In anticipation of Winter Walk 2017 and the entire holiday season, the NDDC considered how it might contribute to the festivities in a new way. Conversation turned toward the amenities in Bridge Square and the acknowledgement that the tree lighting array could be better. The call went out for contributions and the call was answered.
As can be seen in the accompanying photos, every tree and lamp post in Bridge Square is now adorned with lights and the cumulative effect is stunning!
In addition to the new lights in Bridge Square, the NDDC is sponsoring the Tree Lighting Ceremony for Winter Walk 2017. Please join us at 5pm in Bridge Square for a brief ceremony followed by the Whoville Christmas Song sing-a-long from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
The NDDC will host a food crawl event on Thursday, June 15th from 5-7 pm in Downtown Northfield. The walking Downtown Northfield Taste Tour features small servings of food and drinks at 12 downtown locations. Taste Tour tickets will be sold at Bridge Square starting at 4:45 pm for $1 each and most food samples are priced at 1-4 tickets.
Those who buy samples at four or more stops on the Taste Tour can enter in a drawing to win a two-night stay at The Archer House River Innin Downtown Northfield or The Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, Iowa. Several retail shops will have Third Thursday specials and the Community Band will give a free concert in Bridge Square at 7 pm.
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.
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:
And shoppers discover one-of-a-kind treasures in our quaint storefronts:
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.
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.
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 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!