For our twelfth monthly business visit for 2010, the NDDC board dropped in at Premier Bank, located just up the east block of 5th Street from Division. It’s so close to the Rueb’N’Stein that “J. Grundy” didn’t even have to put on a jacket.
Although we had scheduled the visit with local Vice President Travis Nettum, we were fortunate that President (and third-generation family-owner) Casey Regan was in town for the morning. We got to hear about both the local branch and the Minnesota system.
The bank started in 1974 with a location in Maplewood. There are now 20 banks throughout this part of Minnesota, with multiple branches in the Twin Cities and Rochester.
Both Travis and Casey said they were really impressed with the amount of economic activity in a small town in southern Minnesota. They said that “south of the river” communities are often overlooked but there is a surprising and substantial degree of independence from the metro area.
As for what they like about Northfield, they said it is an unusually welcoming community, commercially, residentially, and socially. They noted how many invitations new-comers receive from community groups. As a result, they say that businesses are well-networked, both formally and informally in Northfield.
When asked about challenges they face in Northfield, they immediately brought up commercial property taxes. With their wide variety of locations in Minnesota, they see a variety of situations. They say that high commercial property taxes often lead to high small business turnover in communities.
They appreciate that the NDDC is a voice and advocate for the business community, on the commercial property tax and other issues. They also encouraged us to continue creating and supporting events that bring people downtown. Finally, they said they’d consider working with the city and the community to increase the availability of parking.
Premier Bank would like to have a bigger footprint in Northfield. Times are currently challenging for banks, Premier has reduced their employee count by 40% during this recession. However, when the macroeconomics permit, they’d appreciate political support for their expansion locally.