All posts by Kathleen Holmes

Make Your Business Merry Microgrant

As we move into the bustle of the holiday season (and just in time for Winter Walk on December 8), the Friends of Downtown Northfield are excited to announce a microgrant opportunity for eligible downtown businesses with the Make Your Business Merry Microgrants.

Downtown businesses can apply for reimbursement of up to $100 for exterior or interior seasonal decorations to be on display in their business storefront throughout the winter season.

We want to help businesses enhance their space, attract more customers, and contribute to the overall winter aesthetic of our downtown district. The added bonus is that anything purchased can be used by the business for years to come.

Let us help you get winter (and Winter Walk) ready!

Businesses interested in applying for the microgrant should complete this application form by 4:00 PM, Friday, December 2, 2022.

Selected businesses will be notified by December 3, 2022. Purchases must be made by December 8, 2022 (previous purchases made between November 1 – December 1, 2022, will be considered for reimbursement if original receipts are submitted).

For questions or more information, please email:

Program Details and Criteria

To be eligible to apply, businesses must:

  • Be located in the C1 zoning district (indicated in pink on this map)
  • Be a brick-and-mortar business or nonprofit with a public-facing storefront

Preference will be given to first-floor retail or service businesses that are participating in Winter Walk on December 9.

Additional program details:

  • The Friends of Downtown Northfield will reimburse businesses for purchases of interior or exterior storefront decorations (eligible purchases include holiday lights, window paint, flocking, winter or holiday décor items, and/or materials to create DIY decorations), up to $100.
  • Any items purchased for exterior use must comply with city safety, accessibility and design standards for sidewalks and storefronts and not impede/infringe upon access to any business or residence.
  • Items must be purchased between 11/1/2022 – 12/08/2022.
  • Items purchased will remain property of the business.
  • Businesses will be responsible for the purchase, installation, takedown, and storage of any items purchased.
  • Original receipts must be submitted along with a completed grant report form for reimbursement.

Northfield Downtown Development Corporation Evolves Operations, Rebrands as Friends of Downtown Northfield

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is evolving its identity and announces a rebranding as the Friends of Downtown Northfield.

Over the past year, the organization’s Board of Directors explored how the organization could adapt to better achieve its mission and vision, maintain Northfield’s Main Street America™ accreditation and Minnesota Main Street designation, and thrive as a nonprofit organization that advocates for Northfield’s downtown district.

In late 2021, a collaboration with the City of Northfield greatly strengthened support for Northfield’s Main Street program (previously staffed and managed solely by the NDDC): coordination of the operational elements of the program would sit in the Community Development department, while fundraising for and promotion of Downtown Northfield would sit with the Friends of Downtown Northfield as a stand-alone, but complementary organization.

“We’re excited for the new partnership with the City and the next chapter for our organization,” said Kathleen Holmes, Board President. “We are already seeing great benefits to the collaboration and believe that the next few years are going to be transformational for our beloved downtown. The challenges we face now are different from those faced when the organization began and the time was right for us to evolve all facets of the organization—operations, mission and vision, and brand—to best address them.”

The organization was founded in 2000, and since that time has seen great achievements in fostering the vitality and vibrancy of downtown Northfield—through various arts grants, business grants, design implementation and events. The Friends of Downtown Northfield are committed to continuing that rich history by sponsoring events like the popular summer series of Bridge Square Block Parties and supporting locally owned downtown businesses with micro-grants. The name change signifies a shift to a more broad-based and inclusive community support and love for our downtown district. Adds Holmes, “Who doesn’t want to be thought of as a friend of Downtown Northfield?”

The assistant City Planner, Revée Needham, coordinates the Main Street program, along with serving as staff liaison to the Heritage Preservation Commission. “I’m excited to work with the board and its volunteers to make progress on our shared goals of enhancing downtown,” said Needham. “Together, we will strengthen the connections between the different groups that focus on the design, promotion, and economic vitality of downtown Northfield.”

Northfield became an Accredited Main Street community in 2019. Main Street AmericaTM has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About the Friends of Downtown Northfield

The mission of the Friends of Downtown Northfield is to ensure a vibrant and vital downtown by amplifying the voice of downtown business owners, building owners and other stakeholders. We collaborate with the City of Northfield to use the Mainstreet Approach and fundamentals to accomplish this by focusing on local business issues, being intentional about downtown design, planning and promoting downtown events, and providing targeted fundraising support all for the purpose of driving visitors to the downtown area.

The Friends of Downtown Northfield invites you to follow us on social media (Facebook: @downtownnorthfield, Instagram: @downtownnorthfieldmn) to learn more about upcoming events and organizational updates, to volunteer, and to donate to the organization.

Early Giving is Open for Give to the Max Day 2021!

It’s November and that means it’s the time each year when Minnesotans come together to support non-profits through Give to the Max Day (GTTMD). Give to the Max Day 2021 is scheduled for Thursday, November 18… but you don’t have to wait until then to donate! With each donation made between November 1 and November 18, 2021, you could help the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) win part of more than $100,000 in prize grants through GiveMN. We hope you will consider a gift to the NDDC to support our efforts!

Each year, the NDDC uses the donations received from Give to the Max Day and our broader partnership campaign to support our mission of creating and sustaining a vital and vibrant Downtown Northfield. Last year we used Give to the Max Day to support the businesses and employees impacted by the devastating Archer House fire on November 12, 2020. Through the generosity of hundreds of community members, we raised over $18,000 which made direct and meaningful impact!

This year, we are focusing our Give to the Max Day efforts on connecting with people who might be new to giving to the NDDC–people who might follow us on social media or read our blog but haven’t given in the past. And if you are a long-time donor and you’re reading this, we can’t do what we do without your support. Our hope is that we can count on your support again this year, either through a donation on Give to the Max Day, or through the direct appeal you may have received from us in the mail. Every single donation is valuable to us and our work, no matter the size!

Our goal for Give to the Max Day 2021 is to raise $1,855 to commemorate the year that Northfield became a town. We are confident we can hit this goal and if you want to be a part of that, you can make your donation on our GiveMN site now. These funds will help support our various programs like Artists on Main Street, Bridge Square Block Parties, Northfield’s Riverfront and Bridge Square Enhancements, and our small business micro grants which help support our locally owned & operated businesses that make Northfield unique. The NDDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

We’ll be posting daily next week on our social media feeds to encourage donations to help us reach our goal and hope you’ll follow along as we celebrate the special community in which we live, work, and play. We love Downtown Northfield!

On behalf of our NDDC Board of Directors and volunteers, thank you so much for your consideration and support!