Archives for July 2019

LeRoy, MN Increases Marketing Efforts with CEDA Assistance

Article by: Joya Stetson

The City of LeRoy, MN has recently been working with CEDA team members to expand their marketing efforts for the community.

CEDA team member Joya Stetson worked with colleague Sherry Hines, who serves the City of LeRoy, to create a comprehensive report on potential marketing projects/ideas that would broadly and creatively communicate the many assets in the City.

Stetson’s report noted an observed focus on recreation, a proactive school district, City-wide fiber, proximity to major cities and a supportive business community; the report concentrated on leveraging those strengths.

Stetson provided a number of detailed ideas that incorporated social media, participation in regional industry groups, communication with media outlets, testimonials, coworking space, recreation, collaboration with local businesses and more.

The report, which was intended to inspire staff and board members, sparked the creation of an EDA Marketing Committee who met with Stetson and Hines to go over each thought and begin a priority plan for implementation.

Only two (2) months after the Marketing Committee meeting, LeRoy has already begun working on five (5) of the suggested projects:

  1. The City/EDA has created and is managing a Facebook account with regular content.
  2. The City/EDA has joined the Rochester Area Builders’ association.
  3. The City/EDA has pushed out more press releases to garner media attention.
  4. The City/EDA has created/updated brochures on the community amenities.
  5. The City/EDA has launched a free bike rental program to encourage regional individuals and families to enjoy recreation in and near the community.

The projects above have been completed through the hard work and dedication of EDA boardmembers and City Clerk, Patty White, along with the assistance of CEDA team member Sherry Hines.

“The City of LeRoy has such an incredible energy” said Stetson. “The Committee members and staff have moved these projects and others forward with remarkable vigor; it’s impossible not to be inspired when you’re surrounded by such an innovative and ambitious group!”

The forward-thinking Marketing Committee has plans to complete more items from the report in the coming year.  For example, the Committee is looking into creating a City-scented soy candle from their local shop, A Gift to Gab.


CEDA Authored MN Twins Fields for Kids Grant is Awarded to Goodview, MN Economic Development Authority

Article by: Mary Kennedy and Donna Mack

Two parks in the City of Goodview will benefit with a grant from the Minnesota Twins Fields for Kids program. CEDA Team member Donna Mack authored and was awarded a matching grant from the MN Twins Community Fund. The $9,600 will benefit both the Memorial Park and the Goodview City Park with covers over the dugouts. Last Fall, while reviewing the community parks, Donna Mack noticed the dugouts did not have covers on them. After discussion with City Administrator Dan Matejka, the decision was made for Donna Mack to write a grant application to request funding from the MN Twins for financial support. The grant was awarded, and will cover 50% of the project cost for the four dugouts. The covers will be aluminum framing with colored canvas. Mesh shade material will be on three sides, with lettering on each dugout cover that reads GOODVIEW. When installed, the ball players in Goodview will enjoy the protection from the hot summer sun, wind, rain and foul balls.

“On behalf of the City of Goodview, we thank the MN Twins Fields for Kids program for improving our ball fields. The safety of our children impacts every person in our community. Reducing injury and future health issues make the dugout covers an effective preventative measure for local children, and visiting teams from surrounding cities and counties”, said Mack.

CEDA Staff Successfully Authors Grants for Farmers Market Funding

Article by: Mary Kennedy and Donna Mack

On Wednesday, June 19th the new Farmers Market in Goodhue, Minnesota held its opening day! CEDA representative Donna Mack played an influential part in the planning process, and worked to secure funding for the project. The community’s interest for a Farmers Market became apparent during Mack’s regular business outreach practices, and both Mack and city staff received requests for a market from community residents. After City Council’s approval to move ahead with the project, City staff, Donna Mack, and Selene O’Reilly, a local Master Gardener with the University of Minnesota Extension, began researching funding options and planning for the market itself. This process included discussing potential market operators, vendors, funding, location, etc. Through her research, Mack found potential funding options to pursue, and the team learned about a networking and learning opportunity; the two-day 2019 MN Farmers Market Association Conference in January 2019, which Mack was able to attend. At the conference, she was able to participate in 12 workshops in two days, with the purpose to receive training to establish a Farmers Market in Goodhue and to network with the Farmers Market Association, Minnesota Grown, and other established rural community market operators. For the conference expenses, Mack was awarded a grant from Live Well Goodhue County for $600 reimbursement of the trip. Mack authored a second grant to Live Well Goodhue County for start-up expenses for establishing a Farmers Market in the community, and was awarded $2,500. The third grant Mack authored was to Compeer Financial’s Farmers Market Grant Program, and the project was awarded $975.

In considering other ways to finance the project, The City of Goodhue started a fund with $700 to meet minor expenses before the grants were awarded. Also, the City paid membership to MN Farmers Market Association and Minnesota Grown, and the organization’s farmers market insurance, as well as the Farmers Market Operator’s wage. Additionally, Selene O’Reilly has volunteered 25 hours of her time already this summer towards her certificate with the U of MN, through Master Gardeners.

“Our Opening Day was successful with two vendors sold out, and another vendor only had 1 item left. The Goodhue Farmers Market can only become more successful when produce becomes ready to harvest. Our Farmers Market Operator and her market committee have been strong in marketing, organizational skills and work ethic. And we appreciate the funding from Live Well Goodhue County, Compeer Financial, and the City of Goodhue, With funding from these entities the Goodhue Farmers Market became a reality. I could not be more proud of this team and the community support,” said Mack about the project.

The Farmers Market is every Wednesday from 3pm to 7 pm through the end of September, except for July 3rd. In October, the market will be every Wednesday from 4pm to 7 pm. Located at the former train depot at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Broadway Street in the City of Goodhue.

CEDA Teammate helps plan this year’s Covered Bridge Festival in Zumbrota, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

The Zumbrota Covered Bridge Music & Arts Festival is the City’s annual community event, and was held June 13-16. This year, CEDA representative Ryan Soukup played a vital role in the organization of the event, specifically taking on a majority of the responsibility of the parade planning, which included organizing music units, parade participants, and coordinating and preparing the route. In addition to the parade, the festival is host to a variety of family and adult activities which include a vendor fair, food trucks, a craft beer experience, and nerf wars in the city’s Covered Bridge Park. The Covered Bridge Festival is a four-day event, which is usually held the third week in June. Planning for this year’s event began in February, and was done in collaboration with a volunteer committee and the City of Zumbrota. “Having the central volunteer committee working with the City is a great way to utilize existing resources. For example, the City’s street department employees were able to help with some of the set up, which might include installing signs around town, or setting up large tents for various activities.” explained Soukup. 

Soukup said, “A great experience can be had for the entire community, and so many people can benefit when people get involved and volunteer. This festival offers the entire community a common experience – everyone is tied to this really fun weekend together. The Covered Bridge Festival helps provide and develop a sense of identity to those who live and work in Zumbrota and I was glad to be a part of the event this year.”

This year, the event was made possible by a long list of local supporters. Major event sponsors include: Zumbrota Telephone Company; Zumbrota Veterinary Clinic; Countryside Lawn & Landscape, Inc.; NAPA Auto Parts; Firebrick Bread – Wood-Fired Pizza; Nilssen’s Grocery; Zumbrota Ford; Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram; Rockne Law Office; Knutson Construction Service; Bank of Zumbrota; StateFarm – Lyle Wendroth; and Midwest Fabrication & Supply.

Faribault County, MN Excited to see the Golden Bubble Return!

Article by: Mary Kennedy

Together, CEDA Team members Annie Leibel and Mary Kennedy worked to help an entrepreneurial couple apply and secure funding for a reminiscent project in Faribault County, Minnesota. Jeff and Ann Erickson had dreams of reopening a former ballroom and steakhouse near Wells, called The Golden Bubble. The Erickson’s first approached the Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA), in February of 2018, which at the time was served by CEDA staff member Mary Kennedy, to inquire about the former Golden Bubble property and the various County and State programs that might assist with the clean-up and demolition related costs. Kennedy worked, and remained in contact with the Ericksons, and anticipated an application to the County EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) in the future to assist with gap financing for the remodeling portion of the project.

At the start of 2019, CEDA staff member Annie Leibel began serving the Faribault County EDA and the project was transferred to her. The Ericksons’ work did not slow down, and their plans for renovation on the building continued to move ahead quickly. Leibel provided technical assistance by reviewing the updated business plan, as well as working through the EDA’s RLF application with the Erickson’s for the costs of the remodel. The plans for construction included a partial demolition, a complete renovation, new mechanicals, a new entryway, service doors for the caterers, and of course a refinished dance floor. The restored venue will be rented out for wedding receptions, parties, and meetings. In April, Leibel presented the Faribault County EDA with an application from the Erickson’s renovation project and the board approved a $100,000 loan for The Golden Bubble! 

CEDA Hosts Quarterly Marketing in the Morning in Caledonia, MN and is Joined by Live Streaming Audience in Blue Earth, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

On May 30th, CEDA hosted its quarterly Marketing in the Morning event at the Wired Rooster in Caledonia, Minnesota. However, this quarter, southeast Minnesota businesses and community members were not the only ones involved in the informational and networking event. This quarter, CEDA held its first ever Marketing in the Morning Live Streaming event in Blue Earth, Minnesota at the new Giant Welcome Center!

Using Facebook Live, a video projector, screen, and portable speakers, an audience in Blue Earth – which is nearly 150 miles from Caledonia – was able to tune into Sunny Prabhakar and Patrick McNally of CWS Inc.’s presentation. Business owners and community members from the Blue Earth area were able to take part in the morning’s networking event and learn valuable information on content generation for social media, alongside Caledonia’s live audience. Blue Earth’s streaming audience was able to ask questions via CEDA staff who communicated throughout the presentation, hear answers to questions asked at the event, and watch the presenter’s slide show.