Category Archives: Downtown news

Quarterback Club celebrates a half-century!

On Monday, September 10, members of the NDDC Board paid a visit to the Quarterback Club in Northfield to congratulate owner Dale Finger on the 50th anniversary year of the restaurant. We had a fine time listening to stories of the restaurant’s history and taking pictures for posterity.

Kris Layman, Jenni Roney, Krin Finger, Dale Finger, Dan Bergeson, Angela Humann

The Quarterback Club was originally part of a 20-store franchise organization that was founded by a group of Minnesota investors including some of the early Minnesota Vikings football players. The Northfield store was opened in the spring of 1968. Dale started working there as a high school student ten years later and eventually bought the restaurant in the early 80s. He’s had a successful 40-year run with no end in sight. He told us that many folks predicted his demise with the explosion of fast food restaurants in Northfield during the 80s and 90s.

First, they said that Kentucky Fried Chicken would do him in. Didn’t happen. Then they said that McDonald’s would sink him. Nope! Next, Hardee’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. He survived them all. Kentucky Fried Chicken even opened a second time in Northfield just a couple of years ago. That didn’t work out so well either. They closed less than 12 months into their run.

Krin Finger, Dale Finger

Dale told us that his secret to success can be found in the following four words: “Good food. Good service.” Perhaps another reason is the dedicated service of his employees. We learned that Steve and Lorie Estrem have worked at the restaurant for more than 45 years! They started at the Quarterback Club before Dale did and they stayed with him after he became their employer. That’s an amazing commitment!

Back: Dale Finger, Steve Estrem Front-June Edwardsen, Lorie Estrem

Carleton Grads Launch New App for Businesses

Northfield businesses now have a new way to connect with local college students. Recent Carleton graduates Liam Bradney, Ammar Babar, Aman Panda and Max Mattessich have designed a digital coupon app aimed at increasing the engagement between local businesses and college students in Northfield.

The app is called Recoup and it will launch in September when Carleton and St Olaf students return to campus. They are offering a free month trial for all businesses. For more information, email recouptech@gmail.com or visit https://recouptech.com/businesses.html

photo courtesy of recouptech.com

NDDC Becomes Newest Program of Minnesota Main Street

Northfield is the newest Designated Main Street community in Minnesota. The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) applied for designation with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in March and has been accepted into the program at the Big City Affiliate community level. The public is invited to attend a special announcement in Downtown Northfield on June 1, 2018 at 5pm on Bridge Square.

The NDDC collaborates with the City of Northfield, the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Northfield Convention & Visitors Bureau , Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC), the Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA), and local businesses in the community. Downtown Northfield is the heart of the city and includes a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area contains nearly 200 businesses including a diverse mixture of retail, restaurants and service establishments. There is also a vibrant residential community from rentals to condominium properties to retirement living facilities.

Main Street Programs in Minnesota, such as the NDDC, are local, volunteer-driven downtown revitalization programs coordinated by a local staff person. Each program follows the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Four Point Approach® of historic preservation based community development.  The Four Points are Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization which help volunteers to improve the district physically, economically, in its marketing, and to bring enough resources to the effort.

To assist local programs with their work, Minnesota Main Street provides approximately $7,000 in technical assistance funds annually, complimentary training registrations, networking with other communities, and consultation from state program staff. Northfield joins nine other Minnesota Main Street communities: Red Wing, Winona, Faribault, Mankato, New Ulm, Owatonna, Shakopee, Willmar and Wabasha.

Minnesota Main Street is recognized by the National Trust Main Street Center as the official statewide coordinating program in Minnesota and has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. Every year, the Minnesota Main Street program collects reinvestment numbers from each local Main Street community. In 2017, for every $1 spent to run a local Main Street program in Minnesota, $23.77 was reinvested back in to the community. From 2010 to 2017, local Minnesota Main Street communities recorded $61.4 million in public and private financial reinvestment, 147 net new businesses, 772 net new jobs, and 549 property improvements.

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Minnesota Main Street organization and the other nine communities in our state,” said Jenni Roney, NDDC Executive Director. “The networking and resources they provide will be very valuable to us as we work to sustain a vibrant Downtown Northfield.”

For more information about Minnesota Main Street, visit archive.mnpreservation.org.

Division Street Closed from 6th to 8th Beginning April 30

7th and Division–before

The City of Northfield will begin the reconstruction of Division Street between 6th St and 8th St on Monday, April 30. Washington St. will be the marked detour route. Read on for more details about the this summer’s entire downtown streets project. Bookmark the following link on the City’s website for complete information and updates .

Stage 1- Division Street from Sixth Street to Eight Street
Crews expect to begin work on Stage 1 on Monday April 30, 2018. Work expected next week include the closure of Division Street to thru traffic from Sixth Street to Eighth Street first thing Monday morning. A detour will be posted around the closure utilizing Washington Street. Additional work included next week will be bituminous and concrete street removals, curb and gutter removals, and driveway removals. Crews expect to begin utility installations the week of May 7.

Stage 2 – Seventh Street from Water Street to Washington Street
Staff also held individual meetings with the affected property owners on Stage 2 late this week to discuss the proposed schedule submitted by the contractor, and the affect to each individual property. The contractor expects to begin work on Stage 2 sometime mid-July, when Stage 1 is complete.

Stage 3 – Washington Street Mill and Overlay and Parking Lot Construction
No work is scheduled on Stage 3 until late July. Staff will send letters requesting property owner meetings on Stage 3 once construction is closer to beginning.

Nate Becker, City of Northfield, will be the project representative. Nate can be reached by phone at (507) 291-6490 or via email at Nate.Becker@ci.northfield.mn.us

7th and Divison-after

The Northfield Business & Tourism Center

A long-time goal shared by many in the Northfield business community was recently celebrated at 19 Bridge Square. That’s the home of the new Northfield Business & Tourism Center. Tuesday, February 27, was the Grand Opening party in the new space. Nearly 200 people attended the special event and enjoyed great food and beverages served by the staff of the Ole Store Restaurant, The Tavern of Northfield, and the Grand Event Center. Thanks to proprietor Chuck Prior and Chef Olivier for the wonderful spread!

The Northfield Business & Tourism Center houses the offices of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Northfield, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, Downtown Northfield MN and the Northfield Enterprise Center. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking for information or networking opportunities in the Northfield business community.

The space is also the new home of the Visitor Information Center, a resource containing brochures, maps, visitor guides, business cards and many other publications for visitors. This resource is open 24/7/365. Businesses and organizations that have marketing material like this are welcome to leave it at the center for self-service distribution. Please see the staff during business hours if you have questions.

Stop by the new suite of offices soon and say hi to Todd, Lisa, Jenni and Chris. They look forward to seeing you!