By Jess Ptacek, Visitor Center and Office Coordinator, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
The young people in this community are the future of this community. It is important to build relationships with other individuals who are going through similar experiences and to continue to learn and grow in the professional world. The Alexandria Area Young Professionals (AAYP) organization offers opportunities for young people to do just that – build relationships and learn.
AAYP operates under the umbrella of the Alexandria Chamber. It is guided by an eight-person Leadership Team made up of local young professionals. The team includes a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Events Coordinator and a Marketing Coordinator, as well as a Member-at-Large and a Chamber Liaison. This team focuses on the needs of the organization and its members, and plans relevant speakers and programming.
AAYP offers monthly luncheons the first Thursday of each month from 12-1 pm at Grand Arbor. These luncheons include educational topics and speakers or networking opportunities for the members to get to know one-another. The group also offers quarterly socials that include fun activities such as escape rooms, yard games at the local city park, happy hour at a local restaurant, etc. Last summer AAYP adopted a highway that now gets cleaned twice a year.
An annual individual membership is $25 or a business may purchase a membership for $125, which covers memberships for all employees under the age of 40. Lunches may be paid for at the door with cash, check or credit card, or punch cards may be purchased for 6 or 12 lunches. Members receive a monthly e-newsletter around the first of every month that includes information about upcoming events, member news, and announcements.
With more than 90 members, AAYP is a popular organization that continues to grow. It’s a great way for young professionals to meet others, to network, and to learn about and serve their community. To get involved or to learn more, check out the AAYP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alexandriaareayoungprofessionals/, website: www.ypalex.org or email email@example.com.
Gary Palmersheim owns and operates Betsy Ross Resort with his wife, Patty. Betsy Ross Resort is located in a protected bay on the north end of Lake Ida. The bay provides good fishing and plenty of other water activities while the resort itself offers a casual, peaceful place for family fun.
By Lauren Johnson, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Are you a Chamber member looking for a quick, easy, yet effective way to get information out to the public? If so, I highly recommend sending an email blast (eBlast) through the Alexandria Chamber!
The Chamber sends eBlasts twice a day at 10 am and 2 pm, Monday through Friday. This system is an effective way to let the public know about Chamber happenings but is also a great platform and benefit for our members to use as well. EBlasts through the Chamber cost $100 (or $65 for non-profit members). After sending your eBlast, you will receive an analytics report for how your eBlast performed to best determine the value.
We need four things: First, an approximate date you’d like the eBlast sent. Next, an 8.5” x 11” PDF or JPEG version of your flyer (this is the ideal size for our eBlast template). Include enough information on this flyer to get the details across to the viewer, but not too much that it is overwhelming. Include the “who, what, where, when” and contact details for more information.
Third, determine what you want your eBlast to link to. This can be a website URL, Facebook page/event, or an email. If it is an event you are promoting, I suggest linking to the web or social media page for that specific event. If it is general information about your business, the business website works best. If you’re sending an email blast that involves sign ups or applications, linking it to an email may be the best option.
Finally, the last important detail is your subject line. This needs to be catchy and to the point. The subject line will be the FIRST thing viewers see when it pops into their email inbox. This is the deciding factor for a lot of people in whether or not they want to open the email or just delete and move on.
The Alexandria Chamber has a high open and click rate – open rates are around 38% (the email marketing average is around 10%) and click rates are around 18% (the average is 2%). Why are Chamber eBlasts more successful? Often it is because the community trusts information that comes from the Chamber!
For more information regarding how to purchase an eBlast, reach out to Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 320-763-3161. If you are not currently receiving eBlasts from the Chamber but would like to, visit this link: https://www.alexandriamn.org/subscription-sign-up.html to sign up. It’s a great way to stay “in the know” about local happenings.
Tom Jacobson is an attorney with Swenson Lervick Law Firm located in downtown Alexandria, MN. Swenson Lervick has served the diverse legal needs of clients in Alexandria, Douglas County and all of central Minnesota. The firm was founded in 1961 and since then has grown and changed, but its commitment to providing efficient, innovative and personalized legal service remains the same.
By Abigail Blank, Alexandria Area High School senior
I never really understood the importance of doing business local until my junior year in my marketing class at Alexandria Area High School.
Like many of my other classes, we frequently had guest speakers who would come in and speak to the class. However, there was one specific presenter who delivered a message that stuck with me, Tara Bitzan of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. In short the message she delivered had us really look to see what our community has to offer and to spend our money here whenever possible instead of in another town or online.
I think the part that made her presentation stick out more than others was that the problem at hand (our local economy struggling) was something that I could personally make a difference with through my spending choices. The fact that I could help make a difference was one of the key factors that pushed me to team up with two of my classmates to create a doing business local campaign.
After several months of brainstorming sessions, project meetings, and collaborations with local entities, the Pride of the Lakes campaign was born to promote doing business local in Douglas County, MN. Through the creation of this campaign, I hope to not only make an impact myself, but also encourage others in our community to do the same. This campaign has made a large impact on my spending behaviors. Before, I would always order the things I needed online because of the convenience, but now I try to see if our local businesses have what I need first.
What I found out is that nine times out of ten, the things I need can be found right here. I also realized the great customer service that many of our businesses are willing to offer. The employees all go above and beyond to provide amazing customer service.
Alexandria truly does have everything we need. I encourage you as the reader to do two things. First, take a look to see what our town really does have to offer. Whether it’s clothing, food, gift items, services, etc., and second, take the pledge to do business local at PrideoftheLakes.com. This campaign has made a change in my life and it can make a change in yours as well!