All posts by Greg Siems

Downtown Business Blitz for #GiveAtHomeMN

Last month the NDDC partnered with Rethos: Places Reimagined to award $4,000 in micro-grants to several Downtown Northfield MN businesses in response to the current COVID-19 crisis. As great as this outcome was, we were overwhelmed with applications for support; business need exceeded supply and some businesses that applied did not receive the financial support they sought.

So, in conjunction with GiveMN’s #GiveAtHomeMN campaign, we’ve created a “downtown business blitz” fundraiser with a goal of raising an additional $2,500 to supplement the initial Rethos funding and support the worthy businesses that were not selected in the first round. If we exceed our goal, we’ll look at opening up an additional round for businesses to apply for support.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our downtown and we know that many in our community are looking for ways they can help. Every dollar raised from this campaign will go directly back into the Downtown Northfield MN business community. And every donation received through GiveMN between May 1-8 will enter the NDDC into hourly and daily drawings for bonus gifts directly to this fundraising campaign!

With your gift of $25, $50, or whatever amount is right for you, we can continue delivering on the NDDC’s mission to ensure a vibrant and vital downtown Northfield–now and as we move through the days, months, and years ahead.

Click here to donate now through the GiveMN portal, and thank you for your ongoing support of Downtown Northfield!


NDDC Celebrates Local Recipients of Rethos Business Support Funds

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty and pain caused by COVID-19, eight small businesses in Downtown Northfield will soon receive a boost to their operations.  Thanks to a new program through Rethos Main Streets, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) and other designated Main Street organizations across the state were each allocated $4,000 to help businesses adapt to the new economic environment.

“We are grateful to Rethos for creating this program to support our local business community in such trying times,” said Greg Siems, NDDC Executive Director.  “The NDDC and Northfield in general are fortunate to be a designated Main Street community and to have access to these resources that we wouldn’t otherwise.”

Businesses were invited to apply to support projects that would assist them in operating through or reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Out of seventeen applications from Northfield, eight projects were ultimately selected to receive $500 each:

  • By All Means Graphics—for a digital marketing campaign to promote an online ordering system
  • The Entertainment Guide—for marketing to promote local events and happenings
  • Groundwire / Little Joy Coffee—for website updates to support direct-to-consumer sales
  • Heartwork Yoga Studio—for high-quality wireless headphones for instructors to improve the online class experience
  • The Measuring Cup—for website updates to allow for online shopping
  • Minnesota Soulstice—for improvements and maintenance of an online store
  • Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce—for sidewalk signs to promote foot traffic when MN’s stay-at-home order is lifted.
  • The Rare Pair—for creation and maintenance of an e-commerce site

“All of these businesses are thinking creatively about how to adapt their business models and we are proud to support them in this way,” said Kathleen Holmes, NDDC Board President.  “At the same time, there is clearly a much greater need out there and we encourage all Northfielders to continue supporting local businesses via online ordering, curbside pickup, home delivery, gift card purchases, and all other available methods.  These Rethos funds will help, but businesses ultimately need revenue to survive.”

“As this public health and economic crisis evolves,” Siems added, “the NDDC will continue to research and explore additional grant and fundraising opportunities to support our downtown community.”

Downtown businesses: apply now for emergency support funds!

UPDATE: the deadline for applications has passed and we will be able to announce the fund recipients soon.  NDDC is actively pursuing other options to raise additional funds in order to support another round of applications – stay tuned!

The NDDC, in collaboration with Rethos (MN Main Street), is able to offer a small number of emergency funds to assist local businesses to operate through or reopen quickly following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Businesses can apply to receive up to $1,000 for projects that will enhance their operations during pandemic closures or allow them to have a more robust re-opening.

The application deadline for these funds is 12pm on Wednesday, April 15th.  The total amount of existing funds is limited, so applications will be competitive.  However, Rethos and the NDDC are pursuing other sources of funding that could result in a “second round” of funds becoming available.

Downtown businesses – follow this link to apply!  For the purposes of this program, “downtown” is considered to be the C1 zoning district (see pink area on map).

For more details, please visit Rethos’ page about the program and view the full press release.

A message from the NDDC

Dear Friends of Downtown Northfield,

On behalf of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation’s board of directors, I hope you and your families are as well as could be hoped in these unprecedented and challenging times.  In light of the city, state, and nation’s response to COVID-19, I wanted to share a few additional updates regarding the NDDC’s work in the short-term:

NDDC Annual Meeting postponed

Earlier this month we mailed postcard invitations to the NDDC Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for March 31.  It comes as no surprise now, but the meeting has indeed been postponed and we look forward to the time when it is safe and appropriate for us to gather together.  We have great information to share about the work we are doing as a Minnesota Main Street community and the opportunities for all of us on the horizon.

Taste Tour postponed

The Downtown Northfield Taste Tour is a popular and anticipated event that generally takes place every June. Given the uncertainty of when community-based events will be viable again, we are planning on postponing the event to a date later in the summer. We know that bringing the community together in our beautiful downtown to celebrate our resiliency and support our local businesses will be necessary and valuable. We want to work with our downtown businesses and stakeholders to determine the best approach to this annual event to have the greatest impact possible after we make it through these uncertain times.

Artists on Main Street on hold

We are similarly waiting to announce any further information regarding our second year of the Artists on Main Street program, a grant NDDC received to pursue “creative placemaking” projects that will benefit the downtown.  Hopefully the next few weeks will bring more clarity regarding the spread of the virus and our ability to pursue community-based projects.

Stay up to date on downtown news and NDDC initiatives

The easiest way to stay informed of NDDC happenings is to follow us on Facebook (@downtownnorthfield) and sign up for our e-newsletter at  We will continue to share relevant updates and community resources that are available through our partners at the City of Northfield and Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the NDDC’s founding, and now more than ever our commitment to a vibrant and vital downtown Northfield remains at the heart of everything we do. As we move through the challenging months ahead, we hope to stay connected with you and look forward to the time when we can all gather in downtown and celebrate and recognize the resolve of this great city.  If there is anything we can do to help you in the meantime, please do let us know.


Greg Siems

Executive Director