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August Spotlight

Welcome our Newest Member!

Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin Robbins
100 Paul Bunyan Drive SE, Bemidji

Dunkin offers 50+ varieties of donuts, premium beverages including coffee, bagels,
breakfast sandwiches. Baskin-Robbins, which operates under the same franchise and
location, offers several ice cream flavors, cakes, pies, bakery treats and more.

Remember to Vote on November 3rd!

Prior to the primaries on August 11th, the Chamber put together a “Meet the Candidates” series which consisted of videos interviewing mayoral candidates running for the candidacy of Bemidji City Mayor. The purpose of this project was to help voters make an informed choice and hear directly from the candidates as to how they intend to serve the Bemidji business community.

As we look to the November election, we will continue to provide resources for our members to learn more about our local candidates and encourage our members to vote on November 3rd.

Chamber Programming

Awards of Excellence and Annual Celebration

Due to COVID-19 precautions, we’ve combined our Annual Chamber Celebration with the Awards of Excellence this year. It will not only be a time to celebrate our members and announce new changes, accomplishments, but also announce the award recipients!

  • New Business of the Year - Sponsored by First National Bank of Bemidji
  • Business of the Year - Sponsored by Bemidji State University
  • Entrepreneur of the Year - Sponsored by LaValley Industries
  • Healthy Workplace of the Year - Sponsored by Sanford Health
  • Community Impact Award, Featuring a Local Non-Profit

We will be filming the presentation of each award in a series of Facebook Live videos
leading up to our Thursday September 24th Annual Celebration event. Watch for
more RSVP and more details to come!

Announcing Board Nominations

The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce nominating committee announces their list of nominees to a three year term on the Chamber Board of Directors. New first term candidates are: Carissa Menefee (Bemidji State University), Bruce Bentfield (First National Bank), Becky Berquist (Choice Therapy), Amanda Sande (Paul Bunyan Communications), Brad Olson (Boy Scouts of America), and Katy Hill (S&J Development).

Additional candidates can be nominated by petition bearing ten signatures of
qualified members of the Chamber.


Such petition shall be filed with the Nominating Committee within ten days after this notice. The determination of the nominating committee as to the legality of the petition(s) shall be filed. If a legal petition presents additional candidates, the names of all candidates shall be arranged on a ballot alphabetical with instruction to vote for four. If no petition is filed within the designated period, the nomination shall be closed and the candidate will begin their term following the Annual Celebration.

Chamber Ambassador Visits

In July, our Chamber Ambassadors visited the following businesses:

  • Table for 7 - New Business
  • Northwoods Pregnancy Center - New Location
  • Karvakko Engineering and Surveying - New Location
  • Northern Minnesota Addiction Wellness Center - New Business
  • Heroes Rise Coffee - New Business

Please join us welcoming and congratulating these local businesses.

Important Information Regarding Renewals

As a recommendation from the board of directors, the Chamber will now
send annual renewals in September. This renewal will be sent electronically,
not mailed. We sincerely hope you will utilize our online portal as it is just one
more benefit of Chamber membership. As always, we are more than willing to
discuss your renewed membership in person. Please contact Abby Randall if
you would like to schedule a visit. Thank you for your continued support!

A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Valued Chamber Members,

The end of August is quickly approaching and soon, the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce will kick off our Annual Celebration, which historically marks the end of our fiscal year. A new beginning. This, my first year as Executive Director, will be categorized as anything but ordinary. To say that it presented change, lessons, and unexpected challenges along the way is an understatement. With change, we’ve also welcomed new perspectives, a new office, a new virtual world, and most importantly the beginning of new relationships.

Our focus this past year encompassed community collaboration and partnerships. One of our biggest highlights, the launch of the Gifts Of Hope Fund, where we were able to create something magnificent out of an unfortunate situation for many businesses. In response to COVID-19, our Bemidji Alliance partners pitched in to create an initiative that injected over $240,000 of funds into our local business economy. With the help of our members, media partners, contributors, the Steve and Jill Hill family, and the community, we did it together.

True to our mission, to advocate and serve our business community, the work didn’t stop there. Your membership allowed us to gather for Zoom Business Roundtables, give local retail and restaurants a voice during the pandemic, sign petitions, engage in state lead coalitions, provide pertinent resources, create COVID business plans and resources, and even distribute 24,000 face masks to our local business community.

I want to take this time to thank all of our members that remained actively engaged this year by attending or leading programming meetings such as our Ambassadors, Young Professionals Network, HR Connections, and/or Bemidji Area Business Women. Thank you for your  adaptability and the work you do to foster quality connections. Lastly, I want to thank our passionate and dedicated leaders that serve as our Board of Directors, who routinely go above and beyond to ensure the success of our organization.

While there is still much work to be done, not to mention exciting new initiatives underway, our community is incredibly fortunate to have a collection of businesses like yours leading the way. Thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to serve your business and the business community.

Stay strong, Bemidji Strong.

Abby Randall
Executive Director

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Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce

Board of Directors and Staff
Ashley Johnson, Northwest Minnesota Foundation - Chair
Caralee Nowak, Pinnacle Marketing Group - Vice Chair
Kelly La Venture, Bemidji State University - Past Chair
Tracy Pogue, Kraus-Anderson - Financial Director
Chad Harding, Edgewater Group
Cindy Todavich, Todavich Electric
Corey Stittsworth, Counselor Realty
Dana Lee, AmericInn of Bemidji
Dave Smith, MJB Home Center
John Svingen, Insure Forward
Kayla Winkler, Sanford Health
Kev Jackson, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting
Mychal Stittsworth, Stittsworth’s Meats
Jordan Anderson, Ultima Bank

Abby Randall - Executive Director

The mission of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce:
To serve our members and advocate for our business community.
A Proud Member of the Bemidji Alliance Family.