Archives for 2014

Hutch Bucks Retirement

Last winter we announced that the Hutch Bucks program would be retiring.  We are sad to see them go, but we still encourage you to keep your shopping dollars local!  Most of our local businesses offer gift cards or gift certificates, so there are still great options available.  A couple things for you to note:

1. All Hutch Bucks have an expiration date stamped on them.  If your Hutch Bucks are expired you have until 12pm on December 31, 2014 to come to the Chamber Office to have new Hutch Bucks reissued.

2. All Hutch Bucks will expire on February 28, 2015.  The Hutch Bucks program will be ending on February 28, 2015 and you will not be able to use any Hutch Bucks after that date.

If you have questions about the Hutch Bucks program please contact our office at 320-587-5252.

Hutch Bucks Retiring Ad-01


Celebrating #MuchInHutch – Annual Banquet

We invite you to join us as we celebrate #MuchInHutch!  The Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism will host our annual banquet on Friday, January 23, 2015, social hour beginning at 5:30pm at Crow River Winery.  We are excited to have Jerrid Sebesta as  our guest speaker for the evening!  You will leave inspired to take an introspective look at your life and dreams.  Community awards will also be presented during the event.

The cost for this event, which includes a dinner by Chef Craig, is $40 for Chamber Members and $50 for nonmembers.

The 2014 Community Award Winners are:
Volunteer of the Year: JOANNE CLAY WILLMERT
Business Person of the Year: KEITH HEIKES
Teacher of the Year: KATHY NORDBY
Young Leader of the Year: ADAM FINK

If you have questions about this event please email Melissa or call 320-587-5252.

Invite info for email













Thank you to our sponsors!
Citizens Bank & Trust and Crow River Winery


These are a few of my favorite things

chamber (8 of 35)

Each year during the holiday season, I reflect on those things that I am grateful for. This year, I have created my favorite things list through my chamber role.

A beautiful community; established by pioneers, preserved by historians, while a tradition of progress continues to build Hutchinson.

So many community organizations; each with a mission to help a different aspect of our population.

Community partners, with whom we are able to provide amenities and improvements by working together on many projects.


Passionate People!
The people of Hutchinson, whether born here or transplanted, make this community what it is. Passion drives many of us, and although we may not always agree, we are all passionate about where we live and the future of our community.

Generosity abounds in Hutchinson. Whether it is a group of people connecting online to help a community member who needs a place to live and a job, or talented singers coming together in song, people are willing to help others.

Our manufacturers who are able to build incredible things used all over the world, and employ so many of our neighbors, friends and family.

#ShopLocal #EatLocal #PlayLocal #StayLocal – we have so many businesses in town who draw visitors every day to Hutchinson. As we ‘Bring It Home,’ we have created a destination for others.

Chamber Staff and Board of Directors; who all work persistently to create a stronger business environment and tourism bureau for Hutchinson.

And last, but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, our chamber members! Your investment and partnership with the Chamber builds the business opportunities for all. You help provide education, resources, networks, and support to 300 businesses.

As the year begins to wind down, and we gear up for a new year, please know you are appreciated, you are thought of, and we are looking forward to another year of great things in Hutchinson, MN! As you already know, there is #muchinhutch, and we make it happen together! Look out 2015, here we come!



Community Awards – Nominate someone today!

Our community is full of them, people going above and beyond to make Hutchinson the great place that it is!  Now is your opportunity to say “thank you!” The Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and the Hutchinson Jaycees will once again be accepting community award nominees for:

Business Person of the Year
Volunteer of the Year
Teacher of the Year
Young Leader of the Year (under 35 years of age)

Download the nomination form HERE.

Completed nominated forms may be emailed to Melissa or dropped off at the Chamber office. Please submit nomination forms by Monday, January 5, 2015.

Award winners will be recognized at the Chamber Annual Banquet on Friday, January 23, 2015.

2013 Community Award Winners

2013 Community Award Winners








This is a list of the winners from the past few years:

Business Person of the Year: 
2013-Gail & Jenny Plaisance
2012- Dr. David Mach
2011- Renee Hantge
2010- Tiffany Haag
2009- Gus Wurdell
2008- Tom Daggett

Volunteer of the Year:
2013- Ken Jensen
2012- John & Julie Lofdahl
2011- Jessica & AJ Forcier
2010- Jan Johnson
2009- Betsy Price
2008- Stacey Neuhaus

Teacher of the Year:
2013- Scott Renning
2012- Kris Dobratz
2011- Bruce Eckhart
2010- Chad Harlander
2009- Jean Schultz

Young Leader of the Year:
2013- Chris Wilke
2012- Kyle Wendling
2011 – Megan Peterson
2010- Karen Grasmon
2009- Joe Nagel
2008- Kirsten Grorud


Press Release: Telephone Scam to Hutchinson Utilities Customers

News Release


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sgt. Joe Nagel  320-587-2242

November 21, 2014

Telephone scam to Hutchinson Utilities Customers

Hutchinson Police would like the community to be aware of reports they have received regarding a utilities collections scam. Several local businesses have reported receiving a phone call from a business posing as Hutchinson Utilities stating their last payment was not able to be processed.  The caller, claiming to be a representative from Hutchinson Utilities, tells the business they must immediately pay $1000.00, and if they don’t pay, their utilities service will be shut off within 45 minutes.

The City of Hutchinson and Hutchinson Utilities want citizens and business owners to know they never call people demanding immediate payment or demand credit card information over the telephone.  If you have questions regarding Hutchinson Utilities payments, you may contact their billing department at 320-587-4746.   If you have been a victim of this scam, please report it to the Hutchinson Police Department by calling 320-587-2242.


As we start settling into our homes for the season of holidays (aka: Winter aka: Halloween through at least Mother’s Day) many of us also prepare to shop for friends and family.

I’d like to challenge you to #ShopHutch this year.

Spending money in Hutchinson creates more money for our community.

  • For every $100 spent at a local national/regional business, $43 is kept in our community.
  • For every $100 spent at a locally owned/operated business, $68 is kept in our community.
  • For every $100 spent on-line, $0 is kept in our community.

Spending money locally pays for wages for your family, friends and neighbors at those businesses.
Tax revenue from your purchases then provides city services- such as police and fire services.
MANY local businesses give back to our community through donations and sponsorships to organizations and fundraisers.

We know you can’t buy everything all year long here, but we ask you to consider buying more locally, in Hutchinson.

Later this month, we will be hosting Small Business Saturday. (see front page of the November newsletter)

How can BUSINESSES participate in Small Business Saturday?
It doesn’t matter if you are retail or service!

  • Sign up to be part of Small Business Saturday- draw shoppers to your business, no matter what you are selling.
  • Build a snowman and name him/her. This project will get people TO your business, building awareness of what you offer. Don’t want to build a snowman- but you’d like to participate & support the chamber- consider partnering with an organization or team to build it for you!
  • Have more questions? Contact Melissa at 234-0786 [email protected]

How can SHOPPERS/PUBLIC participate in Small Business Saturday?

  • Shop around town Saturday, November 29th (and don’t forget any other day of the year)
  • Grab a ballot and vote for your favorite snowman between November 29 and December 5.
  • Watch for the Bring It Home Volunteers downtown and around town- they’ll have treats and giveaways. (Hint Hint…)

Join us as we celebrate the business community of Hutchinson and #ShopHutch!

Watch for a very special Small Business Saturday announcement coming soon!


Made in McLeod Tours Bring Middle and High School Students to Area Manufacturers

The following is a press release from Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc.

HUTCHINSON, MN – October 17, 2014

On October 15, 2014, Hutchinson manufacturers partnered with the Hutchinson Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce to host on-site tours of manufacturing facilities for area students and their parents.  In its inaugural year, the Made in McLeod tours served to highlight the types of environments and jobs that are part of modern-day manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is a big part of Hutchinson,” explained Lee Miller, Economic Development Director of the Hutchinson EDA.  “For years, manufacturers have been telling us that there is a shortage of skilled workers and that developing a pipeline for talented employees is a top priority.  We decided to coordinate the event to help showcase the wide spectrum of manufacturers in the area and to help middle and high school students see what manufacturing is like first hand.”

“Learning about the kinds of jobs that exist is a good step toward developing a career path.  Hutchinson Middle and High School Principals, Todd Grina and Patrick Walsh, are very progressive and supportive of creating opportunities for students to learn about careers in manufacturing,” noted Mary Hodson, President of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce.  “Hutchinson businesses were generous with their time and facilities; we’re hoping that this is the first of many events like this to help support and promote area manufacturing.”

“We were impressed with the initiative that the students showed by attending an event on their day off from school.  That they chose to use that day to learn more about jobs in manufacturing says a lot about the kind of drive that they have,” explained Sheila Murphy, Director of Human Resources at Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc.  “We welcome students and their parents to tour our facility to learn about MITGI and jobs in manufacturing in general.  We believe that by reaching out to middle school and high school students through on-site tours, in-classroom visits, paid internships, and job shadowing, we’re helping to support and promote manufacturing as an industry.”

Ian McDonald, parent of two Hutchinson High School students who are both interested in engineering, wants his children to have exposure to what jobs and careers look like.  “I think that we’re in the beginning of a manufacturing renaissance which will help bring work to the U.S. and provide more jobs for kids that are entering the workforce,” McDonald explained.  “The manufacturers we visited illustrated the need to have a good understanding of math, science, and have the ability to interpret data.  There are good paying jobs available for students who pursue either two or four-year post-secondary paths.”

McDonald’s daughter, Mackenzie, now in her senior year, plans to attend a university with a focus on engineering.  “I didn’t know what to expect on the tour, but was really interested to see how the process works as products are made.  It was surprising to see the technical expertise of everyone on the manufacturing floor,” she explained.  “I like the idea of working while I learn, internships, and research opportunities as ways to help choose the right career path for me.”

For many students, the completion of a two-year program such as Machine Tool or Drafting is the most direct path to a career in manufacturing.  Jared Hasse, a 2013 graduate from Hutchinson High School, attended the event with his brother.  Having recently applied to the Machine Tool program at Ridgewater College, Hasse returned to MITGI to apply for a job after the tour.  “I like the idea of working while I’m going to school to complete the machine tool program.  The tour was eye opening because it helped me to understand the kind of jobs that are out there and the types of work environments that exist.”

Parents and students toured several locations that serve a wide range of industries, including: MITGI, Ag Systems, 3D CNC, RD Machine, Redline Systems, Stamp N Storage, Goebel Fixture Co., and Ridgewater College.

MITGI manufactures standard and custom cutting tools that are built to tighter tolerances than most tools on the market. Combining innovation with quality and repeatability, MITGI tools have become the product of choice in many R&D departments and manufacturing facilities that serve the medical, automotive, and aerospace industries. MITGI is the 2014 recipient of the Image Award, presented as part of the Minnesota Business Magazine Manufacturing Awards, recognizing efforts made to improve the industry’s image and the appeal of careers in manufacturing.

Students from Hutchinson High School & Middle School learn about jobs in manufacturing on a tour at MITGI.

Students from Hutchinson High School & Middle School learn about jobs in manufacturing on a tour at MITGI.


HodsonMade in McLeod- We make cool stuff!

It is likely you know someone who has had heart surgery, knee or hip replacement surgery: you trust the doctors and the team of professionals who are doing the work…. Imagine the knee replacement being made, with a drill bit so precise it is measured to the .00001 and it is made in Hutchinson!

What would you do if you needed to ship a really big piece of equipment weighing in at 20,000 pounds? Have a shipping box made for it, in Hutchinson!

Have you browsed at Nordstroms, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria’s Secret? You’ve seen those items on display cases made by a company in Hutchinson.

Have you seen Hutchinson Health’s new stone-base signage? Spoiler Alert: It isn’t stone, it’s Styrofoam and it was made in Hutchinson!

Have you had a nuclear reactor blow up recently? You could have a special crane made in Hutchinson to send down into your reactor for the clean-up process.

MITGI, Stearnswood, Goebel Fixture Company, Crow River Signs, Innovative Foam, NUCrane and MANY other companies make cool stuff!  In Hutchinson!

October is dedicated to Manufacturers in our area; including a Made in McLeod Tour for students in grades 7-12 and their parents. Our students are invited to see and experience the manufacturing world that is no longer dirty, dark and dangerous,  on October 15th. Tours will run from 8-4pm that day, with a four- and two-hour option, including 3-5 businesses.

Why are parents invited? Parents help guide their children through their education decisions. Supporting a student who would like to attend a two-year school is a great way to set them up for great success- less school loans, earlier entrance into the workforce, more time/money toward retirement, and entry level pay is very similar to four-year graduates.

Success in the New Economy is a great video to learn more about what a two-year education can do/provide/save for people today. Please take a look at this eye opening video!  (

I ask you to take a couple minutes of your day to take a look at the video, review the flyer attached to this newsletter, read the newspaper article and editorial in the Wed. October 1, 2014 edition of the Hutchinson Leader.

This work effort is not done alone! We need to give a shout-out to Lee Miller, Hutchinson EDA; Tom Mayer, 3M; Eric Lipke and Staff at MITGI; Gray Foster, Ridgewater; and Principals Walsh and Grina at Hutchinson High and Middle Schools for helping with the planning process to make these tours possible.

Sign-up your student and yourself by contacting any of the area school offices, or the chamber.

Come see the cool stuff!


Your Mission, Your Business, Your Vision

HodsonWhen we talk about Mission and Vision statements for our businesses, there can be confusion and frustration. I chose this article because I thought it defines each well. Best of luck, if you are thinking about your own mission and vision! 

8 Questions Business Leaders Should Ask Themselves Everyday
By Abigail Phillips, ENTREPRENEUR

Leadership is not prescriptive and what works for one person may not work for another. There is one trait, however, that many successful business leaders and entrepreneurs share: They are constantly asking themselves questions to stay relevant and perceptive.

Whether you’re running a company, heading up a startup or leading a team, your ability to analyze and critique your workday and approach is critical to success. Keeping tabs on your own development might help figure out areas for improvement, deepen your understanding of your industry and set a good example to the people you manage.

Asking yourself these questions every day will help you grow as an individual and as a leader:
1. What did I achieve?
At the end of each working day, take a step back and ask what you’ve achieved. Keeping tabs on your accomplishments is a great positivity and productivity booster. Strive to undertake at least one meaningful task each day that will directly help you reach your end goals. If you believe you could have achieved more, harness your disappointment and channel that energy to help you work harder the next day. 

2. What mistakes did I make and how can I learn from them?
Not every decision you make will be the right one. And in such instances, holding your hands up and admitting you have made a mistake is the best thing to do. There is a saying, “More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying that they made them.” And these words of wisdom are important to remember. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you respond to them that defines you. 

3. Did I help someone else succeed today?
Good leaders focus on the success of those around them as well as their own personal achievements. Make it your mantra to help others succeed or provide them with opportunities each day. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. It could be something as simple such as spending 20 minutes with an employee to discuss his or her performance and progress. Building the strength of those working for you will ultimately enhance your company.

4. What motivated me?
Running a business and leading a team can be difficult and during the tough times, reach for the motivation that keeps you going and encourages you to strive for betterment. Take note of the things that inspire you and draw on them when you need renewed enthusiasm. Good leaders are acutely aware of the things that fuel their personal motivation and use that knowledge to their benefit. 

5. Did I work toward my goals?
When you’re at the helm of a ship, it’s wise to keep destination in mind. Likewise when you’re running a business or leading a team, you should have goals to keep everyone focused and moving in the same direction. Outline your business aims and ask yourself every day if you’ve worked toward them. If not, figure out why not and how you’ll change tack to put everything on the right trajectory. Never lose sight of your goals.

6. What stumbling blocks did I come across?
What are your sticking points? Is there a particular division of the business that you struggle with? Are you unable to come up with a workable strategy for a particular function? If so, identify the areas that require improvement or the resources that will go a long way toward overcoming the problem.

Once you understand where your weaknesses lie, create a small team and talk about the areas of concern. Share ideas and work through the issues together in a constructive way. This is great for team building and getting everyone on the same page. It will also get the problem solved so you can move on. 

7. What do I need to let go of?
You’re setting yourself up for failure if you take on too much. Business owners and department heads can be guilty of the notion that they need to be directly involved with every decision made at their business. Part of being a leader is being able to recruit effectively.

Build a team around you that you trust to make decisions and get things done. Don’t be removed from your business. Instead allow your employees to shoulder some of the burden. This not only means that progress will happen quicker. But by sharing the responsibility, you’ll build a more collaborative company culture. Ask yourself today, What can I hand over?

8. What legacy do I want to leave behind?
Finally, how do you want to be remembered? Keep this in mind every day and work toward that end goal. Are you happy with the way you conducted yourself today? Remember that character rules.

You’re not born with the qualities that make up your character, but develop them as you go through your experiences, failures and successes. Govern reactions to events to develop the character you’d like to have.


MITGI: Finalist in 2014 Manufacturing Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine

The following is a press release from MITGI on August 15, 2014.

MITGI: Finalist in 2014 Manufacturing Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine
HUTCHINSON, MN – August 15, 2014

Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc. (MITGI) is a first-time finalist in two categories for the Minnesota Business 2014 Manufacturing Awards.  Awarded annually by Minnesota Business magazine, the Manufacturing Awards recognize achievements in 10 categories.  This year, MITGI is a finalist in the following categories: Best in Class (Small Company, 1-50 employees), recognizing companies for overall excellence in the manufacturing industry in Minnesota; Image Award, honoring an organization for improving the industry’s image and showing the appeal of careers in manufacturing.

In the past few years, MITGI has grown in many ways, including a move from a 2,000 sq ft facility into a 20,000 sq ft facility, doubling the number of employees, tripling the amount of manufacturing equipment, and increasing sales an average of 35% year-over-year.  Poised for steady growth, MITGI continues to assess equipment and processes, further enabling them to provide high quality production with efficient, tight timelines.  “At MITGI, our company culture encourages a balance between process and innovation, encouraging employees to use their talents to improve quality and production,” explains Eric Lipke, MITGI General Manager.  “As a Best in Class finalist, we’re honored to be considered in a category that recognizes excellence in small and growing manufacturers.”

Committed to community and education, MITGI strives to be a reliable partner to both.  In examining the Minnesota manufacturing community, business growth plans, and the availability of well-qualified employees, MITGI is dedicated to encouraging and supporting the steady flow of young men and women entering into manufacturing-related programs.  “Making the decisions to start working with area schools in an advisory capacity, offering scholarships and internships, and promoting careers in manufacturing was easy.  The owners at MITGI believe that they need to be good corporate citizens and recognize schools as community assets,” explains Lipke.  “We’re proud to be finalist for the Image Award and all of the efforts that companies make to help support the growth of manufacturing in Minnesota.”

Finalists in each category will be featured in the October 2014 issue of the Minnesota Business magazine, and the winners will be announced at an event in downtown Minneapolis on September 23, 2014.

MITGI manufactures standard and custom cutting tools that are built to tighter tolerances than most tools on the market. Combining innovation with quality and repeatability, MITGI tools have become the product of choice in many R&D departments and manufacturing facilities that serve the medical, automotive, computer, and aerospace industries.