Ambassador Visits June 2021
The Ambassadors split up for their first two visits this month. One half of the crew met up with Shelly Weinzetl and Cheree Hoese of Commercial Realty Solutions, located in Buffalo. They have commercial listings all over the extended metro. Shelly joined CRS two months ago after spending 25 years in the business. Cheree has worked with Wayne Elam, the broker for CRS, even before he opened the company in 2008. 70% of their business comes from repeat customers or referrals. They truly value being active in the communities where they do business. One new area of business for them is Business Brokerage – selling or leasing commercial businesses. They also provide seminars for businesses to help them when they are ready to retire or sell their business.
The other half of the Ambassador Team met up with Brett Hardecopf, the Principal at St. John Lutheran School which is located just outside of Elk River in Nowthen. St. John Lutheran School started as a one-room schoolhouse in 1888! They have learners preschool to 8th grade. They had a 60% increase in students over the pandemic, necessitating the hiring of two new teachers, rearranging the school, and losing their library space. They were able to have kids in the building all through Covid and are retaining those new students. They have a summer program which has doubled since last year with over 30 kids attending. They also have Vacation Bible School – this year St. John Lutheran 2021 Rocky Railway VBS June 21 - June 25. When asked what the Chamber could do to help St. John’s, Brett responded, “we need people to know we’re here. Help us spread the word.”
The whole Ambassador Team met back up for the rest of the visits. Brian Olson, the Manager of the Elk River Cinema/Marcus Theatre welcomed us all in. They had been closed for more than fourteen months of the pandemic, reopening on May 21st so we celebrated with a small ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the reopening in style! Things have certainly changed in the movie cinema world in the time they were closed. Marcus Theatres now offers online concession ordering, Private Cinema rental packages, and QR codes on various marketing platforms for more information nearly instantaneously. Many of the favorite offerings will continue – they still have their rewards program, still have retro movies for $5, still have $5 Tuesdays and still offering their Summer Kids Movie Program. When asked how the Chamber can help Marcus Theatre, Brian responded, “keep spreading the word that we are open!” We were able to wrangle the secret for “movie style popcorn” as well.
Our visits for the month concluded with a visit to Salon on Main, owned and operated by Deana McLean. During the pandemic, they took the opportunity to gut and remodel the building with new plumbing and electrical. Deana is a nail technician offering manis/pedis. She is also a reflexologist. The way her space is now set up, she offers studio, room, and retail rental spaces. In addition to Deana, there are currently 7 stylists and a permanent tattoo eyebrow/lip artist. In September, she is adding a massage therapist. Each of those stylists/artists rent space from Deana so they are business owners as well and make their space their own style. Deana rents retail space to the DECA club from September to December/January. This is a great mentoring opportunity for Deana and helps the students learn how to run a business outside of school. The students have provided their own shelving and bring apparel and such from school to sell in a “pop-up shop”. They are completely responsible for all aspects of running the shop – including how to operate the security system and being responsible for keys to the building. Deana offers the front of her shop to other pop-up shop vendors as well – crafters, direct sales marketers, etc.