For the first time ever, the annual Main Street Now Conference is happening virtually and is offering a Small Business Day on April 13. This special education track will be filled with content tailored for small business owners — from live, interactive sessions with retail experts to a happy hour with fellow entrepreneurs. A few of the proposed sessions include:
What Brick & Mortar Stores Need to Know About Being Online
Small Business Marketing: Three Ways to Increase Customer Engagement for Physical Storefronts
Shifting Your Business Model: Five Marketing Strategies to Reach Customers Despite the Challenges of COVID-19
Action Steps to Gaining Visibility & Sales in an Increasingly Challenged Marketplace
Big Plans for the Future of Small Business
In an effort to support as many small businesses as possible, Main Street is offering FREE one-day registration to all small businesses located in Main Street America districts (Northfield included). If you are interested in attending, please email NDDC Executive Director Greg Siems to receive the Coupon Code and link for registration. The deadline for this offer is March 22nd.
The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is pleased to offer another round of Business Support Funds thanks to a generous donation from Wings Financial Credit Union. Downtown businesses can apply to receive up to $1,000 for projects and investments that will enhance their operations during the current pandemic. The funds are ultimately limited, but all eligible businesses are encouraged to apply.
Eligible Projects: Marketing, customer and community engagement and relations, unique business specific reopening events, operational upgrades (including technology, online stores, etc.), physical space updates (signs, displays, paint/construction supplies), your time to complete the project.
Ineligible Expenses: Rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, inventory costs, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business, personal expenses (groceries, healthcare, etc.)
The application deadline is 12pm on Monday, March 15th. Questions may be directed to Greg Siems, NDDC Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Additional Criteria for Applicants:
Be located in the C1 zoning district (indicated in pink on this map)
Have fewer than 20 employees (combination of part and full time)
Must be a brick and mortar business or nonprofit
Business may rent or own space
Demonstrate impact: how will the funds benefit or sustain your business during and post-pandemic?
Businesses who received support funds in 2020 are welcome to apply again, but priority consideration will be given to those who did not receive any earlier funds
2020 RECIPIENTS and PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS
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
In order to reach the smallest businesses, Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, February 24 through Wednesday, March 10, 2021. President Biden has also announced additional program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable.
Specifically, on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 a.m. ET, the SBA will establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021.
The City of Northfield is looking to improve access to the Riverwalk on the west side of the river. The City is guided by the recently adopted Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan with goals of enhancing and activating the Riverfront along with promoting economic development and tourism.
Community input can be provided in many ways such as sketching a vision, commenting or choosing from a menu of options to improve the space included on the survey form.
Downtown Northfield businesses can apply for a Façade Improvement Grant from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) between February 1 and March 15.
The Façade Improvement Grant Program is designed to encourage downtown building owners to reinvest in the exterior of their buildings to extend the life of those important structures. The Economic Development Authority will match private investment one-to-one up to $10,000. This is the second year in the three year pilot program. Last year the EDA granted Games N’ Geeks at 302 Division Street $10,000, which leveraged $33,650 in total investment in the building.
“The Northfield EDA is dedicated to investing in our historic downtown. EDA incentives like the Façade Improvement Program are vital to the long-term economic health of Northfield, especially during this devastating pandemic. The Northfield EDA welcomes the opportunity to work with community members to build Northfield stronger,” said Nate Carlson, economic development coordinator.
The grant program is part of the Economic Development Authority’s strategic plan to revitalize downtown Northfield. For more information and to fill out an application, visit the city’s website: ci.northfield.mn.us/edagrant