By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Last fall, our community was notified that Alexandria was named “Best Minnesota Town” by Minnesota Monthly magazine. Of course, we already knew our community was great, but this honor gave us the opportunity to tell others about all the special things that make Alexandria “the ultimate destination to live, work, play and prosper.”
Along with the honor came a 12-page feature in Minnesota Monthly. Journalist Erik Tormoen traveled to Alexandria to find out first-hand what made us stand out from other communities. His feature article was just released in the May/June issue. While one can easily complain that the timing of this “stinks” and that Alexandria lost the spotlight to the Coronavirus, we at the Chamber are sticking with our 2020 theme of “Be Positive, Do Positive.” We are very proud of this community, and we are thrilled about all the great things going on here that were spotlighted in the article.
Tormoen wrote about our highly ranked health care and education systems, our dining and beverage options that are anything but small town, our abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and the incredible diversity of business and industry in our area.
Our many lakes and our tourism industry are a focus in the article, to which Tormoen writes: [Alexandria is] “where Minnesota really earns that friendly, outdoorsy reputation.”
Tormoen was in the process of writing this article in February when Alexandria experienced a devastating fire that destroyed some of our historic downtown buildings, displacing some businesses and residents. He talks about that in the article, commenting on the collaborative spirit and helping hands attitude of the people of Alexandria, which is one of the main things that makes our community stand out.
The lead-in to the article states: “Beauty, progress and resilience make Alexandria Minnesota Monthly’s Best Minnesota Town.” We couldn’t agree more!
The May/June issue of Minnesota Monthly is available on these local newsstands:
Elden’s Fresh Foods & Downtown Floral
Alexandria Cub Foods
By Doug Loon, President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and
Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Every employer and employee feels the historic impact of COVID-19. Those of us in the network of state and local chambers would like to thank employers and employees throughout Minnesota for navigating this crisis to mitigate the health impacts and keep our state moving forward. And if you are a business that is currently struggling or confused about the resources available to you, reach out to us. We can help – whether you are a chamber member or not.
Businesses are innovating and leveraging available resources.
Minnesota is blessed with a landscape of innovative companies and skilled workers. Employers and employees are continuing to find ways to work safely, keep essential operations open, meet customer demands and protect critical supply chains. Most impressive, companies are showing their ingenuity to transform operations almost overnight to supply products and services critical to bringing this pandemic under control.
Chambers of commerce share the goal of ensuring a healthy business community and economy. The stakes are higher today, and our efforts are escalated as we fight this pandemic. We are working tirelessly for our members – and everyone in the business community – listening to their needs and responding in their best interest.
Chambers are bringing businesses together.
Your local and state chambers work with businesses of every type, size and industry, and in every corner of the state. By listening to the needs of businesses, we are able to make connections between challenges and solutions – during this crisis and long afterward.
Chambers are advocating for employers and employees.
Minnesotans’ health and safety are paramount concerns for all of us. We share the goal of our elected officials to reduce the spread of the virus and simultaneously protect the long-term strength of the private-sector economy. It’s a delicate balance, and we have worked with legislators and Governor Walz and his administration to make decisions with this balance in mind.
Chambers are speeding resources and assistance to keep communities thriving.
Every company is impacted by the state and federal directives related to COVID-19. Those deemed essential are doing what they can to keep shelves stocked and meet customer demands. If they were required to close their physical doors, many are continuing remotely or pivoting their operations. This was not their choice, but they are reviewing every funding option available to continue to make payroll, or act in good faith on behalf of their employees to keep their businesses open while mitigating health impacts.
The twists and turns of the pandemic are changing daily. Your chambers of commerce provide timely and trusted information to navigate this crisis. We know businesses are looking for funding and resources to mitigate this crisis. Your state and local chambers are here to help you navigate the various options and maximize the benefit for your business and employees – whether you are a chamber member or not. Our offices may be closed due to the “stay at home” order, but we are only a phone call or email away.
Businesses contribute to our shared quality of life in Minnesota. Generations-owned family companies and new entrepreneurial start-ups are equally important parts of our state’s story. The remarkable response of employers and employees everywhere is evidence that Minnesotans are well-prepared to weather this pandemic storm. Working together, we will position Minnesota to return to full productivity and full employment as soon as possible.
For more information, contact your local chamber at www.alexandriamn.org.