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

Downtown Business Blitz for #GiveAtHomeMN

Last month the NDDC partnered with Rethos: Places Reimagined to award $4,000 in micro-grants to several Downtown Northfield MN businesses in response to the current COVID-19 crisis. As great as this outcome was, we were overwhelmed with applications for support; business need exceeded supply and some businesses that applied did not receive the financial support they sought.

So, in conjunction with GiveMN’s #GiveAtHomeMN campaign, we’ve created a “downtown business blitz” fundraiser with a goal of raising an additional $2,500 to supplement the initial Rethos funding and support the worthy businesses that were not selected in the first round. If we exceed our goal, we’ll look at opening up an additional round for businesses to apply for support.

Small businesses 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 back into the Downtown Northfield MN business community. And every donation received through GiveMN between May 1-8 will enter the NDDC into hourly and daily drawings for bonus gifts directly to this fundraising campaign!

With your gift of $25, $50, or 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.

Click here to donate now through the GiveMN portal, and thank you for your ongoing support of Downtown Northfield!


NDDC Celebrates Local Recipients of Rethos Business Support Funds

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty and pain caused by COVID-19, eight small businesses in Downtown Northfield will soon receive a boost to their operations.  Thanks to a new program through Rethos Main Streets, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) and other designated Main Street organizations across the state were each allocated $4,000 to help businesses adapt to the new economic environment.

“We are grateful to Rethos for creating this program to support our local business community in such trying times,” said Greg Siems, NDDC Executive Director.  “The NDDC and Northfield in general are fortunate to be a designated Main Street community and to have access to these resources that we wouldn’t otherwise.”

Businesses were invited to apply to support projects that would assist them in operating through or reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Out of seventeen applications from Northfield, eight projects were ultimately selected to receive $500 each:

  • By All Means Graphics—for a digital marketing campaign to promote an online ordering system
  • The Entertainment Guide—for marketing to promote local events and happenings
  • Groundwire / Little Joy Coffee—for website updates to support direct-to-consumer sales
  • Heartwork Yoga Studio—for high-quality wireless headphones for instructors to improve the online class experience
  • The Measuring Cup—for website updates to allow for online shopping
  • Minnesota Soulstice—for improvements and maintenance of an online store
  • Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce—for sidewalk signs to promote foot traffic when MN’s stay-at-home order is lifted.
  • The Rare Pair—for creation and maintenance of an e-commerce site

“All of these businesses are thinking creatively about how to adapt their business models and we are proud to support them in this way,” said Kathleen Holmes, NDDC Board President.  “At the same time, there is clearly a much greater need out there and we encourage all Northfielders to continue supporting local businesses via online ordering, curbside pickup, home delivery, gift card purchases, and all other available methods.  These Rethos funds will help, but businesses ultimately need revenue to survive.”

“As this public health and economic crisis evolves,” Siems added, “the NDDC will continue to research and explore additional grant and fundraising opportunities to support our downtown community.”

Downtown businesses: apply now for emergency support funds!

UPDATE: the deadline for applications has passed and we will be able to announce the fund recipients soon.  NDDC is actively pursuing other options to raise additional funds in order to support another round of applications – stay tuned!

The NDDC, in collaboration with Rethos (MN Main Street), is able to offer a small number of emergency funds to assist local businesses to operate through or reopen quickly following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Businesses can apply to receive up to $1,000 for projects that will enhance their operations during pandemic closures or allow them to have a more robust re-opening.

The application deadline for these funds is 12pm on Wednesday, April 15th.  The total amount of existing funds is limited, so applications will be competitive.  However, Rethos and the NDDC are pursuing other sources of funding that could result in a “second round” of funds becoming available.

Downtown businesses – follow this link to apply!  For the purposes of this program, “downtown” is considered to be the C1 zoning district (see pink area on map).

For more details, please visit Rethos’ page about the program and view the full press release.