Category Archives: NDDC News

NDDC Becomes Newest Program of Minnesota Main Street

Northfield is the newest Designated Main Street community in Minnesota. The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) applied for designation with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in March and has been accepted into the program at the Big City Affiliate community level. The public is invited to attend a special announcement in Downtown Northfield on June 1, 2018 at 5pm on Bridge Square.

The NDDC collaborates with the City of Northfield, the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Northfield Convention & Visitors Bureau , Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC), the Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA), and local businesses in the community. Downtown Northfield is the heart of the city and includes a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area contains nearly 200 businesses including a diverse mixture of retail, restaurants and service establishments. There is also a vibrant residential community from rentals to condominium properties to retirement living facilities.

Main Street Programs in Minnesota, such as the NDDC, are local, volunteer-driven downtown revitalization programs coordinated by a local staff person. Each program follows the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Four Point Approach® of historic preservation based community development.  The Four Points are Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization which help volunteers to improve the district physically, economically, in its marketing, and to bring enough resources to the effort.

To assist local programs with their work, Minnesota Main Street provides approximately $7,000 in technical assistance funds annually, complimentary training registrations, networking with other communities, and consultation from state program staff. Northfield joins nine other Minnesota Main Street communities: Red Wing, Winona, Faribault, Mankato, New Ulm, Owatonna, Shakopee, Willmar and Wabasha.

Minnesota Main Street is recognized by the National Trust Main Street Center as the official statewide coordinating program in Minnesota and has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. Every year, the Minnesota Main Street program collects reinvestment numbers from each local Main Street community. In 2017, for every $1 spent to run a local Main Street program in Minnesota, $23.77 was reinvested back in to the community. From 2010 to 2017, local Minnesota Main Street communities recorded $61.4 million in public and private financial reinvestment, 147 net new businesses, 772 net new jobs, and 549 property improvements.

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Minnesota Main Street organization and the other nine communities in our state,” said Jenni Roney, NDDC Executive Director. “The networking and resources they provide will be very valuable to us as we work to sustain a vibrant Downtown Northfield.”

For more information about Minnesota Main Street, visit archive.mnpreservation.org.

The Northfield Business & Tourism Center

A long-time goal shared by many in the Northfield business community was recently celebrated at 19 Bridge Square. That’s the home of the new Northfield Business & Tourism Center. Tuesday, February 27, was the Grand Opening party in the new space. Nearly 200 people attended the special event and enjoyed great food and beverages served by the staff of the Ole Store Restaurant, The Tavern of Northfield, and the Grand Event Center. Thanks to proprietor Chuck Prior and Chef Olivier for the wonderful spread!

The Northfield Business & Tourism Center houses the offices of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Northfield, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, Downtown Northfield MN and the Northfield Enterprise Center. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking for information or networking opportunities in the Northfield business community.

The space is also the new home of the Visitor Information Center, a resource containing brochures, maps, visitor guides, business cards and many other publications for visitors. This resource is open 24/7/365. Businesses and organizations that have marketing material like this are welcome to leave it at the center for self-service distribution. Please see the staff during business hours if you have questions.

Stop by the new suite of offices soon and say hi to Todd, Lisa, Jenni and Chris. They look forward to seeing you!

Bridge Square Sports New Lights: Thanks NDDC!!

In anticipation of Winter Walk 2017 and the entire holiday season, the NDDC considered how it might contribute to the festivities in a new way. Conversation turned toward the amenities in Bridge Square and the acknowledgement that the tree lighting array could be better. The call went out for contributions and the call was answered.

As can be seen in the accompanying photos, every tree and lamp post in Bridge Square is now adorned with lights and the cumulative effect is stunning!

In addition to the new lights in Bridge Square, the NDDC is sponsoring the Tree Lighting Ceremony for Winter Walk 2017. Please join us at 5pm in Bridge Square for a brief ceremony followed by the Whoville Christmas Song  sing-a-long from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

Downtown Northfield Taste Tour June 15th

The NDDC will host a food crawl event on Thursday, June 15th from 5-7 pm in Downtown Northfield. The walking Downtown Northfield Taste Tour features small servings of food and drinks at 12 downtown locations. Taste Tour tickets will be sold at Bridge Square starting at 4:45 pm for $1 each and most food samples are priced at 1-4 tickets.

“We want to kick off Summer by inviting everyone to gather downtown to enjoy a taste of our local restaurants,” said Jenni Roney, Executive Director of the NDDC. Stops on the Downtown Northfield Taste Tour include: Cakewalk, Chapati, The Hideaway, Hogan Brothers, J. Grundy’s Rueb-N-Stein, Just Food Co-op, Mandarin Garden, Northfield Olive Oils & Vinegars, Quality Bakery, Smoqehouse and Tandem Bagels. The Northfield Historical Society will be offering Post Consumer Brands cereal samples in conjunction with their new Malt-o-Meal exhibit.

Those who buy samples at four or more stops on the Taste Tour can enter in a drawing to win a two-night stay at The Archer House River Inn in Downtown Northfield or The Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, Iowa. Several retail shops will have Third Thursday specials and the Community Band will give a free concert in Bridge Square at 7 pm.

Smoqehouse Satisfies Eager Customers

This week I went along with a welcoming delegation from the NDDC to pay a visit to Downtown Northfield’s newest dining venue, Smoqehouse. Owners Andy and Heidi Kubes opened Smoqehouse on March 15th at 212 Division St. in the Archer House River Inn and have quickly generated a steady stream of daily patrons. Smoqehouse is a fast casual eatery featuring handcrafted sandwiches with smoked pork, chicken and beef, salads and soups. The café in Northfield is the second location for Smoqehouse. Andy and Heidi located their first restaurant in Faribault, Minnesota in the fall of 2015. Foodie magazine HeavyTable.com called their porchetta sandwich “one of the best sandwiches in the state.” Smoqehouse uses ingredients from local sources like Downtown Northfield’s own Brick Oven Bakery and Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars.

The restaurant occupies the Archer House space formerly used by Bittersweet Café. However, diners who are familiar with the previous tenant won’t recognize the space. Andy told us that they basically gutted the space and rebuilt it from a bare shell, doing much of the work themselves. They separated the kitchen and order counter from the seating areas and traffic seems to flow much more smoothly with the new floor plan.  Future enhancements include craft beer and possibly wine in the coming months. Smoqehouse offers takeout catering and occasionally operates a food truck during the summer as well.

Smoqehouse is open Monday – Saturday from 11am-7pm. They’re closed on Sunday.