Northfield EDA launches e-commerce grant program

The Northfield Economic Development Authority recently approved a $15,000 grant program for restaurants, eateries and retail shops in Northfield to help them build their online commerce presence.

Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible to receive a grant for 50% of costs associated with e-commerce investment up to $1,500.

This is a first-come, first-served reimbursement program.  Applications are due by June 30th.  More details can be found at and a Spanish version of the information here.

Updates for downtown bars and restaurants

With restaurants, bars, and other eateries poised to re-open on June 1, the City of Northfield is asking local businesses to submit their plans to the Community Development office, especially regarding outdoor seating and service:

“Businesses considering outdoor service areas, should prepare detailed plans for their outdoor space and include accurate and scaled measurements of tables, chair locations, aisle widths, perimeter dimensions and access controls for outdoor service. For downtown businesses that may want to include use of public right-of-way, they should prepare plans that include these details and clearly identify the space they may need for viable operations, while still maintaining access for other businesses.”

Check out the full press release here for more info, and we’ll see you Downtown soon!

Announcing Artists on Main Street 2020-2021!

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC), the Northfield Arts Guild, and the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission (ACC) are pleased to announce the next round of the Artists on Main Street program!

For more information about the 2020-2021 program, please see this info sheet.  You can also download this year’s application here.  Applications are due by July 17th and projects must be complete by May 31, 2021.   An informational webinar will be held on Friday, June 5th from 11:30am-1:30pm for anyone interested in learning more about the program.  More details about the webinar will be shared soon in an event on NDDC’s Facebook page.

The NDDC was selected in Fall 2018 to participate in the Artists on Main Street program (AOMS), a three-year community development initiative offered through Rethos: Places Reimagined and Springboard for the Arts, with support from the Bush Foundation. The program explores the intersection of arts and culture, downtown revitalization, and historic preservation by investing in “creative placemaking” projects within a defined area of a community.  Creative placemaking has many different definitions, but could be simply described as using art and other creative activities to make positive physical, economic, and social impacts within a particular place or community.

The overarching goals of Northfield’s program include:

  • Providing art and creative placemaking experiences that draw people to shop, dine and connect in Downtown Northfield;
  • Enhancing the downtown’s aesthetics through the creativity of our local artists;
  • Utilizing the arts as a springboard for improving diversity and inclusiveness in Downtown Northfield across all cultures.

Northfield’s first year of involvement (2019) in the program was a rousing success, with ten projects funded under the theme of Connections/Conexiónes – highlighting the physical and cultural divides that too often get in the way of a thriving community.  These projects included musical performances, poetry readings, spoken word events, pop-up art installations, and one large cement shark.

In this second year of Northfield’s program, we are looking to support creative placemaking projects under the theme: “Visions of Northfield’s Future.”  Artists and creatives can apply for up to $10,000 to support projects that might, for example, address concepts such as evolving demographics and increasing cultural diversity; climate change or the environment/ nature in general; the impact of technology and digital life on physical communities; or many others besides.  We encourage all applicants to think broadly and make a case for your vision.  Preference will be given to projects that embody a positive vision of the future, in accordance with the principles of creative placemaking – think of adjectives such as welcoming, delightful, whimsical, thought-provoking, and so on.

Upcoming webinars of interest

Perhaps a small silver lining of the current situation is the growth in free resources on all kinds of interesting and useful subjects.  Check out a few of these that are coming up soon:

May 20th from 1-2pm     For those interested in historic preservation and property development, Erin Hanafin Berg (Rethos: Places Reimagined) will be a featured panelist on an upcoming webinar highlighting the challenges and opportunities of working within historic districts.

June 16th, 9am-12:15pm     For small businesses and other organizations, marketing is more important now than ever.  The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has organized a training called “Make Marketing Matter” for individuals seeking competitive advantages in this time of change and uncertainty.

Staying safe in our “new normal”

Even with the Governor’s stay-at-home order lifting tomorrow, there remain many questions about how we as a community can safely resume our day-to-day activities.  There are many great resources out there for businesses, employees, and communities to consider, but we wanted to share at least a few here that we found to be interesting and helpful.  Check them out and be well!

From MN DEED: Safely reopening and returning to work: What businesses and workers need to know

From MN Retailers’ Association: Guidelines For Retailers Re-Opening

From Main Street America: Reopening Safely: Helpful Tips for Community Leaders and Small Business Owners