Advantage Magazine | March 2021

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March 2021



Business Survey Update Upcoming Events Annual Celebration Update Member News

LGR Class of 2019-20

Applications Now Open for 2021 LGR Program

2020 - 2021 Chamber Board

OFFICERS Chair of the Board Lizzy Haywood

People’s Food Co-op

Vice Chair Christy Blade

Post Bulletin, LLC

Treasurer James Kelly

Construction Partnership

Secretary Emily Benner Preventice

Chamber President Ryan Parsons

MEMBERS Laurie Ackerman Opportunity Services

MISSION The Chamber promotes business success which supports a thriving community.

VISION Rochester-area businesses are empowered to succeed in a diverse and collaborative climate.

VALUES As a service organization, the Chamber is committed to conducting our work in accordance with the following values:

Collaboration | Diversity |Innovation Integrity | Proactivity

Christine Beech Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Chad Behnken Hamilton Real Estate Aaron Benike Benike Construction Dr. Lori Carrell University of Minnesota Rochester Teresa Czaplewski Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home Steve Dunn

Taco JED

John Eckerman RSP Architects Scott Eggert* Broadway Plaza Jessica Eidem IBM Corporation

Ryan Parsons PRESIDENT 507-288-1122


Sam Gill DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS 507-424-5687

Cathy Fraser Mayo Clinic Marge Kelley Express Employment Professionals Sarah Miller White Space Matt Morehead Carlson Capital Management AnJuanna Napue Mayo Clinic Dan Nistler Merchants Bank Nate Nordstrom Brandhoot Omar Nur Somali American Social Service Association

Cheryl Krage DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS 507-424-5699


Tim Shea MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR 507-424-5663

Sylwia Bujak Oliver 125 Live Dave Pederson Dunlap & Seeger, P.A. Jack Priggen Cardinal of Minnesota Joselyn Raymundo Rochester Home Infusion John Reed* Rochester Airport Co. Sharon Schneller Olmsted Medical Center *Denotes at large members of the Executive Committee

Cherie Thurlow ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT 507-288-1122


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 Issue #3 Volume #13 Periodical Postage paid at Rochester, Minnesota | Annual Subscription: $20 (free to Chamber members) | Lizzy Haywood, Chair of the Board | Editor: Sam Gill Printed by Johnson Printing | Postmaster: Send address changes to: Chamber Advantage, 220 S Broadway Ste 100, Rochester, MN 55904 or email:

Survey Details Business Outlook Dear Members, As you may be aware, the Rochester Area Chamber has partnered with the University of Minnesota, Extension Service to conduct a series of surveys gauging the impact of COVID on business and commerce in the greater Rochester Area. The results of this survey have been shared with policymakers to ensure they are informed of the current state of Rochester area businesses, and have been used to better tailor programming, services, and relief to businesses. Below are the results of the fourth survey. Please note, these are a portion of the full results. Be well, Ryan Parsons President

COVID Insights Business Survey

Submitted by: Jennifer Hawkins and Brigid Tuck, University of Minnesota Extension Who responded?

198 organizations, 74% were from for-profit businesses and 26% were from nonprofit businesses. The mix of firms reflected the makeup of the overall economy for the area.

What effects did the pandemic have on the businesses? Questions assessed the effects in several categories including operations, employment and revenues.


In terms of operations effect, the number and percentage of businesses reporting they are closed increased substantially. The most affected sector is entertainment and recreation. The survey also asked what impact changes in remote education and reduced childcare options had on their business operations. About half of respondents (52 percent) indicated some level of negative impact, whereas the remaining respondents indicated the effect on their business was neither positive nor negative or to some extent positive.

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Responses to the survey demonstrated how employment fluctuated throughout the pandemic. There was a significant decline from March to May 2020, then a slight recovery over the summer, followed by another decline in the fall. Responses also illustrate that firms still do not expect employment to recover to pre-pandemic levels by April 2021.


The percentage of firms reporting declining revenues between September and December was slightly higher than the prior measurement period. In September, about 24 percent reported a decline in revenue during the few months prior, whereas 36 percent reported a decline between September and December. However, there appears to be optimism. Looking ahead to April, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of firms expecting increases in revenue. The effects of the pandemic on revenue between September and December varied by industry. Accommodations and transportation and distribution continued to report declining revenue. Revenues for manufacturing, banking/finance, and entertainment were steady. Restaurants/food appeared to be showing some sign of recovering.

What steps did firms take to address the effects of the pandemic?

First, almost all firms (97 percent of respondents) modified their business in some manner due to COVID-19. This was up from 91 percent of responses in the third survey that went out in September of 2020. As with past surveys, the highest number of respondents indicated modifications to employment practices. The survey results also indicate that these modifications may be long lasting. Only 22 percent indicated the changes will not endure. Second, firms accessed available support programs. A majority of firms, 68 percent, accessed the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This is roughly in line with the data for Minnesota. As of January 2021, about 73% of Minnesota firms that responded to the U.S. Census Business Pulse survey had received PPP loans.

How optimistic do firms feel optimistic about the future?

A majority of respondents (about 60 percent) are expressing optimism for 2021. However, the optimism is tempered by the extent to which their firm was directly impacted by the most recent dial-back Executive Order.

Calendar of Events March 5

AM Espresso

Location Virtual Zoom Meeting Time

8:00am - 9:00am

Featured Businesses

Spark, Air Insanity Trampoline Park

March 16

Business Development Exchange (BDX)


Adapting your Business to Change


Virtual Meeting | 11:30am - 1:00pm


Bremer Bank, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Public

March 18

WE Forum


Location Sponsors

Utilities, RSP Architects

March 30

Location In-person (Empire Events Center) & virtual Time Sponsors

April 2

11:30am - 1:00pm Charter Communications, Mayo Clinic, West Bank, Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc.

AM Espresso

Location Virtual Zoom Meeting Time 8:00am - 9:00am Featured ABC 6 News, Twelve36 Marketing Businesses

April 15

WE Forum

Topic Designing a Business: Adapting to

Financial Literacy: The Basics for Your Business Virtual Meeting | 8:00am - 9:00am

Location Virtual Meeting | 8:00am - 9:00am

Saint Mary’s University of MN - The Kabara


Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, RAEDI,


Women’s Roundtable

Saint Mary’s University of MN - The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, RAEDI, RACC, Collider, SCORE

RACC, Collider, SCORE

March 19

Legislative Update: Crossover at the Capitol

April 16

Women’s Roundtable


Virtual Zoom Meeting

Location Virtual Zoom Meeting

Time Sponsors

7:30am - 9:00am

Time Sponsors


Mayo Clinic, Think Bank Zoey Jantsan, Realtor, Edina Realty

March 25

Hospitality 1st

Location Time Chair

Virtual Zoom Meeting

DMC Latest Update

9:45am - 11:00am Andy Thilges, Home2Suites by Hilton

A special Thank You to this month’s



April 22 Location Time Chair

7:30am - 9:00am Mayo Clinic, Think Bank Zoey Jantsan, Realtor, Edina Realty

Hospitality 1st

Tourism Metrics & Outcomes Virtual Zoom Meeting 9:45am - 11:00am Andy Thilges, Home2Suites by Hilton


Innovation, Preparedness, & Collaboration in Higher Ed Chamber’s Eggs and Issues Delivers Higher Education Outlook from Key Leaders

The Chamber turned a spotlight on higher education for the first Eggs and Issues of 2021. The Higher Education Outlook was held on Tuesday, February 23 and featured four local education institutions discussing the steps they each have taken to ensure innovation in the delivery of courses, classwork, and business engagement. Rochester Community and Technical College was represented by President Jeffery Boyd, Saint Mary‘s University of Minnesota by Provost Brian Schmisek, University of Minnesota Rochester by Chancellor Lori Carrell,

and Winona State University Rochester by Associate Vice President Jeanine Gangeness. This informative panel was moderated by Tyler Utzka, Morning Anchor with KIMT News 3 and sponsored by Charter Communications, Mayo Clinic, Premier Bank Rochester, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and People‘s Energy Cooperative.

Click HERE to view the digital program



Why Apply to Leadership Greater Rochester? Leadership Greater Rochester is an immersive ten-month leadership development program which propels leaders in the community to be further inspired, connected, and enlightened. Building on a 30+ year track record of success, this program provides unparalleled access, networking, and leadership development for you and / or your employees.


• More business generation

• Safe space to learn new skills

• Marketing & recognition

• Professional and personal

• Professional and personal leadership development for

leadership development

• Unleashing high-growth

Impact Project (CIP)

personal and professional growth • Access to individuals through network of decision-makers in the community

• Self discovery for greater relationship building and

• Community Impact Project

communication skills


• Hands-on experiences



• Continued engagement for


• Community engagement through the Community

future leaders

resources and mentorship

best practices • Skillset development

• Opportunity for mentorship of

• Business connections for

employee • Exposure to cross-industry





BOTTOM LINE: LGR helps shape business leaders who are more: COMMITTED



The Chamber is now taking applications for the 2021- 2022 LGR Program. To see the session dates or to apply, visit:


Google Opens New Office in Rochester, Minnesota Google recently announced that the company is opening its first office in Minnesota, in the City of Rochester. Google has long worked with businesses and organizations across the state, and the company’s new space—at Collider Coworking in the historic Conley-MaassDowns building in downtown Rochester— will give it a physical home in Minnesota, as well as serving its long-term strategic partnership with Mayo Clinic. “Part of what drew us to partner with Google was our shared cultures of collaboration,” said Cris Ross, chief information officer of Mayo Clinic. “While the pandemic has accelerated usage of many valuable forms of remote collaboration and virtual health services, it

has also caused us to truly appreciate in-person experiences and connection. We’re excited to have this physical space designed to deepen our bond and facilitate innovation, where Google engineers will work side by side with Mayo Clinic researchers, physicians, information technology staff and data scientists, to apply advanced computing techniques to health care problems.”


F O R U M S & R O U N D TA B L E S

WE Forum

Hosted by the Kabara Institute| 3rd Thursday of the Month | 8:00 - 9:00am Chair: Christine Beech, Kabara Institute for Enterpreneurial Studies The Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Forum brings together women in business throughout the Rochester region who wish to share knowledge and resources to support new business creation and growth. This group was developed by the Kabara Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies of Saint Mary’s University of MN - Rochester to offer educational programming for business owners. February’s featured speakers were Jennifer Becker, Owner of Bleu Duck Kitchen; Allisa Song, CEO & Co-Founder of Nanodropper; & Tiffany Piotrowicz, Owner of TerraLoco. They discussed how they share their businesses’ stories on multiple platforms, and how they leverage their struggles, successes, and client stories to help promote their businesses and educate their customers. Mark your calendars for next month’s WE Forum on Thursday, March 18 to discuss Financial Literacy: The Basics for Your Business

Women’s Roundtable Hosted by the Rochester Area Chamber | 3rd Friday of the Month | 7:30 - 9:00am Chair: Zoey Jantsan, Edina Realty Women’s Roundtable provides a space for women to practice and refine skills, discuss challenges specific to women in positions of leadership, and learn together. February’s featured speakers were Abbie Knepper, Alicia Olson, Sarah Link, & Sarah Thacker, the Marketing Team at Tulip Tree Studios. They gave out valuable information on free and paid websites/services that businesses can use to market, promote, communicate, and personalize their messages, products, and brands to customers. Mark your calendars for the next Roundtable on Friday, March 19 for a 2021 Check-In. Zoey Jantsan will lead large group and breakout group discussions.

F O R U M S & R O U N D TA B L E S

Hospitality 1st

Hosted by the Rochester Area Chamber | 4th Thursday of the Month | 9:45 - 11:00am Chair: Andy Thilges, Home2Suites by Hilton Hospitality 1st is a collaboration of hospitality service providers who work in partnership with area businesses to create an exceptional community experience by focusing on great service and delivery of community assets. February’s featured speakers were Liz Rammer, President/ CEO, and Ben Wogslund, Director of Government Relations, at Hospitality Minnesota who shared how Hospitality Minnesota has reinvented itself during the pandemic. Mark your calendars for the next meeting on Thursday, March 25 to hear the latest update from DMC.

Welcome New Members! march :: april 2021 :: Online scheduling now available!

Introducing our new look! Grab your free copy on stands March 5. VISIT our brand new website and follow us on L



Convenient morning and evening hours Doctor-owned, locally loved 3780 Marketplace Dr NW Suite 112 Rochester, MN 55901 507-288-1633

ChamberofCommerce_RW21.indd 1

2/23/21 12:27 PM

Your business deserves to be seen! 2D static photos will not stand out above your competitors. Fully featured, engaging and immersive 3D Virtual Tours can showcase your business, draw patrons inside, and boost your SEO (search engine optimization) so people find you FIRST!

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


with any referrals.

Have you: • Claimed your Google My Business® listing? It's free! • Added high quality photos including 360 degree panoramic photos to your listing? • Uploaded panoramic photos to Google Street View®? • Added a 3D Virtual Tour to your website? • Back linked your virtual tour to increase search engine optimization? • Used your 3D virtual tour to engage your social media followers and convert them? We specialize in helping local businesses with all of these things and more!

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RENEWING MEMBERS Thank You for Your Continued Investment in our Community. • Charter House • Construction Collaborative, Inc. • Benedictine Madonna Living Community of Rochester

• Veterans and Emergency Services Museum, Rochester, MN • Leashes and Leads • Culver's - North

• Quality Overhead Door Co.

• Rochester Business Law, LLC

• Diversity Council

• Two Men and a Truck

• Advisors Group

• FoodSafetyGuy

• Walmart Stores - North

• TLS Companies LLC.

• Walmart Stores - South

• POET Biorefining - Preston

• Goodin Company

• Somali American Social Service Association

• Rochester Tennis Connection • Thompson's Garage Door and Openers • Ed-Ventures, Inc. • American Waterworks • Property Brokers of MN, Inc. • The Boldt Company • Corner Medical • AARP • Sun Home Health Care, Inc.

• European Wax Center Rochester • Centric Healthcare • Murphy Business of Southeast Minnesota • Sleep Inn & Suites • Etiquette Matters LLC • Hope Fuse • Star Tribune Digital • Tradesmen International

AM Espresso On February 5th, attendees gathered virtually to connect with other members and hear from three disability service providers in our community, Bear Creek Services, Ability Building Community, and Exercisabilities. Attendees were also made aware of opportunities for engagement with the disability services community through MaxAbility and their event series, Bite Sized Learning. Finally, in addition to every attendee sharing their name, business and tagline, new Chamber Members, Burn Boot Camp and Rochester Women Magazine, introduced themselves to the business community and shared a bit about their services.



Updates from the Chamber Member Community City of Rochester The City of Rochester selected Chao Mwatela to serve as the City’s first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Director. The City Council supported the creation of the position as a part of the 2021 budget. Mwatela started in the role on February 25, 2021. The position will provide leadership to effectively foster and advance an organizational culture and a community climate that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion as core values. Mwatela will provide strategic guidance to City leadership and community partners for the development and implementation of equitable City policies, projects, programs and processes in all facets of organizational work. Additionally, the DEI Director will develop goals and identify metrics that demonstrate organizational growth and efficacy.

DBS Group Design-build construction company DBS Group has signed a lease to open an office in Suite 110 at 3425 40th Avenue NW this spring. “We’ve been operating in Rochester for close to a year,” said DBS Group President and CEO Chris Walters. “With three full-time people based here, including our Vice President of Business Development and two project managers, it’s time to open an office and make it official.” Headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the commercial construction manager and general contractor serves various clients in the Upper Midwest. It is already actively involved in the Rochester community and affiliated with several Rochester and Minnesota-based professional associations.

Kraus-Anderson The Rochester office of Kraus-Anderson (KA) has hired Kelsey Vaszily as director of business development. She is active in Leadership Greater Rochester at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, having served as program chair and on the steering committee; and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2017.

Think Bank Think Bank is pleased to welcome Scott Hoss as its new Vice President of Business Banking. A Rochester native, Scott is an experienced and innovative business leader with strong strategic vision who is eager to help local businesses grow and thrive. Scott has a diverse professional background and most recently served as a commercial real estate agent and property manager for Paramark Real Estate Services. Scott is actively involved in the community and currently serves on the Boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, the Sertoma Club, and Threshold Arts. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College

14 his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. and

Newsreels Continued Merit Contracting Inc. Merit Contracting is pleased to announce Jeremy Wohlfiel as a minority owner in Merit Contracting. Jeremy has been with Merit for 10 years leading our Project Roofing teams. Jeremy has a passion for his employees, customers, and the construction industry. He is locally involved in the Builders Exchange of Rochester and Rochester Area Builders (RAB). In his free time Jeremy enjoys time with his family, snowmobiling, and golf. Jeremy will remain focused on the Commercial Roofing portion of our portfolio. We look forward to the continued contributions Jeremy will make at Merit and in the Rochester community! Merit Contracting is pleased to announce Laura Sheehan as a minority owner in Merit Contracting. Laura has built and currently leads our Asset Management department allowing Merit to build stronger and more transparent relationships with customers and clients. Laura delivers Merit quality always. She has been actively involved since 2015 in National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) starting as a member and most currently serving as Immediate Past President of the Southeast Minnesota chapter. In her free time Laura enjoys time with her family, snow skiing, and golf. Laura will remain focused on the Asset Management portion of our portfolio. We look forward to the continued contributions Laura will make at Merit and in the Rochester community!

ONB Bank Please join us in welcoming Ross Zumbach to our ONB Bank team as our Business Banking Specialist/Commercial Lender. Ross has been in banking for almost 8 years and has a passion for taking each customer’s puzzle pieces and building a dream they can see become reality. He and his wife Taylor have 2 hockey playing sons and an adventurous daughter. Outside of work you can find him in the woods, at a hockey rink, or a racetrack. He is a Wild season ticket holder, and a Vikings truther. Ross is looking forward to the opportunity to represent ONB Bank, and working with you! Welcome to the team Ross!

Schmidt Goodman Schmidt Goodman Office Products is excited to announce that Alysa Wandsnider has been recognized as a 2020 TrueBlue Top 50 Seller from Steelcase! Alysa is an Account Manager who specializes in the Education Segment and covers Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. She is a graduate of Winona State University and joined our Schmidt Goodman team in 2018. Her attention to detail, eye for space and heart for the customer drive excellent results we are so proud of. Please join us in congratulating Alysa on this great accomplishment!


Planting Roots + Sculpting Connections Dedicated and invested locally to serve as a loyal neighbor and a design partner.

#ISGRochLaunch H3 Plaza 30 3rd Street Southeast + Suite 600 Rochester, MN 55904

Architecture + Engineering + Environmental + Planning


Join the team committed to helping businesses through the unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus outbreak. Volunteer as we recover and return to the “New Normal” in these positions: ✓ Mentors offer confidential business guidance, either in person or online. ✓ Subject Matter Experts provide focused knowledge based on their professional skills or industry. ✓ Workshop Presenters lead seminars and events to help entrepreneurs meet their goals and achieve success. ✓ Chapter Support Volunteers share their skills in marketing, tech, finance, fundraising and more to help expand the outreach of SCORE.

Meet Joseph Thompson, a SE MN SCORE Subject Matter Expert. Joseph enjoys sharing his expertise in property management, transportation, auto repair industry, retail management, loss prevention, and human resources. An experienced business leader, Joseph is passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs form and improve their business ideas. Joseph is an avid outdoorsman who is happy to help startup businesses focused on hunting, fishing, or general outdoor recreation. Visit our website or call 507-200-0760 and leave a message if you are interested in FREE business mentoring as a startup or existing business. Consider sharing your talents, expertise, and business knowledge as a SCORE Volunteer.

For more information or to request an extension on the deadline, contact Workforce Development, Inc.


Collider Ecosystem Navigators A confidential service to accelerate the journey of #rochmn entrepreneurs. LEARN MORE: COLLIDER.MN/CONNECT-WITH-OUR-NAVIGATORS

Winter is here... Our Clean and Safe Ambassadors provide enhanced services, even in the colder months, to help keep downtown Rochester looking good by focusing on: • Snow removal in crosswalks and ice mitigation assistance for sidewalks • Wayfinding and hospitality assistance • Safety escort services within downtown • Litter and graffiti removal • Power washing: spills and biohazards (above 32° F)


507-316-7511 Contact our Ambassador team for free assistance to your downtown based business this winter.

Winter Hours

Monday and Tuesday: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information,

Periodical Postage

220 South Broadway, Suite 100 Rochester, MN 55904 507-288-1122


Rochester, MN



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