Let’s Make Downtown Northfield “America’s Main Street”

We need your help. Downtown Northfield has been nominated to become “America’s Main Street” in a contest run by a non-profit organization called Independent We Stand. What’s the payoff you ask? $25,000!! The Stihl Company is sponsoring the cash and other prizes for the winner. The public can vote once a day from now until April 24, 2017. After that, there will be another round of voting for 25 semi-finalists.

Friends of Downtown Northfield can go to America’s Main Street website, find the “Downtown Northfield” profile and click on the “vote” button. Everyone is also encouraged to share this voting opportunity with all contacts in their social and professional networks, especially their contacts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are share buttons for these platforms on the Downtown Northfield profile on the America’s Main Streets contest website. Make sure that you vote every day and tell your friends to do the same!

Smoqehouse Satisfies Eager Customers

This week I went along with a welcoming delegation from the NDDC to pay a visit to Downtown Northfield’s newest dining venue, Smoqehouse. Owners Andy and Heidi Kubes opened Smoqehouse on March 15th at 212 Division St. in the Archer House River Inn and have quickly generated a steady stream of daily patrons. Smoqehouse is a fast casual eatery featuring handcrafted sandwiches with smoked pork, chicken and beef, salads and soups. The café in Northfield is the second location for Smoqehouse. Andy and Heidi located their first restaurant in Faribault, Minnesota in the fall of 2015. Foodie magazine HeavyTable.com called their porchetta sandwich “one of the best sandwiches in the state.” Smoqehouse uses ingredients from local sources like Downtown Northfield’s own Brick Oven Bakery and Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars.

The restaurant occupies the Archer House space formerly used by Bittersweet Café. However, diners who are familiar with the previous tenant won’t recognize the space. Andy told us that they basically gutted the space and rebuilt it from a bare shell, doing much of the work themselves. They separated the kitchen and order counter from the seating areas and traffic seems to flow much more smoothly with the new floor plan.  Future enhancements include craft beer and possibly wine in the coming months. Smoqehouse offers takeout catering and occasionally operates a food truck during the summer as well.

Smoqehouse is open Monday – Saturday from 11am-7pm. They’re closed on Sunday.

Brick Oven Bakery’s Dean Christensen is happy with their move to Downtown Northfield

It’s been about 18 months since owner Dean Christensen moved the Brick Oven Bakery (BOB) from Professional Drive and expanded it at The Crossing in Downtown Northfield.

Dean Christensen, owner, Brick Oven Bakery (BOB)

I interviewed him last week about his rationale for the move and the results:

00:00-02:15: What about BOB (the acronym for Brick Oven Bakery)?

02:15-05:10: What was the rationale for the move and the results thus far?

05:10- 06:00: Where have your new retail customers primarily come from: Hwy 3, downtown, or the colleges?

06:00-7:30: What’s been the evolution of Friday Pizza Night and live music?

07:30-09:05: What impact on your business do you foresee with Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott Hotel to be constructed this year at The Crossing and Tanzenwald Brewing Company opening soon across Hwy 3?

09:05-10:05: What’s up with your weekend specials?

10:05-11:10: Tell us about The Band of 10,000 Aches

11:10-11:58: Closing comments

Photo album:

Connect with the NDDC and Create Community in Downtown Northfield

I grew up in a small town where life centered around main street. We celebrated annual events and festivals, drawing generations of townsfolk to find connection in the center of our community. After living in five states and one foreign country I realized that places like my hometown are rare and special treasures. Then in 2009, my husband’s job interview at Malt-O-Meal (now Post Consumer Brands) brought us to Northfield as the sidewalk sales of Crazy Daze were in full swing. I watched friendly people shopping in a charming, lively downtown, chatting and eating giant donuts together—and I knew this was the town for us.

Downtown Northfield is where we come together. Cyclists gather here before and after their rides:

Bikers on Bridge Square

Families enjoy a breakfast pastry as they stroll through the Riverwalk Market Fair:

Riverwalk Market Fair

Visitors learn about Northfield’s courageous history as the townspeople chase the James Gang out of town:

Bank raid: Defeat of Jesse James Days

And shoppers discover one-of-a-kind treasures in our quaint storefronts:

Shopping in downtown Northfield

The NDDC works alongside our community partners to bring people together downtown. We create connections between downtown business owners, building owners, local organizations and city staff as we fulfill our mission of sustaining a vibrant downtown.

Since I began as the NDDC Executive Director in January, I’ve been meeting with many of the people who help make our downtown the thriving heart of our community. I have heard fond memories of Downtown Northfield from people like Dennis Thomas. He watched his uncle run the local market as a child in the 1940’s and later ran the business himself.

We’ll be sharing the latest stories, news and upcoming events from Downtown Northfield here on our blog and via our social media posts: our Downtown Northfield Facebook page, our Downtown Northfield Twitter feed @downtownnfdmn, and our Downtown Northfield Instagram feed @downtownnlfdmn.

You’ll hear from me, Board President Dan Bergeson and Social Media Consultant Griff Wigley. Griff is well-versed in all things downtown—in fact you might spot him as he bikes to his “office” at a table inside Tandem Bagels:

Mountain biker and social media consultant Griff Wigley

It’s an exciting time in Downtown Northfield! Connect with us as we celebrate our unique history, enjoy our vibrant present and look forward to a hopeful future together.

NDDC Relaunches Its Downtown Northfield Blog

Welcome back! We here at Downtown Northfield are rebooting the blog that was published on this site for many years. For a number of reasons, the blog has recently been dormant, but 2017 seems to be a good year to make it come alive again.

The site will publicize upcoming events and issues of relevance to the Downtown Northfield community, and will also go behind the scenes and discover the fascinating stories of the people who own and work in the buildings and businesses in the district.

NDDC Executive Director Jenni Roney
Jenni Roney

The first person we want to introduce is Jenni Roney, the new Executive Director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC).

Jenni operates Wordsmith Marketing & Design, a graphic design and strategic marketing company located in Northfield.  Previously, she was the Marketing Coordinator for the Northfield Area Family YMCA during the inaugural year in its newly opened facility. Prior to that she was an advertising consultant for Huckle Media, a multi-media company based in Michigan and former owner of the Northfield News.

Jenni began work in her new role on January 1, 2017. She has spent the first few days of her tenure getting to know business owners, Northfield city staff and elected officials, and the other economic development partners in Northfield: the Northfield Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Northfield Economic Development Authority, and  the Northfield Enterprise Center.

Jenni will be a contributor to the Downtown Northfield blog along with Griff Wigley, NDDC social media consultant. I’ve been involved with the NDDC for more than a decade and am currently on the Board of Directors so I plan on writing a post now and then myself. Stay tuned for more NDDC news!