By Lauren Johnson, Marketing & Communications Coordinators, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Have you seen a group of people out and about in the community dressed in red blazers? Maybe you have seen them on social media, or in the Chamber Newsletter, or even within the local news media. Well let me tell you about those red blazers!
Those “red blazer” people are better known as the Alexandria Chamber Ambassadors. These talented volunteer members extend the public relations arm of the Chamber by attending business open houses, ground breakings and ribbon cuttings. They also welcome new business to the Alexandria area and commemorate new locations, major remodels/expansions and rebrands. These visits allow the Ambassadors to tour the business, visit with the owners and staff, present a framed recognition certificate, and take photos for publication in the Chamber newsletter, social media, and local new media.
This committee is made up of 20 area business leaders that represent different sectors in the community. It meets the second Wednesday of each month for business visits with the goal of visiting 4 on that day. At these visits, businesses are given the opportunity to share more information about themselves and Ambassadors are given the opportunity to ask questions they may have as well. With this information, the Ambassadors will go out into the community and spread the good word!
If your business has recently gone through a major remodel, moved locations, is new to the area, etc. reach out to get added to our list of businesses to visit. If you would be interested in serving on the Ambassador Committee or would like to learn more, reach out to Lauren Johnson at 320-763-3163 or email@example.com. We strive to fill all business sectors of our community on this team.
The Written Gift is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the community with advance care planning (ACP). It utilizes community outreach and education to promote ACP and advocate for patient choice. The Written Gift works collaboratively with agencies and facilities in our community to implement health care programs that encourage patient participate in ACP and assure patient centered care.
By Lynn Jenc, 2021 Board President, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Thank you for your membership in the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. With the challenges that were placed upon us in 2020, the Chamber’s mission speaks volumes: Promoting the area as “the ultimate destination to live, work, play and prosper.”
This year’s Chamber theme is Better Together. As I look back on all that’s happened in 2020, I believe more strongly than ever in these words. The devastating downtown fire, COVID-19, racial injustices and political campaigns have changed us all in profound ways.
Five years ago, we moved our family to Alexandria. Like many who have moved their families into new communities, we were filled with excitement, hope, anxiety and stress – all at the same time. We were excited to be a part of a community where we felt surrounded by positive, friendly souls wherever we went, whether it was school, medical facilities, retail establishments, religious activities and so forth. The feel then and even more obvious now is that we know and support our neighborhoods (home/business/community).
The Alexandria Area’s thriving, diversified business community and nonprofit sector are supportive of each other. It was evident in 2015 when we first became part of this community but was even more obvious in 2020. From the outpouring support for those who lost their homes and/or businesses in the downtown fire, to the support towards our medical and rescue professionals, to wrapping ourselves around those who are facing the financial and mental crisis which COVID-19 created.
We are grateful to live in a community where supporting one another is not only a practice but an expectation. Tragedy is never welcomed, enveloping us in grief. But it provides an unintended outcome – bringing us closer together with a common bond. It causes us to focus more attention on supporting friends, family, neighbors (home/business/community). The many initiatives that came about because of COVID-19, such as restaurant and retail gift card purchases during forced closures, community mask making and distribution efforts, drive by birthday celebrations, PPE sharing, increased donations for our nonprofits, all created a sense of unity.
Unity is critical. My hope and invitation is that we aim to see beyond our individual scope to the bigger picture. How can the Alexandria Lakes Community be Better Together? Let’s live and lead by giving more than receiving. Together we can face and overcome the tough stuff. Easy no, essential yes.
When we lift each other up, we lift our community up. 2021 will again be a chance to discover our collective potential... Better Together.
By Doug Loon, President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Local chambers represent economic vitality in their communities. The Minnesota Chamber Federation unites and amplifies the voice of local chambers by advocating for policies to advance business in every corner of the state. Federation partners represent more than 43 local chambers representing 75 communities and more than 21,000 businesses across Minnesota.
They have worked together to promote pro-growth policies to the Legislature for more than a decade, helping ensure that state lawmakers understand the needs and interests of Minnesota’s diverse and successful local business community. Each year, Federation members work together to develop a set of policy priorities that matter most to their members, and the business community as a whole.
The obvious priority heading into this Legislative Session is to support employers and their employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on the statewide economy and many sectors of the business community will have lasting impact and the legislature must first “do no harm” and instead pass measures that spur recovery and economic growth. Businesses cannot sustain additional tax and fee increases, mandates, regulatory burdens and other measures that will further impede business recovery.
“Business recovery from the pandemic is crucial for statewide economic success. Hospitality businesses have taken the brunt of the economic pain from government closures and restrictions, and all businesses are dealing with the challenges that Covid-19 brings to the workplace,” said Brad Meier, President and CEO of the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Putting the Minnesota Chamber Federation focus on economic recovery makes sense. The decisions being made at the state government level will be key in how our economy recovers from this pandemic,” he added.
The Federation supports:
Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic is top-of-mind in Burnsville, too. According to Jennifer Harmening, President of the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, “The top 2021 priority for the Burnsville Chamber will be addressing the impacts of COVID-19 closures on our local businesses. We appreciate that the Federation priorities are addressing several aspects of the recovery.”
Although support for businesses throughout the remainder of the pandemic is still needed from lawmakers, it’s not the only important aspect of economic recovery. The Federation also supports maintaining benefit flexibility for employers, ensuring high quality, affordable health care and reliable, cost-effective energy and environmental sustainability.
At the Minnesota Chamber, we appreciate the Federation’s efforts to advocate on behalf of policies that can move Minnesota toward long-term prosperity. No one understands local economies better than local chambers. We look forward to standing together on behalf of all businesses in the state this legislative session.