Following last month’s devastating fire at the Archer House, the NDDC established a fundraiser through GiveMN to support the businesses and workers affected by the disaster. As of today, 180+ donors from across the country have raised over $18,000 to support our community. Although we still don’t know the full extent of the damage, these funds will make a huge difference in the lives of the businesses and workers who have been displaced. If you were a contributor, thank you. The outpouring of generosity has touched us deeply as well as the business owners, managers, and employees.
Over the past few weeks we’ve had ongoing conversations with the businesses to better understand their needs and future plans as they await decisions from insurance and other assistance options. Unfortunately, three of the four businesses (Chapati, Smoqehouse, and the Archer House Inn + Bar) will not be able to reopen in the near future. Consequently, their share of the funds will go directly to help the employees forced out of work, a plan which was enthusiastically supported by the business owners/managers.
Thankfully, one business (Paper Petalum) is able to forge ahead and has already secured plans to move into the space at 313 Division (formerly Jenkins Jewelers). Their share of the funds raised will go towards their insurance deductibles as well as a deposit on renovations for their new space. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Paper Petalum will continue to be a mainstay on Division Street, hopefully for many years to come!
With time, we can only hope that the other businesses will be able to follow suit. The Archer House was a historic landmark, and simply irreplaceable, but it is ultimately the people who live and work here that make downtown Northfield so great.
Northfielders past and present are invited to attend a free virtual concert and songwriting workshop by Northfield’s own family music duo, Louis and Dan and the Invisible Band. Louis and Dan are recipients of a 2020 Artists on Main Street grant to compose a series of songs about various locations in downtown Northfield, and they need your help! What are your favorite spots downtown? What downtown locations should they immortalize in song? We hope you’ll join us on December 23rd at 10am for singing, dancing, and some collective songwriting about our beloved Northfield. You can register for the concert/workshop now at this link.
You may have seen the local artist David F. Allen painting his magnificent portrait, “The Archer House in All Her Glory,” live on Facebook in the aftermath of the devastating fire.
David is selling commemorative prints and cards of the painting on his website and is generously donating all of the proceeds to our Archer House Relief Fund, which will support the small businesses and workers affected by the fire.
Even more exciting is that David has donated the original canvas as well to be auctioned off to support the fund. The auction will be open until December 1, so take a look and consider your bid today! You can also view the painting in person until 12/1 in the window of By All Means Graphics on Bridge Square.
If you’d like to give directly to the fund, you can donate at GiveMN or purchase one of David’s prints. We’ve already raised over $11,000 thanks to the incredible generosity of our community – thank you!
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, the Archer House River Inn + Bar was devastated by fire. The future of the building is unknown at this time, but it’s clear that the hotel and the other businesses located in the building are going to need financial assistance in the coming days.
The Archer House has been the anchor business of Downtown Northfield for over 140 years and it’s hard to imagine Division Street without this magnificent historic gem. Small businesses like the ones in the Archer House complex–Chapati Indian Restaurant, Paper Petalum, Smoqehouse Restaurant–are the heart and soul of our downtown and we know that many in our community are looking for ways they can help. Every dollar raised from this campaign will go directly to the Archer House Relief Fund.
With your gift of whatever amount is right for you, we can continue delivering on the NDDC’s mission to ensure a vibrant and vital downtown Northfield–now and as we move through the days, months, and years ahead. Over 100 people have already raised more than $8,000 – will you join them?
Every November, the state of Minnesota rallies to support its nonprofits and schools through Give To The Max Day. In addition to the millions of dollars that are generously given every year, the GiveMN organization provides additional prize grants that are randomly drawn and could add up to $10,000 to your donation!
As you know, our community and the world at large is facing a challenge that nobody could have predicted at this time last year, and at a scale few thought possible. The pandemic has disrupted everyone’s best laid plans and forced us to adapt to unpredictable conditions at a rapid pace. Local nonprofits have seen their revenues decrease alongside a surge in demand for their services, and the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is no different.
The NDDC, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is the only organization focused entirely on the health and vitality of downtown Northfield. We serve to fill an important gap by organizing, advocating, and implementing projects to benefit the downtown beyond what others are able to provide, especially in these trying times.
We understand there are countless pressing community needs, and many worthy destinations for your charitable dollars. But we also know that for the 150+ years it took to build Northfield’s historic downtown into what it is today, much of that progress can be wiped away in the relative blink of an eye if we are not vigilant. Many local businesses are struggling to stay afloat, while sales and lodging tax income is down across the board, threatening the quality of future municipal services.
Will you help us raise $20,000 to commemorate our 20th year, fund our day-to-day work, and help the businesses and places that make downtown Northfield so special? The NDDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We’ve listed just a few of our recent activities and accomplishments below, and you can rest assured we will continue to do all we can to support the people and places that make downtown Northfield so great!
NDDC 2019-2020 highlights
Received national accreditation through Main Street America. This means the NDDC is in the top tier of Main Street programs across the country, by demonstrating a commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and a proven track record of successfully applying the four-point (Economic Vitality; Design; Promotion; Organization) Main Street Approach.
Worked with our friends at Rethos: Places Reimagined (who coordinate the Minnesota Main Street program) to distribute $4,000 to help businesses adapt and improve during Covid-19. The NDDC subsequently raised an additional $3,000, which allowed us to support 14 businesses overall on much-needed projects such as e-commerce, in-store technological upgrades, and updated business models.
Partnered with UMN Extension and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation to offer a hybrid learning, 10-week transition planning course specifically designed for small businesses in rural Minnesota. Four Northfield businesses completed the course, which was interrupted by the onset of Covid-19.
Selected the next participants for Artists on Main Street, in this second year and final year of the grant program funded through the Bush Foundation and organized by Rethos and Springboard for the Arts. One project will be a mixed-media sculpture encouraging people to “find the heart of Northfield” by visiting downtown businesses; the other is a series of “musical portraits” that will highlight the most beloved buildings, businesses, and spaces throughout downtown.
Worked closely with the City of Northfield on collaborative projects, including 1) with the Arts and Culture Commission on the recently installed sculpture (entitled “Threshold”) at the west entrance to the Riverwalk; 2) with the Riverfront Enhancement Advisory Committee as they develop recommendations to improve the outdoor spaces in and around downtown; and 3) assisting with outreach and communication to downtown businesses on various topics, such as sidewalk accessibility/safety policies, and the importance of face masks in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Boosted the reach of downtown businesses and organizations to our nearly 5,000 followers on the “Downtown Northfield MN” Facebook page.
Thank you very much for your consideration and support. We are all in this together!
Greg Siems, NDDC Executive Director
Kathleen Holmes, NDDC Board of Directors President