Advantage Magazine | March 2023

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Advertising Information: Brent
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Advantage Information and Questions: Sophia

Chamber President

Ryan Parsons


Public Affairs & Leadership Development Director

Jonathon Krull 507-424-5677


Development Director Brent Ackerman


Membership Director Kali Aldrich 507-424-5665

Communications & Design Director Sophia van Oss 507-424-5661

Director of Operations Cheryl Krage

Membership Director Tim Shea


Events & Program Director Ally Sheehan 507-424-5687

Administrative Assistant Cherie Thurlow 507-288-1122


Chair of the Board Treasurer John Eckerman

RSP Architects

Vice Chair Scott Eggert Broadway Plaza

At Large Steve Dunn

Taco JED


Jessica Eidem

IBM Corporation

Secretary Dr. Christine Beech Copiavia

Santhi Arunachalam

Chad Behnken

Christy Blade

Dr. Jeffrey Boyd

Dr. Lori Carrell

Heather Donovan

Xylo Technologies Inc.

Jarett Jones

Merchants Bank

Doug Holtan


Rochester Community & Tech. College

Hamilton Real Estate University of Minnesota - Rochester

Sterling State Bank

Abel Garcia Mayo Clinic

Remodeling D.L, LLC

Marge Kelley

Omar Nur

Sylwia Bujak Oliver

David Pederson

Jack Priggen

Nikki Mensing

Gwen Stevens

Gillette Pepsi of Rochester

125 Live Somali American Social Service Assoc.

Dunlap & Seeger, P.A.

Cardinal of MN, LTD.

Olmsted Medical Center

People’s Energy Cooperative

The Chamber promotes business success which supports a thriving community.



collaborative climate.

Advantage Magazine | 3 March 2023 Chamber Advantage USPS 446-900 is published monthly by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce at 220 S Broadway Ste 100 | Rochester, MN 55904 | Phone: 507-288-1122 Periodical Postage paid at Rochester, Minnesota | Annual Subscription: $20 (free to Chamber members) | John Eckerman, Chair of the Board | Editor: Sophia van Oss Postmaster: Send address changes to: Chamber Advantage, 220 S Broadway Ste 100, Rochester, MN 55904 or email: VISION
businesses are
to succeed in a diverse and


Rochester has been fortunate to be home to several organizations that support the community in a myriad of ways. Two such organizations, the Rochester Area Foundation and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, are leading the charge in enhancing the Rochester region by supporting both individuals, organizations and businesses.

According to Jennifer Woodford, president of the Rochester Area Foundation (RAF), the organization has a rich history of putting philanthropy into action in the Rochester community.

“Initially created as a community chest in 1944 to support families experiencing poverty, we have been fluid and flexible to meet the ever-changing needs of our region,” Woodford says. “The Foundation’s vision is to build better communities for all, and as the leading philanthropic nonprofit in the area, we accomplish this by hosting charitable funds for individuals, families, and businesses.”

In 2022, over $4 million was invested in the Rochester community through RAF. Yearly, the organization invests in area nonprofit organizations by awarding over $200,000 in competitive grant awards that support positive impact within our community.

“Additionally, we facilitate a scholarship program for students, distributing over $80,000 in educational support,” Woodford says. “The Foundation is honored to steward over $44 million in assets for charitable purposes.”

Another way in which RAF impacts the community is through the creation and preservation of affordable housing. As Woodford explains, First Homes, an entity within the Foundation family, activates a Community Land Trust (CLT) model to provide affordable, safe homes to families within the Rochester region. Currently, there are 240 homes within the program.

So how does it work? “Income-eligible clients purchase a CLT home with a traditional mortgage, and First Homes provides a subsidy for the purchase in maintaining ownership of the land,” Woodford says. “This provides affordability for the purchaser, as well as the ability to build wealth through homeownership.”

Rochester Title & Minnesota Secured Title has been working with the Rochester Area Foundation’s First Homes program since 2019 by assisting them with purchases and sales of properties in the Community Land Trust, and by handling construction loan disbursements for First Homes’ new construction projects.

| Advantage Magazine 4 March 2023 Feature F

The Foundation’s vision is to build better communities for all, and as the leading philanthropic nonprofit in the area, we accomplish this by hosting charitable funds for individuals, families, and businesses.

Advantage Magazine | 5 March 2023 Feature F
First Homes activates a Community Land Trust (CLT) model to provide affordable, safe homes to families within the Rochester region.

“By making homes available for low income home buyers, First Homes is addressing a vital need for affordable housing in our area,” says Sara Batzlaff, president of Rochester Title & Minnesota Secured Title. “Because First Homes often rehabilitates houses that are in need of repair before making them available to qualified buyers, the entire community benefits from improved housing stock that is designed to require little upfront maintenance by the home owner. New construction homes in the program add to the inventory of affordable housing. In either case, a property often stays in the program even after the current homeowner sells it, offering continuing benefits to individuals and families with lower incomes as well as to the community at large.”

Rochester Area Foundation is also a leader in convening stakeholders and thought leaders around opportunities within the community. As a partner in several community initiatives including Cradle to Career, Nonprofit Consortium, and the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing, RAF provides not only expertise, but fiscal oversight, as well as opportunities to bring diverse voices together to create successful outcomes.

“The Foundation partners with the business community as a philanthropic partner, providing a vehicle for community charitable investments, and by being a liaison between the nonprofit sector and business sector,” Woodford says. “We are proud of the diversity within our community work, from affordable housing to charitable giving, and we regularly engage our business partners in our work of building better communities for all. We are grateful for the gift of time and talents from our volunteer leadership, many of whom are leaders from the business community.”

Looking ahead, the Rochester Area Foundation Board of Trustees and staff will continue to support putting philanthropy into action to invest resources in the community. “Charitable giving through the Foundation provides direct service to nonprofit organizations the opportunity to improve outcomes for families and individuals throughout our community,” Woodford says.

| Advantage Magazine 6 March 2023 Feature F
RAF has a rich history of putting philanthropy into action in the Rochester community. Jennifer Woodford, president of the Rochester Area Foundation.

SMIF provides loans for new and emerging businesses including GoRout, a software company in Rochester.

Beyond directly working with individual entrepreneurs, SMIF supports the business community as a whole by providing economic development and community vitality grants to communities.

Far-Reaching Support

As a donor-supported foundation, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. Since 1986, SMIF has invested more than $154 million in the region.

According to Tim Penny, president and CEO of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, SMIF’s key interests include economic and early childhood development and community vitality. SMIF’s programming includes grantmaking, lending, trainings and more.

“We provide many annual grant programs that support these three areas of economic development, early childhood, and community vitality,” Penny says. “In addition to direct funding for projects in these areas, SMIF also annually distributes free paint for small town beautification projects and thousands of books to dozens of organizations for early childhood reading programs. SMIF also provides loans for new and emerging businesses as well as training programs that support entrepreneurs, early childhood professionals and community leaders. In all, SMIF has invested $154 million in the twentycounty region since 1986.”

In Olmsted County alone, SMIF has provided 82 loans to businesses, investing $3.3 million to entrepreneurs in the county. SMIF has also provided 918 grants, investing $8.3 million through our grantmaking. An additional $12.8 million has been invested in Olmsted County through other programming and community initiatives.

As Penny explains, some of the Rochester area businesses enrolled in SMIF’s Prosperity Initiative program (a program providing mentoring and technical assistance to new immigrant and minority owned businesses) include LMS Boutique, RANAS Breakthrough Counseling, Salient Oils and Merge Food Truck.

“In response to COVID-related closures and restrictions, many businesses experienced financial losses,” Penny says. “The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (with

Advantage Magazine | 7 March 2023 Feature F

federal dollars) contracted with SMIF to distribute Small Business Relief Grants. SMIF dispersed over 2,000 grants totaling over $20 million dollars. In Olmsted County, 317 businesses received $3.3 million from these Small Business Relief Grants.”

SMIF has issued 781 loans to 587 businesses in the twenty-county region, totaling more than $37 million in loan and equity investments. These financial investments have helped create more

than 5,000 jobs. SMIF also serves more than 1,700 entrepreneurs annually through free training opportunities in addition to the organization’s lending services.

“Beyond directly working with individual entrepreneurs, SMIF supports the business community as a whole by providing economic development and community vitality grants to communities that support a wide range of activities,” Penny says. “SMIF also supports many early childhood initiatives, in part, because we know that investing in our youngest generation is a smart long-term investment in the future of our region by preparing them to be the workers, entrepreneurs and leaders of the future.”

Among the SMIF programs that have impacted entrepreneurs are The Prosperity Initiative which supports minority entrepreneurs by pairing them with a business coach, the Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program which assists small towns with economic development planning, the FEAST! Local Foods Network which supports food and farming entrepreneurs, and a business competition which celebrates the best business ideas emanating from the Rochester region, including young entrepreneurs from nearby college campuses.

“At the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation our motto is collaborating for regional vitality, and we do our best to live up to that commitment. In each area of our work – early childhood, entrepreneurship, and community vitality, we are mindful of partners in the state and region with whom we can collaborate to make a difference,” Penny says. “We view our role as a supplement and a compliment to what other organizations are doing to enhance our region. We see a bright future for southern Minnesota as exciting new businesses emerge and as more people choose rural for both a higher quality of life and a lower cost of living. SMIF is proud to be engaged with regional partners to create that bright future.”

| Advantage Magazine 8 March 2023 Feature F
SMIF provided two loans to support Squash Blossom Farm, an Oronoco farm destination with wood fired pizza and music. Tim Penny, president and CEO of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.


| Advantage Magazine 10 March 2023 Meet the Member M

What does Sriracha, carmel apple, and bacon cheddar all have in common? They are part of the over 70 different rotating flavors of popcorn that you can find freshly made downton Rochester at Popus Gourmet Popcorn. To learn more about this popping business, we spoke with D’Angelo Tines at Popus Gourmet Popcorn.

Q: Tell us about Popus Gourmet Popcorn. What does your company offer to the Rochester region?

A: Popus Gourmet Popcorn is an awardwinning and family-owned popcorn brand. All of our popcorn is handcrafted in small batches using the finest ingredients. Our popcorn is made fresh daily with no preservatives.

Q: How did it start for Popus Gourmet Popcorn?

A: Popus Gourmet Popcorn was originally founded in Joliet, Illinois in 2017. It was founded by Walter and Leanne Dean who are related to the Owners of the Rochester location, the Tines family. The Tines family decided to open a Rochester location because we are Rochester locals and wanted to share this experience with our hometown. We wanted to offer a true popcorn experience by offering a variety of flavors with unlimited samples and excellent customer service.

Q: Popus Gourmet Popcorn became a member of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce last year. What do you find valuable in your membership to the organization?

A: After joining the Chamber, we found out quickly how willing the Chamber is to go above and beyond for its members. The chamber extended its network of contacts to us and helped us make our dreams a reality. We can’t thank Brent Ackerman and the Chamber team enough for welcoming us with open arms.

Q: What is a unique fact people should know about Popus Gourmet Popcorn

A: We have over 70 different flavors of popcorn we can make. Although not all 70 flavors are out every day, we at least have 25 flavors available at all times.

Q: What is the outlook for your business and industry?

A: We have a positive outlook for both our business and industry. We think the Rochester downtown area is poised for a major comeback post-covid, and we are excited to see what’s to come. Popcorn is one of America’s favorite and oldest snacks. Popcorn will be around forever, it is up to us to find creative ways to keep adding on to our customer’s experience.

To learn more about Popus Gourmet Popcorn, visit them online at

Advantage Magazine | 11 March 2023
Meet the Member M


Since 1987, this program has propelled leaders in the community to further be inspired, connected and enlightened. The over 1,000 alumni who have graduated from LGR have gone on to serve in various civic, community, and business leadership positions. The LGR network stretches across the community, present in almost every sector.

Applications will open on Friday, March 24th for the 2023-2024 Leadership Greater Rochester class. The applications close on May 26.

Leadership Greater Rochester is the Chamber’s premier leadership development program.

This 10-month program immerses three dozen leaders in sessions examining everything from economic development and the local arts scene, to workforce development and building a sustainable community. Through enriching conversations, behind-the-scenes tours, and work on the Community Impact Project, the LGR experience builds lifelong relationships and provides opportunities for business and community leaders to shape and contribute to the fabric of the greater Rochester area.

| Advantage Magazine 12 March 2023 Chamber News C


If you would like to set up a phone call, in person meeting, or zoom call with Ally Sheehan to learn more about events and programs, please connect with her at or 507-424-5687 to learn more.

On behalf of the Chamber team we want to thank you for your involvement and support!

Sponsorship opportunities available in 2023:

• Legislative Update – Silver Sponsor

• Annual Golf Outing – Birdie Sponsor

• Chamber Weekend Kickoff – Presenting Sponsor

The Chamber Resource Campaign (CRC) is the Chambers resource for sponsorship opportunities. This resource provides an efficient platform to plan your engagement in Rochester Chamber events, programs, and more throughout 2023.

• Kickball Tournament – Base Sponsor

View the Chamber Resource Campaign at:

At TSP, YOU OWN IT. Like really own it, as an owner of the company in our supportive, employee-owned environment that respects your work-life balance and truly puts you first. Join the Team at TSP, where integrated design is a way of life, not just a way to make a living.

| Advantage Magazine 14 March 2023 Chamber News C

AM Espresso is a monthly Networking PLUS event brought to you by the Chamber. Come join fellow Chamber and community members to expand your network, promote your business, and enjoy delicious breakfast refreshments. We believe there is value for all in building a supportive business community. As the local economy shifts towards recovery, it is more important than ever to interact with each other to share ideas and best practices.

This month, join us at American Waterworks! When it comes to water in your basement or a faulty foundation, you need an expert to ensure the damage is reversed and prevented from occurring in the future. American Waterworks has several decades of experience in the basement waterproofing and foundation repair industries, and we know the best tools and techniques to see your home through its troubles.

Date: Friday, March 3, 2023 Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: American Waterworks, 1307 Valleyhigh Dr NW, Rochester

Admission: Free, registration requested

Join us for Business after Hours (BAH), a monthly networking function which brings professionals together to network and build valuable business relationships. Enjoy delicious food and drinks while connecting with a variety of businesses and organizations operating in the greater Rochester area. This event is a great opportunity to increase your organization’s visibility and generate productive business leads.

Come and connect, expand your network, and build community at Bolton & Menk! Thanks to the solid foundation built by John and Martin, Bolton & Menk’s core values remain the same today. They believe that all people should live in safe, sustainable, and beautiful communities – it’s why they get out of bed in the morning.

Date: Thursday, March 16 , 2023

Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm Location: Bolton & Menk, 2900 43rd St NW #100, Rochester

Admission: Free, registration requested

Advantage Magazine | 15 March 2023
hosted by
Chamber News C
hosted by

Are you looking to hire new employees and build your staff base, but aren’t quite sure what that process looks like? Join the Chamber team, SmartHR, Café Steam, and Kwik Trip for our next Business Development Exchange (BDX) highlighting human resources and hiring best practices. Door prizes, refreshments, and snacks will be provided.


• Human resources overview: Valerie Folk, HR and Benefits Manager, Smart-HR

• Creating position descriptions and interview experience based questions: Will Forsman, General Manager, Café Steam

• Interview questions, identifying the right candidates, and onboarding: Johnathon Degner, Retail Management Recruiter, Kwik Trip

• Q & A

• Door prizes

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm

Location: Rochester Chamber Conference Room

200 Broadway Ave S Suite 10, Rochester

Admission: Free for members, $10 for general admission, registration required

Register here:



AM Espresso is a monthly Networking PLUS event brought to you by the Chamber. Come join fellow Chamber and community members to expand your network, promote your business, and enjoy delicious breakfast refreshments. We believe there is value for all in building a supportive business community. As the local economy shifts towards recovery, it is more important than ever to interact with each other to share ideas and best practices.

This month, join us at 125 LIVE! 125 LIVE is a social and fitness facility for anyone 18 years and older. They provide a wide variety of physical, social, and intellectual opportunities to engage our community’s minds and bodies. Through extensive programming, fitness amenities, gathering spaces, and personal health resources, 125 LIVE provides opportunities for all adults to embark on their journey to “aging successfully.”

Date: Friday, April 14, 2023

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: 125 LIVE, 125 Elton Hills Dr. NW, Rochester

Admission: Free, registration requested

Register here:

| Advantage Magazine 16 March 2023
Chamber News C


Connect about the legislative session and issues that are impacting area businesses.

The annual Legislative Update highlights the current Minnesota legislative session and the issues that are impacting area businesses and organizations. Featuring regional legislators Senator Boldon, Senator Nelson, Representative Jacob, and Representative Smith as panelists, and Commissioner Daubenberger of MNDOT delivering remarks, this event connects Chamber members directly with the decision makers in St. Paul for information and discussion on the legislative session.


Legislative Panel Discussion

Moderator – Jon Olson, Vice President of University Advancement, Winona State University

• Senator Liz Boldon, District 25

• Senator Carla Nelson, District 24

• Representative Steven Jacob, District 20B

• Representative Andy Smith, District 25B

Legislative Update: Minnesota Department of Transportation – Legislative Perspective, Priorities, and Outlook

• Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger, Minnesota Department of Transportation

*Additional panelists to be announced. Agenda subject to change.

Register here:

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Time: 11:30am-1:00pm

Location: The Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area, 10 E Center St., Rochester

Admission: $40 for members, $50 for general admission, registration required


Presenting Sponsors:

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsor:


Table Sponsors:

Bolton & Menk| Charter Communications | EVEN Hotels

Hawkins Ash CPAs | PossAbilities | Reagan Outdoor Advertising

Rochester Community and Technical College

Rochester Motor Cars | RSP Architects | Wells Fargo

Advantage Magazine | 17 March 2023 Chamber News C


Help us empower today’s youth to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs!


Main Squeeze Sponsor:


Lemonade Day is a free, fun, experiential learning program that teaches local youth entrepreneurial and life skills as they learn how to start their very own business. Learn how to develop a business and experience all the aspects of developing and maintaining a business such as creating a product, establishing a budget, designing a marketing plan, and so much more!

The foremost objective of Lemonade Day is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society – the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers, and forward thinking citizens of tomorrow.

Each child that registers receives access to the Lemonade Day curriculum that teaches them lessons like creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors, and giving back to the community. Along the way, they acquire skills in goal-setting, problem solving, and gain self-esteem critical for future success. They keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, save some and share some.

Date: Saturday, June 10, 2023

Location: Rochester, MN

Admission: Free, registration required

Register here:

Fresh Squeeze Sponsor:

Lemon Drop Sponsor:

Radio Media Sponsor:

Lemon Twist Sponsor:

Chip Shots

Home Federal Savings Bank

People’s Energy Cooperative

People’s Food Co-op

Rochester Women Magazine Sylvan Learning of Rochester

| Advantage Magazine 18 March 2023
Chamber News C


Thank you to all who joined us at Economic Summit! We greatly appreciate our panelists, the University of Minnesota Extension team, and our featured keynote speaker, Bernard Baumohl, for their insights on the economy.

Some takeaways from Economic Summit:

• Sales increased year over year in the Business Outlook Survey results.

• Bernard predicts the demand for labor will continue to outstrip supply. He said the pace of hiring in 2022 was the second fastest in history.

• Bernard also said that even though we had two quarters of no growth that it doesn’t mean a recession.

• Small Business & Entrepreneur panelists are projecting a good year. Some barriers they see include inflation, brand awareness, finding and retaining the right employees.

• Industry panelists also commented on the challenges with inflation along with supply chain issues. They find that while benefits are a great way to retain employees, culture also plays a huge role.

Read the Business Outlook Survey Results:


Gold Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:

Minnesota Energy Resources

People’s Energy Cooperative

Table Sponsors:

Altra Federal Credit Union | Benike Construction

Hawkins Ash CPAs | Home Federal Savings Bank

ISG | Loam Commercial Real Estate | MBT Bank

Minnwest Bank | ONB Bank | Premier Bank Minnesota

Rochester Motor Cars | Rochester Public Utilities

RSP Architects | SEH | Think Bank | Wells Fargo Bank

Advantage Magazine | 19 March 2023
Chamber News C
Presentation of the Chamber’s Business Outlook Survey and discussions with industry, small business and entrepreneurs were featured.



02 Annual Celebration

Date: Thursday, March 2

Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm Location: Mayo Civic Center

$90 for general, $70 for members

Registration required

03 AM EspressoAmerican Waterworks

Date: Friday, March 3 Time: 7:30am-9:00am Location: American Waterworks FREE - Registration requested

08 Business Development Exchange - HR & Hiring

Date: Wednesday, March 8 Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room FREE - Registration required

09 Hospitality 1st Roundtable

Date: Thursday, March 9 Time: 9:30am-11:00am Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

FREE - Registration required

14 HF100/SF73 Info Session

Date: Tuesday, March 14 Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm Location: Saint Mary’s UniversityRochester Campus

FREE - Registration required

16 WE ForumPanel Discussion

Date: Thursday, March 16

Time: 8:00am-9:00am Location: Saint Mary’s UniversityRochester Campus FREE - Registration required

16 Business After HoursBolton & Menk

Date: Thursday, March 16

Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm

Location: Bolton & Menk

FREE - Registration requested

17 Women’s Roundtable

Date: Friday, March 17

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

FREE - Registration required


05 Legislative Update

Date: Wednesday, April 5

Time: 11:30am-1:00pm

Location: Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area

$50 for general, $40 for members

Registration required

14 AM Espresso - 125 LIVE

Date: Friday, April 14

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: 125 LIVE

FREE - Registration requested

20 WE Forum - Workshop

Date: Thursday, April 20

Time: 11:30am-1:00pm

Location: Saint Mary’s UniversityRochester Campus

FREE - Registration required for lunch

21 Women’s Roundtable

Date: Friday, April 21

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

FREE - Registration required

27 Hospitality 1st Roundtable

Date: Thursday, April 27

Time: 9:30am-11:00am

Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

FREE - Registration required

27 2023 Workforce Development Forum

Date: Thursday, April 27

Time: 11:30am-4:30pm

Location: Rochester International Event Center

FREE - Registration required


14 AM EspressoNorth Rock Real Estate

Date: Friday, May 5

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: North Rock Real Estate

FREE - Registration requested

18 Business After HoursHaley Comfort Systems

Date: Thursday, May 18

Time: 4:30pm-6:30pm

Location: Haley Comfort Systems

FREE - Registration requested

18 WE Forum - Social Connect

Date: Thursday, May 18

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm

Location: Little Thistle

FREE - Registration required

19 Women’s Roundtable

Date: Friday, May 19

Time: 7:30am-9:00am

Location: Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

FREE - Registration required

| Advantage Magazine 20 March 2023
Chamber News C


City of Rochester Parks & Recreation Department is seeking community feedback on forthcoming splash pad and improvements at McQuillan Park

The City of Rochester Parks & Recreation Department is seeking feedback from the community on a planned splash pad and other potential improvements at McQuillan Park, located on the former Longfellow Elementary School site. The community is encouraged to provide feedback via a digital Polco survey, which will close on March 21, 2023. Two virtual open house events will take place on March 22, 2023 and held via Teams. The first will be from Noon-1:00p.m. and the second will take place from 6:00-7:00 p.m. There will also be an in-person Open House on March 28 at Longfellow Elementary School (2435 20th St. SE) from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

site and will be the City of Rochester’s second stand-alone aquatics feature of this type. The splash pad will be between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet and will contain a number of water play elements. Accompanying amenities will include accessible sidewalks, a restroom facility, benches and shade elements. The current budget for the project is $615,000 and will be funded largely by the City of Rochester park referendum, approved by voters in 2020.

The Parks & Recreation Department is seeking input on both the splash pad features and any facilities which may be desirable to the community should the grant be secured. Construction of the improvements will likely start in the spring of 2024, with the opening of the splash pad in 2025.

Advantage Magazine | 21 March 2023
The McQuillan Park splash pad project will be located at the former Longfellow Elementary School
Community News C Register Now Workforce Development Forum Location Date Speakers Participants Rochester Event Center April 27, 2023 2 Keynote Presenters 100+ 20 23 FREE Build. Invigorate. Invest. Speaker
Ron Painter Speaker Gerry Hoeffner


IBM volunteering for Eweek - Engineers Week to local middle school

This year’s Engineers Week theme is “Creating the Future”. It recognizes how engineers play a vital role in innovating solutions to global challenges that impact future generations. By working together to develop new technologies, products, and opportunities, engineers create new possibilities that make the world a better place. Eweek is an opportunity for Rochester IBMers to go into local classrooms to share a little bit about the engineering profession while also working with the students on a STEM project but focusing on the “E” portion of STEM.

Each year, Rochester IBMers create an Eweek project with this year’s project challenging students to engineer a cell tower that will withstand an earthquake simulation. With this project, students need to simulate enabling cell communications and maximizing signal reach so they have to build the tower as high as they can. The tower also has to withstand wind, earthquakes, and other natural forces.

They have a specific set of tools in a kit that is provided (straws, popsicle sticks, rubber bands, paperclips, etc.), and they build the tower using only what is provided in the kit. Students make an attempt at building the tower and then use the simulator to determine if their initial design is successful. Part of engineering is iterating on ideas, so students are allowed to use the simulators during their development before the final testing. The students love to see how towers fail and fly apart, so the IBM volunteers allow them to test the boundaries of their designs.

IBMers will be visiting 23 local schools covering approximately 135 classrooms and reaching nearly 4,000 students.

This year’s Eweek project challenging students to engineer a cell tower that will withstand an earthquake simulation.

| Advantage Magazine 22 March 2023
Community News C


Community work sessions were held to share challenges experienced to downtown to help identify priority concerns and solutions.

The Downtown Rochester Task Force invited the community and downtown businesses to participate in work sessions to share specific challenges they are experiencing related to downtown. Together, attendees identified both priority concerns and solutions. Once key priorities are identified overall sessions, an action plan will be created to address each concern.

Four work sessions—three in-person and one virtual— were planned. The sessions included:

In response to the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on downtown Rochester, a task force is being assembled to identify priority issues to be addressed.

The Downtown Rochester Task Force includes members from the City of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, Diversity Council, Experience Rochester, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Area Economic Development Agency, Inc., Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and Rochester Downtown Alliance.

• Monday, February 27 from 6-7 p.m., Fagan Studio and Studio 324

• Friday, March 3 from 9-10 a.m., Chateau Theatre

• Monday, March 6 from 2-3 p.m., Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria

• Tuesday, March 14 from 10-11 a.m. (virtual)

The Downtown Rochester Task Force is using an accelerated model in creating an action plan, allowed participants to identify concerns and will work on solutions quickly. The goal is to present an action plan by May 2023 to guide the Downtown Rochester Task Force moving forward.

Advantage Magazine | 23 March 2023 HEY, ROCHESTER! Symmetrical gigabit fiber internet is available in your area! 100% Fiber Internet Symmetrical internet with speeds up to 10 Gig Business Voice Cutomizable voice services including fully-managed Hosted phone solutions Managed Wi-Fi Reliable, secure Wi-Fi with end-to-end support Contact Metronet today for details and special offers. Jill Cordes 507•516•6412
Community News C


Mayo Clinic Health System launches program to improve health and well-being in local communities

Because life is busy, and individuals and families are at different spots on their wellness journey, Mayo Clinic Health System offers a variety of free, selfguided programs that can improve different aspects of your health and wellness.

A new program just launched this month, Journey to Wellness, focuses on monthly topics featuring a different aspect of healthy living. During this yearlong program, you can use the provided resources and activities, choosing those that are important to you and completing them on your schedule.

This program is appropriate for ages 16 and older and is completed individually.

How it Works

Each month, we’ll focus on a different aspect of healthy living. During this yearlong program, you use the provided resources and activities, choosing those that are important to you and completing them on your schedule.

Receive Monthly Emails

Those who register will receive access to a new toolkit each month that includes resources such as blogs, videos, handouts and activities. You’ll also have access to explore resources from previous months.

Here’s what you can look forward to in 2023:

• March — Sleep: A key to wellness

• April — Make social connections

• May — Reduce stress and anxiety

• June — Exercise your brain

• July — Eat smarter

• August — Rethink your drink

• September — Benefit from a grateful heart

• October — Reduce your cancer risk

• November — Prevent diabetes

• December — Be healthy during the holidays

Great for Employers and Individuals

Employers can enroll on behalf of the workplace and send resources directly to their workforce each month. Or they can ask employees to enroll individually if preferred.

Individuals can enroll and guide themselves through the resources each month. Feel free to get family and friends involved.

Learn more and register at

| Advantage Magazine 24 March 2023
Community News C


Updates from the Chamber member community.

New Interim Executive Director

Rochester Downtown Alliance announced Kathleen Harrington to serve as the organization’s interim executive director. Harrington has been the president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce from 2018 to 2021 and the public policy and government relations division chair at Mayo Clinic from 2011 to 2018. She also serves or has served on multiple community-based boards for Salvation Army and the Rochester Civic Theatre, among others.

New VP of Business Innovation

Think Bank is pleased to welcome Bekah DeYoung to the newlycreated role of Vice President of Business Innovation. Bekah is an experienced banking professional and people leader with strong strategic vision. In her new role, she will lead efforts to further enhance the customer experience through advancements in Think’s digital banking capabilities, systems, and processes.

New Program Manager

The City of Rochester is pleased to announce Julie Brock as the Global Mayors Challenge Initiative’s Program Manager. The position funding was made possible by grant dollars the City earned by winning the Global Mayors Challenge. Brock’s work will focus on overseeing multiple work streams for industry, post-secondary education and training, and K-12 early career exposure in addition to working with several community partners.

Celebrating 50 Years

ISG has been committed to community since 1973. While expanding our downtown Rochester team and sports and recreation opportunities, we’re excited to lead the study and preliminary design of the Regional Sports & Recreation Complex. ISG looks forward to another 50 years of providing innovative architectural, engineering, environmental, and planning expertise.

New Company Name & Brand

Along with getting ready to take their business to the next level, Links Handyman Services decided it was time for a new name! They have rebranded to Links Outdoor Services and appreciate all the support over the past few years. Links Outdoor Services looks forward to continuing to serve past, present and future clients.

Ranked Engineering Firm

Bolton & Menk, Inc. ranks fourth on Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2023 Largest Metro Engineering Firms Top 25 List. Bolton & Menk has 166 registered engineers in the Twin Cities metro area and 227 total firmwide. The firm has more than 800 employees in 29 office locations in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Advantage Magazine | 25 March 2023
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Boot Barn celebrated their grand opening with a ribbon cutting on January 20th. District Manger, Bryan Cavanaugh cut the ribbon.

70 25th St. SE, Rochester

MCFC celebrated their new Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting on January 28th. Co-Owners, Matt and Jay cut the ribbon.

Tulips & Truffles celebrated their grand opening and new Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting on January 27th. General Manager, Heather Wrightcut the ribbon.

611 N Broadway Ave., Rochester

Partners Title celebrated their new location and new Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting on February 7th. Executive Closer, Sommer Voyna cut the ribbon.

2766 Commerce Dr. NW, Suite A, Rochester

Want to advertise your business to over 1,200 businesses and 6,000 readers? Ask us about advertising in this Chamber Advantage magazine!

For more information, please contact Brent Ackerman at

| Advantage Magazine 26 March 2023
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Loam Commercial Real Estate LLC

Jay Christenson (507) 251-4853

2477 Clare Lane NE #400, Rochester

Chatfield Center for the Arts

Mike Speck (507) 884-7676

405 Main Street S, Chatfield

RockBox Fitness Rochester

Missy Thompson

(507) 208-4460

1111 Civic Center Dr. NW Suite 200, Rochester

Elite Custom Solutions

Samuel Prabhakar

(507) 398-5817

2450 Marion Rd SE, Ste 1, Rochester

Sylvan Learning of Rochester

Jennifer Blissenbach

(507) 258-6036

154 17th Ave. NW, Rochester

The Realty Edge Team

Dan Kingsley

(507) 990-1721

300 1st Ave NW Suite 200, Rochester

socius design

Dara Kautz

(507) 260-0958

Desire Vintage and Glass

Karl Johnson (507) 440-6737

MNSota Transportation

Evan Mitchell (507) 951-5876

J Kelly & Associates

John Kelly

(715) 370-5646

2801 Stonegate CT SW, Rochester

Anthony Zucco AgencyAmerican Family Insurance

Anthony Zucco

(816) 724-4180

401 16th St SE, Suite 204, Rochester

Sarah K Conti Designs LLC

Sarah Conti (507) 951-3330

AOS Carpentry

Kat Cain (507) 923-3530

1208 511 Street, Pine Island

The Garden

Laura Kramer (507) 382-3086

3820 N Broadway Ave., Rochester

Do you know of a business that has recently opened in Rochester? Are you connected to a business-owner looking to expand their network? Then a Chamber membership is right for them! Please contact with any referrals.

Advantage Magazine | 27 March 2023 Welcome W


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