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Reopen Bemidji, Responsibly

Bemidji, MN – May 4, 2020 – While the effects of COVID-19 are directly impacting all of us, our local business community is particularly being hit the hardest. For many of our Bemidji area business owners, the inability to open their doors and serve our community has severely limited not only their livelihood, but it is endangering our local economy.

The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes this and is actively working with local, state and federal partners to find a safe solution for our businesses to reopen their doors.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is hosting a call with Governor Walz this week and as a federation partner, the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) will be a part of that call. “Businesses throughout the state are preparing to fully return to work and taking steps to do so responsibly – we urge our local businesses to do the same,” said BACC Chair Ashley Johnson. “The Minnesota Chamber plans to urge the governor to continue to recognize that businesses can and have designed plans for safe work environments and we will encourage him to allow more businesses to return to work as soon as possible.”

The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce is here to help our members and will be creating materials to help businesses with a plan to comply with proper COVID-19 reopening efforts. The information will be available on the Chamber’s website under the COVID-19 resource section. We are confident that the members we represent are fully capable of following these measures, all while caring for the lives and health of our community.

“The Board of Directors know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Executive Director Abby Randall. “Our advocacy efforts continue to be our top priority. If business owners have questions or requests, we encourage them to get in touch with us. We want our weekly Roundtable discussions to help business owners to get actionable insight and information to navigate important government programs and to keep their businesses running during this unprecedented time. We also want it to be a time for peer-to-peer support.”

The Bemidji Area Chamber encourages community members to continue to support our locally owned businesses by ordering takeout or delivery from area restaurants or through the purchase of gift certificates or donations through the Gifts of Hope Fund. These programs, in partnership with our Bemidji Alliance partners, have shined a positive light on the amazing community in which we live. “We would like to thank the Steve and Jill Hill family for helping kickstart the Gifts of Hope Fund, as well as the many other sponsors and volunteers that have made this initiative possible,” said BACC Chair Ashley Johnson.

For more information about the resources the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce is offering, visit www.bemidji.org. For more information regarding the Gifts of Hope Fund, visit www.bemidjialliance.org.

Announcement of Changes for 2020

Bemidji, MN - January 16, 2020 – As of February 1, 2020 the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) will no longer be located at 300 Bemidji Ave. N, the Tourist Information Center. After thoughtful consideration, the board of directors has entered into a lease agreement with Greater Bemidji at the Mayflower Building.

The Mayflower Building has become a central meeting place for many in our business community. It is a prime area for greeting and assisting new start-ups as well as an easy access location for our existing members to meet with us.

In conjunction with the move, the Chamber will no longer manage and staff the Tourist Information Center (TIC). The Chamber has proudly served as the formal greeter for area visitors and will always appreciate the many years we were able to provide this service to the community.

“This was not a swift decision, after much deliberation the board believes this decision will allow us to dedicate time and resources to our membership,” said Ashley Johnson, Chair. “We cannot thank Carol Olson and Dean Beattie enough for their dedication to the Chamber and hard work at the TIC. We also appreciate other staff and the many volunteers who have worked at the visitor center.”

Carol Olson and Dean Beattie’s last day will be March 1st. Please stay tuned for a celebration in honor of Carol and Dean.

The doors of the TIC will remain open to the public under the guidance of the City, and the Chamber’s Paul and Babe memorabilia will remain.

There is tremendous value in the unity and passion that a membership-driven organization creates, and the direct impact a Chamber has on the vitality of our community’s economy. As members ourselves, the board of directors wants nothing more than to strengthen and grow our Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

We will continue to welcome new businesses to our community and adhere to our mission to serve our current membership and advocate for our business community.