as you may find new uses for existing items when you’re sprucing up your home, you might be able to “repurpose” some of your investments. For example, if you are taking stock dividends in cash, consider reinvesting them to increase the shares you own. Finally, spring cleaning also gives you a chance to establish new habits to avoid future problems. As an investor, you can also develop some positive habits, such as “paying yourself first” by investing regularly each month. Doing some financial spring cleaning today can help improve your prospects for achieving your important goals tomorrow.

Pierce Accounting and Tax Services (507) 238-4304 Erin Farland is the most recent addition to our accounting team at Pierce Accounting and Tax Services. She has been working in accounting and finance roles since 2000. Erin works with individuals and businesses with tax preparation, accounting, Quickbooks/Peachtree software, budgeting, cash forecasting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, overhead computations, employee benefit plans, and payroll. She has experience in both the for-profit and non-for profit areas of business. Specifically, has worked with tax exempt organizations, single owner for- profit businesses, and HUD properties. Erin has over 18 years’ experience in accounting and finance in the healthcare industry. She is also very familiar with those in agriculture, as her and her husband are grain farmers and raise hogs. Her education background includes an Associate of Applied Science degree in Accounting/Finance from Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, IA. She then completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Florida Metropolitan University and took additional courses in Human Resources. Due to her experience in the healthcare industry, she also pursued education in Health Care Administration and took the courses needed to become a licensed nursing home administrator from the St. Joseph’s College of Maine. Her next pursuit is to complete the courses needed to sit for her CPA exam. Erin and her husband Ryan are the proud parents of two children, their daughter Kayla and their son Wyatt. Rounding out their family are their two white Labrador retrievers, Ellie and Charlie. Erin enjoys a very busy life which includes taking care of their acreage, gardening, reading, baking, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys vacationing at the North Shore in Northern Minnesota.


Century 21 - Gillian Tunnell (507) 399-9211 Thinking of retirement and wondering how to make the $$$ stretch further? One way is to downsize to a smaller home! This could reduce some of your expenses and you may even have some cash left over from the sale of your present home. For example, your utilities and property taxes may be lower, and you perhaps would make less purchases for your home if you had less space. Another advantage of moving for retirement would be that you can either choose a home that is amenable to disabilities, or have the home fitted while you are still able, and before it may become a necessity. As a Seniors Residential Specialist, I would be happy to help you find your new home.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont (507) 238-8100 Mayo Clinic Health System begins mallwalking perks program. Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont has launched a new program, “Mayo Clinic Mile at Five Lakes Centre,” which encourages area residents to walk at the mall and earn perks based on completed miles. Cards are available at the mall to track miles, and those who walk 25 miles in one month can earn a free T-shirt. The climate-controlled environment makes exercise easier during the winter months. Distance markers help walkers track their progress. Mall-walking hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 507-238-8177.

Yes, you can join the Chamber!




Please return this form to the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce: 323 E. Blue Earth Ave | PO Box 826 | Fairmont, MN 56031 Call 507-235-5547 or email with any questions regarding this form or individual chamber membership.

“Business Briefs” is a complimentary service provided by the Chamber for chamber members. Please limit your information to one paragraph of about 100 words. Example: expansion, new employees, awards, monumental anniversary, etc… A photo or logo can be included. NO Direct Advertising.

Core Values: We value for our members, employees and community: integrity in all we do, collaboration with all our stakeholders, growth and develop

Chamber Events

Wednesday, March 13th - 6:00 p.m. Bureau 14 Meeting Tuesday, March 19th - 6:00 p.m. Agri-Business Meeting

Area Career Exploration (ACE)


Wednesday, March 20th - 3:00 p.m. Ambassadors Meeting / Ribbon Cuttings Thursday, March 21st - 4:00 p.m. Young Professionals Network Tuesday, March 26th - 9:00 a.m. Social Media Breakfast (See Pg. 8)

Wednesday, April 3rd - 7:30 a.m. Leadership Martin County Wednesday, April 10th Area Career Exploration (ACE)


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Eleven years ago, a collaboration between the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Center, ISEEK, and other area individuals, resulted in an event that attracts more than 600 high school sophomores from 12 area schools. The mission is to raise awareness of career and job options in the area so students are knowledgeable about the opportunities awaiting them here upon graduation. The Area Career Exploration (ACE) is scheduled for April 10th at Fairmont Jr/Sr High School Gym. Representatives from nearly 100 area businesses and colleges are invited to showcase job and career opportunities at this free event. Students have the opportunity to

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visit with them and participate in a live Career Gameshow in the Performing Arts Center. A resource guide is given to each attending sophomore. Parents are encouraged to look through this guide with their student and discuss available opportunities prior to ACE. Special thanks to the many volunteers and funding partners who make this event possible: Bank Midwest, Fairmont EDA, Fareway, First Farmers & Merchants Bank, Hy-Vee, Martin County IGNITE, Martin County Youth Foundation, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, SW/WC Service Cooperation (Perkins Grant), United Hospital District. Call the Chamber office at 507-235-5547 if you would like to volunteer on April 10 or make a donation.

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pment for our members, recognition of accomplishments, effective communication, and doing all things efficiently and in a fiscally responsible manner.

Ambassadors recognize achievement


Chamber Ambassadors welcome Travis Kanalas, new store manager of Chamber member Napa Auto Parts in Fairmont.


Ambassadors commemorate the publishing of "Tales of Martin County's Past" by Lenny Tvedten, Executive Director of Chamber member Martin County Historical Society.

Greater initiatives one of those things are intended to work in the best interests of the Minnesota business community in large city metro areas as well as outstate small towns. They are an educated, talented and dedicated group that works on your behalf at the state level all of the time. They are able to do that because you support your local Chamber who in turn supports the state Chamber. That amounts to, many of us working together to make a difference in how

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Ambassadors congratulate owners Steve and Tina Jette of Chamber member Bean Town Grill on their recently completed restaurant remodel.

(Continued from page 2)

successful we all are. If you want to know more about the work the Minnesota Chamber is doing working with the legislature or where things stand on those ongoing efforts you can visit I am excited and believe there will be good things in store for all of our communities in Martin County in the coming year. Your local Chamber and the Minnesota Chamber will do everything we can to make sure that happens for all of us.


DID YOU KNOW? Studies show that locally owned businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty.

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March programs at CER The 34th Annual Family Fun Fair will be held on Friday, March 29, at the Fairmont Elementary School, 4:30-7:30 pm. Learn about the numerous organizations and services available to families through creative, hands-on activities provided by each exhibitor. Brian Richards will present two interactive performances of his ACME Magic Factory featuring magic, humor and fun for children and families of all ages. Remarkable Reptiles will bring several live reptiles (all harmless) including a friendly boa constrictor and assorted artifacts. Admission fee is $8 per family for a full evening of family fun. Special thanks to the local dentists who conducted “Give Kids A Smile Day” on February 2 at the Fairmont Family Dentistry as part of February Dental Health Month and the Martin County Early Childhood Dental Network. Watch for the new CER Spring/Summer Catalog of opportunities for all ages in the mail around March 22. Catalogs will also be available at the CER Office, Family Fun Fair on March 29, grocery stores, restaurants, Martin County Library and other community sites.

For an up-to-date list of activities or to register online with your MasterCard/Visa, visit the CER Web Store at and click on the CER tab.


A SAMPLING OF UPCOMING ACTIVITIES Open Pickleball (1:45 pm-3 pm) Open Volleyball (7-9 pm) Over 55 Defensive Driving Refresher Microsoft Word Basic Cake Decorating Youth Firearm Safety Training CER Spring/Summer Catalog Mailout Microsoft PowerPoint Basic Family Fun Fair Dog Obedience Instant Pot

…and much more!

For more information, contact the CER office located in the Fairmont Elementary School Door 15A, 714 Victoria Street, Fairmont Call 507-235-3141 or Email

Generating a Buzz - March 26th Sarah Warmka SMB IN STRUCTOR

The next Social Media Breakfast will be held from 9 am to 10 am, March 26 at the Southern Minnesota Educational Campus, 115 S. Park St., in Fairmont. Could your brand visibility get a boost by

integrating traditional media channels with your digital strategy? This month's Social Media Breakfast features instructor Sarah Warmka of New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, offering tips and best practices on how to combine social, web and traditional media to amplify your content! Join us and learn how leveraging traditional media channels can help you grow your reach and enhance your digital marketing strategy.

Visit our website at to register for this event or to find out how you can sponsor a future event. Fairmont Area Social Media Breakfast is sponsored this month by United Hospital District and made possible in part by a technology grant from the Blandin Foundation. VISION CARE CONTACT LENS

Paul Seibert, O.D.

Tuesdays Tuesdays March 13 March 20 March 21 March 21 March 22 March 27 March 29 April 2 April 9

James Busche, O.D.

1307 ALBION AVE., SUITE 102 FAIRMONT, MN PH: (507) 238-4228

Spencer Seibert, O.D. 111 E. 6TH ST. BLUE EARTH, MN PH: (507) 526-2020

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