2012 Freedom Fest Mini-Triathlon

Registration is open for the 4th Annual Freedom Fest Mini-Triathlon that will be held in Pine City on Saturday, June 30th.  The event was created in 2009 under the guidance of Elisa Mill and the effort will continue this year with two local businesses and volunteers heading up the efforts.  Fairview Lakes Pine City Clinic and Anytime Fitness will team up to organize this year’s event while maintaining the family-friendly and fun atmosphere that participants enjoy.

The event consists of a 300 yard lake swim, 12 mile bike ride and 2 mile run/walk.  It was created as an opportunity for residents and visitors to the area to have fun and exercise in a non-competitive arena.  Bikers must have a helmet and swimmers are allowed to use a floatation device if desired.  Individuals may enter and do all three events, or three people may form a team and each person do one leg of the race.

Registration forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce office or online at www.pinecitychamber.com.  A registration fee of $15 per participant along with an original signed registration form must be submitted by June 13th.  All registered participants will receive a triathlon shirt. For more information, contact Becky at (320) 322-4040.

Progressive Mexican Dinner at Pine City Churches

On June 24th , local chruches will be hosting a Progressive Mexican dinner to raise money for A Place for You homeless shelter. It will begin at Immaculate Conception Church with tortilla soup and chips with salsa (served from 5-6:30), then move on to Our Redeemer for enchiladas, salad, and a corn muffin  (served from 5:30 – 7:00), and finish up with dessert and coffee at the Lighthouse (served from 6:00 – 7:30).  Tickets are $10.  Proceeds go the A Place For You, a transitional homeless shelter in Pine city.  Tickets can be purchased at the Flower Box or Cabin Coffee in Pine City.

Reaching Customers in the 21st Century: PANEL Session and Workshop

Throughout the month of June and July, several workshops will be offered to assist business owners develop their online presence. The classes are part of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) Initiative through University of Minnesota Extension office. Over half of the businesses in Minnesota cannot be found on the internet. When businesses lack an online presence, they lose potential customers.  MIRC workshops began as ways to address this disconnect and has already been completed in 18 other greater MN communities.

The first class offered will be part of the PANEL luncheons through the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce. The workshop will discuss the challenges and changes facing businesses today as they work to attract a diverse customer base. Attendees will hear about new trends in internet use and mobile devices, learn about internet-based marketing tools to reach new customers and build loyalty among existing customers. This first workshop will be held on June 20th, from 11:30am -1:00pm. The cost to attend is $15. Please register by Friday, June 15th by contacting the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The second workshop will be hosted completely free of charge! It will be a three hour long, hands-on workshop dedicated to one specific topic. PANEL attendees and interested participants will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite topic from a selection of 14 different choices. The workshops are focused around four different themes. They include: expanding marketing efforts, enhancing business capabilities to sell products to a wider audience, becoming more effective in customer service, and communicating with both current and potential customers. Some workshop choices include ‘Roadside Advertising in a Digital Age’, ‘Google Tools for Business’, ‘Doing Business Online Tourism Style’, and ‘Researching your Competition’. Participants who attend the PANEL lunch will get the first opportunity to sign up for the additional workshop. Workshop will be limited to 25 businesses/organizations and will take place on July 12th, 1-4pm at Pine Technical College.

For more information or to register for one of the classes, please contact the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce, 320-322-4040 or at info@pinecitychamber.com


Little Miss Pine City Ambassador program now taking Applications

The Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce is now taking applications for the 2012-2013 Little Miss Pine City Ambassador Program.  Eligible candidates must be entering the first grade for the 2012-2013 school year and reside within the Pine City School District OR have a parent that owns a business belonging to the Pine City Chamber of Commerce for at least one year and have attended school in Pine City during the 2011-12 school year.

Applications are available at the Chamber office or Cabin Coffees.  All applications are due by Friday, June 15, 2012.  For more information, please contact the Chamber at (320) 322-4040 or by email at info@pinecitychamber.com.

Business Export Summit

On Wednesday, June 27th there will be a business export summit held by GPS45:93 and the East Central Regional Development Commission. The summit is designed to offer information, skills, resources, and contacts needed to successfully export goods and services world wide to grow your business! The summit will be held at the Spirit River Community Center in Isanti.

This event is FREE and open to the publc. For more information and a complete agenda click here. To RSVP call 320-679-4065 x29 by June 25th.

CLC to Host Veterans Career Expo & Celebration

Several thousand veterans are returning to Minnesota over the coming weeks.  The pictures and stories of reunited loved shared by our local media has touched all of us.  CLC now has an opportunity to give back to our veterans.  On Wednesday, June 13, from 4 – 7 p.m., CLC will be hosting a Celebrate Veterans Career Exploration event at our Brainerd campus.  The event is one of many being planned by the Brainerd Lakes Community to help veterans and their families through this time of transition and will provide planning and support that will lead to jobs for vets. 

All veterans and their families in the seven county surrounding region are invited to attend the career exploration event.  The event is expected to draw several thousand veterans and will provide an opportunity for them to explore career options while interacting with area businesses, service providers, and CLC instructors and staff.  It is an excellent way for us to give back to our communities and our veterans. Those veterans wishing to pursue educational options will have an opportunity to speak with admissions staff and enroll at CLC during EZ Enrollment on Thursday, June 28.

At the mid-point of the Career Expo a “Celebration of Veterans” will take place in the Chalberg Theatre.  The celebration will be led by our college veterans, military leadership, and congressional representatives.  During the celebration CLC student veterans will thank all our veterans for their service to our country. 


New VISTA opportunities in Pine City!

Over the next couple of months, VISTA host sites around the state will begin their recuitment process for the 2012-2013 VISTA year. All of the VISTA host-sites located in Pine City and the general East Central MN area are organized by the Initiative Foundation. They recuit and coordinate about 20 sites by providing training for the individual VISTA members and monitoring the overall succes of the site.  For the 2012-2013 year, there will be two new VISTA sites within Pine City. Unfortunately, the Pine City Economic Development Authority/Pine City Horizons will not be renewed for a third year. However, the VISTA sites listed below present a great opportunity for local capicity building for their organizations.

The first new host site is the Pine City Preschool Mobile Learning Bus.  The purpose of this VISTA site is to develop a mobile preschool that will travel around the Pine City School District and deliver  preschool education to at-risk children. These pre-school services will be available at a free or minimal cost to families.

The second host site will be  A Place for You. The VISTA member at A Place for You will be responsible for volunteer recuitment and development. Many of A Place for You’s day-to-day operations will rely on volunteer work and there will also be some volunteer work that supports the individual clients.

For more information or to apply, click on the link above or visit the AmeriCorps website at www.americorps.gov.

Apply for Small Business Consulting!

The Pine City Economic Development Authority has a new opportunity assist local business owners and entrepreneurs. Through a partnership with the MN Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College, the EDA is pleased to present small business consulting as a new resource.

 Having begun in January 2012, two-hundred hours of consulting are available at no-cost to local entrepreneurs. Skills such as business plan development, access to financing, cash flow management, and marketing are available to assist entrepreneurs. Consulting is not just limited to new businesses; existing businesses can take advantage of this service.

The consultants for the Pine City area will be Jill Bolejack. Jill received her MBA in International Business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA. Her experience includes an extensive background in consulting and real estate, and she has been a small business owner herself. She currently teaches business classes at Pine Tech. The EDA is pleased to be partnering with her and the SBDC to offer this opportunity.

For more information, please contact Nathan Johnson, njohnson@pinecitygov.com, 320-629-2575. Or, you can apply online, the application can be found here.

Foreclosure Prevention Counceling

As part of last Thursday’s Housing Forum, one of the panel members spoke about the benefits of Financial Counseling for homeowners.

Ed Nelson, representing MN Home Ownership Center discussed the value of counseling for families.  The Home Ownership Center’s mission is to “promote and advance successful homeownership in Minnesota, with a focus on serving the needs of low- and moderate-income families and emerging markets. At the core of this mission is the belief that lower income households can achieve and recognize the benefits of long-term homeownership if they enter homeownership through the right door—prepared to make wise, informed decisions for their families.”

Together, they work with LSS Counseling to  provide FREE services to families. At the forum, Ed emphasized that a family should never have to pay for financial counseling. He also emphasized that they provide counseling to homeowners at all stages in the ownership process.  Whether individuals are just looking into purchasing a home and aren’t sure how much they can afford, are worried about going into forecloslosure, or have already entered the forclosure process.  He also explained that the earlier a family starts counseling, the better.

More information is located on their website, or by calling (866) 462-6466.

Business Resource Directory

The Central MN Workforce Investment Board has recently released a directory of services and resources for small businesses. The directory which was just released this past January, it covers an 11 county region including Pine County. The resource is described as “A guide to economic development, finance, education, workforce development and government resources in Central Minnesota.”

To access the directory click here or visit their website at www.cmjts.org