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
Our last post highlighted the new sculpture that was just installed downtown at the corner of Division and 6th. But did you know that it is much more than just a sculpture? Take a look at the poster below for more info on how you can get involved in this fantastic, and much needed, community project.
As we announced earlier this year, Artists on Main Street is moving forward with two exciting projects. The first, we are happy to report, is already well underway! Local glass artist Geralyn Thelen and metal artist Dale Lewis collaborated to create “Spreading the Love,” a magnificent sculpture that was just installed near the corner of Division and 6th Streets.
“The tree is a symbol of life,” said Thelen, and “the leaves are heart shaped to represent love.” More importantly, she added, the leaves are multicolored to demonstrate that “all are welcome in our community.”
In addition to the sculpture itself, Thelen will create a corresponding 6-inch heart for every interested downtown business, creating a scavenger hunt and encouraging participants to “find the heart” of Northfield while learning more about the wide variety of businesses that make downtown Northfield so vibrant. Be on the lookout for more info on how you can participate!
As we announced earlier this summer, the NDDC was awarded a grant through the Southeastern MN Arts Council (SEMAC) to purchase and install a sculpture at the west entrance to the Riverwalk, in collaboration with the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission. We had planned an in-person dedication ceremony, but decided to shift gears due to Covid concerns. Instead, with the help of Northfield Public Broadcasting, we produced a short video to commemorate this spectacular piece of art and the people involved in making it happen. It turned out great, and we hope you enjoy watching!
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.