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  • November 23, 2020 12:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    love local logo

    Businesses are an essential part of what makes communities thrive, and local businesses need our support now more than ever. In response to the challenging economic impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses, Hennepin County is working with 11 cities to roll out the Love Local Initiative, an effort using county-allocated CARES Act funding to encourage people to shop at their local business districts while following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

    One component of the effort is a marketing campaign encouraging people to support their small businesses while reducing the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 by:

    • Shopping online when possible
    • Ordering takeout from local restaurants
    • Shopping with one person per household at a time
    • Always properly wearing a mask
    • Maintaining social distance

    The love local initiative is also coordinating public space improvements to help with COVID-19 safety and overall shopping experience including outdoor heaters, hand sanitizing stations, and more.

    As public health guidance continues to change, the Love Local Initiative is responding as quickly as possible to be consistent with the latest COVID-19 public health recommendations and guidelines.

    Learn more about the initiative
    View the latest safety guidelines

  • November 23, 2020 12:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    gym owner with mask

    The rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Minnesota has required new public health measures to reduce the spread of the virus, including restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms, and other fitness, event, and entertainment venues.

    Starting Monday, November 23, businesses can apply for new grant funding to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    • Businesses that have not previously received Hennepin County Small Business Relief funds can apply for grants up to $15,000.
    • Businesses that have received Hennepin County Small Business Relief funds can apply for additional grant funds up to $10,000.

    Eligible businesses:

    • Restaurants/food service establishments
    • Bars/drinking places
    • Fitness centers/gyms
    • Event and entertainment venues

    View additional criteria


    • Application opens on Monday, November 23, at noon
    • Apply by Tuesday, December 1, at noon
    • The application and materials will be posted on our small business relief page

    Additional information:

  • November 23, 2020 10:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Marketing professionals have pivoted how they reach customers this year, and with the new dial-back in place, it is critical for our small businesses to continue finding new ways to connect. The three most common changes marketers are making include:

    1. Changing up the Marketing Messages

    2. Increasing investment in digital marketing

    3. Pivoting to new marketing channels

    What are you finding success with? Help out and get ideas for yourself and share in the forums what has been working for you.

  • November 17, 2020 9:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    No matter what business you're in, the pandemic has required you to reconsider your sales and marketing strategies. Tomorrow (11/18), CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Chase for Business and Oracle NetSuite, will discuss how to best serve customers whose habits and preferences have increasingly moved online. Whether you have pivoted to online sales, are responding to a changing customer base, need to tackle your long-term digital sales strategy, or are considering launching an e-commerce business, you’ll learn timely information to address these challenges and opportunities head-on. Click here to register for this complimentary event. 
    At CO—Blueprint: Maximizing Your Online Sales, Jeanette Mulvey, Content Director at CO—, will gain insights from experts and small business owners alike on how to: 

    • Prioritize the three most important considerations a small business should make when adopting e-commerce as a core business function. 

    • Build long-term strategies for e-commerce by thinking about how your business will operate even post-pandemic.

    • Gain customer loyalty, knowing the competition is fighting just as hard for new customers.  

    This is a topic that businesses in various industries and of all sizes will find valuable. Please include a colleague at this link, we'd be happy to host them too. I hope you'll join us tomorrow for this timely conversation - and please don't hesitate to reach out in the meantime. 

    Talk soon, 
    Alex Thorne 
    CO— Events Team 
    CO— Blueprint: Maximizing Your Online Sales
    Wednesday, November 18 
    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET  

    Click here to register (and here to refer a colleague). 

    • Bunnie Hilliard, Owner, Brave and Kind Books  
    • Chris McCasland, Founder, City Bonfires 
    • Matthew Rhodus, Senior Director Strategic Initiatives, Oracle NetSuite
    • Vivian Sayward, Founder and CEO, Vivacity Sportswear
    • Jeanette Mulvey, Content Director, CO— 

  • November 10, 2020 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    With Covide cases rising and hospitals reaching capacity, the Governor is announcing new restrictions today. They will be effective on this Friday at 10 p.m. Key factors:
    • close bars and restaurants at 10 p.m. (takeout service may continue later)
    • reduction in total capacity in bars and restaurants to either 150 people or 50%
    • Group gatherings will be limited to 10 people, indoors and outdoors, from no more than three households. 3 households or less. Must maintain social distancing, wear masks.
    • 25 person limit to celebrations (weddings, funerals, etc). Must end by 10 p.m.

    Watch Live on the 2PM Announcement:

  • October 12, 2020 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Simplified Forgiveness Paperwork for Those with Up to $50,000 in PPP Funding.

    Late last week, the federal government announced a new forgiveness application for businesses that received up to $50,000 in PPP funding. The new paperwork includes 1 page of required information and a second page of optional information to apply for forgiveness. As recommended in the past, please consult with the institution that issued your PPP funds on whether to file now or wait, and which application should be used.

  • October 08, 2020 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guidance recently updated

    Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening Restaurants and Bars updates include the following changes related to party size:

    • Limit party size in dining rooms to 10 people.
    • Limit party size in bar areas to 4 persons.
    • Require patrons in all areas to be seated.

    Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events updates clarify the current requirements and includes:

    • Dancing is not recommended at events and celebrations.
    • Require everyone to wear face coverings while dancing, if the event includes dancing.
    • Require social distancing between people from different households while dancing.

    Review and follow the updated guidance

    Review and follow the new requirements for party size in the Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening Restaurants and Bars.

    Bar and restaurants that are open for regular food and beverage service may not allow customers to dance.

    Bars and restaurants that host events and celebrations must follow the recommendations for dancing found in the Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events. Only consider an in-person celebration or event if planners and participants can commit to social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people from different households at all times and wearing face coverings throughout the celebration or event. The guidance now clarifies that everyone must wear a face covering while dancing.


  • September 29, 2020 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     man shopping in supermarket with mask on

    The US Chamber shared an article about the 5 biggest consumer behavior trends developing due to the pandemic, going beyond increased online shopping and giving you insight into reaching customers where they are at now. Read More.

  • September 28, 2020 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Attention restaurants and bars

    Be on the lookout for potential scammers targeting restaurants and bars claiming establishments owe a fine for masking violations.

    What you should know

    The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has become aware that restaurants are receiving calls indicating that their businesses were part of a scheduled compliance check, and that they owe a fine for masking violations. In a recent incident, none of the state agencies involved in the ongoing enforcement efforts had conducted a compliance check in the area.

    What you can do

    To protect your business from this scam, be aware that MDH or local public health agencies will work with you over a series of inspections to gain compliance before a fine may become necessary. Inspectors are emphasizing education and awareness, and MDH will not issue a fine on an initial inspection.

    If you or someone you know has incurred financial loss due to a scam or fraud, please contact your local law enforcement.

    If you have concerns or believe you are a victim of a scam, contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison by calling 1-800-657-3787, or submit a Consumer Assistance Request Form or Fraud Report Form.

  • September 11, 2020 1:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Updates to the wrecking permits process

    Pre-payment of property taxes will no longer be required for property owners to secure wrecking permits for buildings damaged in the recent civil unrest. Additionally, the City is waiving the associated wrecking permit fees and will not require a survey or pest abatement plans. The City is working with Xcel Energy and Centerpoint to expedite the required utility disconnection verification process. 

    Staff have begun contacting contractors who have previously submitted wrecking permits to notify them of this change. Property owners who have already submitted permits may be eligible for a refund. If you have questions about the updated process, please contact

    For other questions about the disaster property reassessment, contact the City Assessor’s office at 612-673-5959 or email

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Southwest Business Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Minnesota , P.O. Box 8932, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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