Positive Attitudes Prevail at Forum

After moving the location less than 24 hours before the event and then experiencing an unexpected snowstorm, we were a little worried about the turn-out at this morning’s Forum. We shouldn’t have underestimated the enthusiasm and energy that so many of the community members have for Northfield’s businesses.

Over 80 people showed up for the Chamber-NDDC Forum on retail strategies at the Grand Event Center. Even more impressive was how hard they worked.

The session began with a presentation by Randy Jennings of Neuger Communications. He shared the work that he’s been doing for the City on the wayfinding signage project. It’s one of the many initiatives already under way to help strengthen retail sales in Northfield.

The crowd then broke into small work groups to discuss the five topics identified before the session and to raise up and write down their ideas. Their intensity and focus were truly impressive and many of them might still be working now if we hadn’t gathered up their work.

Keith Covey, an NDDC Board Member, is already working on the assembly of the ideas into a distributable format. We’ll e-mail it to those present this morning and post it on our website. The Chamber will also be sending it out to their members.

These ideas will also inform the work of the Task Force that is part of the work plan for the EDA, along with the reports, studies and data that have been prepared in the past few years. We should start with the local experts, not reinvent the wheel, and then see if there are any “gaps” in our information. Recommendations on refining our retail support strategies will be steadily offered over the next three or four months and we will be implementing many of the ideas before mid-year.

Thanks again to the Chamber of Commerce, the EDA, the Grand Event Center, the NDDC Board and, especially, all those hardy Minnesotans that showed up and offered their constructive contributions this morning. Together, we will accomplish great things.