What's going on with the Chamber this summer?

And the end of June is upon us. It seems even in our current pandemic status, time stands still for no one or no thing. This month has brought many of our businesses back into working order, including our restaurants and bars, even if only at 50%. We are so excited and happy to have those social connections happening again.

Once again we remind you that as more of our facilities begin to open, we ask for your patience and understanding. Please be considerate as these places and employees are operating under new regulations and guidelines. Be sure to follow their safety protocols and policies, as well as social distancing requirements.

The Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce has continued to advocate for our local businesses with letters or support to the Governor and legislature. Just this week MN DEED announced a $60 million grant program for small businesses, with half of that guaranteed for greater Minnesota businesses. This grant specifically targets those establishments with less than 50 full-time employees to help with COVID related hardships. We encourage all our Sleepy Eye businesses to take advantage of the second round of funding.

We have a had few of our Chamber businesses make purchases of Chamber Certificates for employees and gifts. Remember, even though our office is closed requests for Chamber certificates can still be done via email. If you are in need of certificates please email: director@sleepyeyechamber. com and we can make arrangements for payment and pickup. Chamber certificates are a fantastic way to continue supporting our local businesses, with $73 of every $100 spent at independent business locally re-circulating back through our community. Shopping local triples the economic impact of your money!

Also, it is not too late for replying to the 2020 Census. This can be done online or by phone. The Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. Census results impact our local schools and help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start programs and for grants that support teachers and special education. It also impacts funding for rural programs, public transportation, housing assistance for older adults and to shape decisions for our local community. It also determines how many seats in congress our state gets. Currently 73% of Sleepy Eye residents have responded to this year’s Census, which is just higher than the state percentage of 71%. New Ulm is at 76% and Springfield is at 78%. Go to www.2020Census.gov to add your information to the database.

Finally, our Chamber Board continues looking at ways to celebrate our Buttered Corn Days weekend, even if we cannot gather in the masses like we are used to. From virtual events, Facebook LIVE music and offering corn themed options from our businesses, we still want to commemorate our fifty-nine-year tradition. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for information and sneak peaks at what we have in store and how you can partake.