Something from Mary!

YOU have it.

YOU have the power, knowledge and ability… to change the world.

YOU are capable of changing your life, your business and those around you.

For 30 years, the Hutchinson Leadership Institute has provided an opportunity for business people to learn more about themselves, create opportunities for deep personal connections, and showcase all Hutchinson has to offer.

YOUR business needs the best employees providing quality work, and pride in what they do and who they do it for. YOUR business needs powerful personal development, solid networking, and thoughtful leadership.

For 30 years, the Hutchinson Leadership Institute has brought speakers and educators to you and your employees. Provided almost 700 participants with discussion on topical issues like ethics, management, diversity, communications, and more.

For 30 years, it hasn’t been about who runs it, leads it, or provides it…. It is about YOU and YOUR business, OUR community, OUR Hutchinson.

Whether YOU or YOUR employees need the Leadership Institute, we look forward to meeting you in September.

If YOU have already been through Leadership Institute, we have now rolled out Leadership 2.0. An in-depth, deep-dive of who you are, and how you can lead others intentionally. The Chamber and Design Team are thrilled to be able to offer another program which helps YOU address workforce retention, building leaders up, and giving them tools to lead others.

YOU will be grateful YOU took action for yourself, your business and for others.

Next May you’ll be amazed at what you feel, what you know, and what you will have learned.

Click link for application: Hutchinson Leadership Institute or Hutchinson Leadership 2.0

Something from Mary!

Sign of the Times

Are you keeping up with the times? Are you investing in your personal and professional development? Are you investing in your employees’ personal and professional development?

In today’s competitive job market you cannot afford not to be putting more opportunities into your employees’ hands.

You’ve heard this before, you’ll hear it again and again….  Employees are hard to find, they will get harder to find.

Let’s try keeping employees, but it won’t happen like it used to.

Retention is going to be KEY to the stability of your business. Economically and operationally.

It isn’t always about money. Today’s workforce is looking for meaning in their work. Most of us spend a third or more of our day at work. Certainly the majority of our waking hours are at work. We want to feel good about what we are doing and who we do it for!

Many workers want continuous feedback, not the usual annual evaluation. Feedback on a regular basis sounds like mentoring, mentoring sounds like leadership. Leadership sounds like success! Coaching can reduce stress and burnout for an employee, which can create positive outcomes from output as well as overall engagement.

Are your employees doing what makes them happy and they feel they are best at? Steve Gasser, owner of Vivid Image says a person should strive for a 70/30 balance in their work. 70 percent of the time you’re doing what you enjoy and makes you feel successful. During VOICES training with Steve, I learned that most of 2016 & 2017 I wasn’t at a 70/30 balance. Ugh- no wonder I was frustrated! Although I felt I was taking items off my staff’s plate, I was loading my plate with unrealistic tasks. I was buried under the “I am responsible for this, so I better do it” blanket. I’m out from under the blanket! Hiring to fill those pieces I am not as skilled at was a great way to fill someone else’s bucket and build myself back up to 70/30. Imagine how an employee feels when they are buried under that blanket… burned out, frustrated, ready to run for greener grass.

Every single business is different, but I will tell you, every single business needs to look at what they do to take care of employees. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of everything else.

Hey, if you have great ideas for retention, send them my way! We can share with others in the community.

Some information for this article was taken from Inc. article 9/26/2017

Something from Mary!

This time of year my head is swirling.

Where is spring?

What is happening at the Bring It Home Expo? Who’s coming, who needs more space? Leadership is finishing up- how has another year gone by so quickly? I need to get everything prepped before vacation. They are graduating next month! Main Street 2020 information is ramping up- holy shovels- in two very short years the road will be dug up. Table Tents are ready- gotta get them out to the businesses. The Senator is coming. The compilation report is done and ready to deliver. It’s month end, need to do reports. Leadercast is coming up- do I have everything I need? The next month is Water Carnival- heck summer is half over.

Where is spring?



We’re all so “busy” but are we busy with the right things? Is your time taken up by those things that mean something to you, tasks which drive you to the next level personally or professionally?

List your personal top three priorities.

Now list all of the things you do in a day or week.

Which of those “things” have nothing to do with your top three priorities?

Generally many of us fill our days with filler. The “stuff” that doesn’t allow us to spend time on our priority list.

I’m challenging you to consider what’s filler and what intentionally helps you meet your goals, match your priorities and makes you joy-filled.

That’s it. Go out and be joy-filled. Only you can make that happen for you… so go and do.

Have a great month and spring will come… it always does.

Something from Mary!

It’s a Buffet!

Probably most of you have been to an all-you-can-eat food buffet at some point in your life. You know…. Some of you hover on the meat and potato end, some gravitate to the salad bar, I hang out by the ice cream and cake.

No matter what we each want or need, we have options available to satisfy your hunger, cravings and sustenance needs.

Much like that food buffet, the Chamber has something for everyone. No matter what your business is: small, large, growing, struggling, maintaining, established, brand spanking new, the chamber has something to help you to grow stronger, faster, larger, or maintain an even keel. We have also helped businesses as they chose to close to help employees, managed inventory, and say goodbye with grace and dignity.

Do you know what is included in your chamber membership?

Do you visit the buffet to check out the benefits?

Have you updated your information portal? If you just asked yourself what portal… you need to call 587-5252 right now.

Have you posted a hot deal, event, press release or JOB POSTING on our website? If you just said in your head, “I can do that?” you need to call 587-5252 right now.

Chamber members get emails sharing business scams, important legislative opportunities, networking events, and more. If you haven’t been getting emails, you should call us now to update your contact information. 587-5252

The Chamber promotes chamber members; do we have your business cards or business brochures? Grab 20 of each and bring them to us! 2 Main Street South.

Social Media coverage of your business and the Hutchinson Community. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Yep, we’re cool like this! More importantly, we reach a wide range of people through each, and when we share your posts, we extend your reach exponentially.

Other opportunities on the buffet include: Shop Local, Leadership Development, Agri-Business Support/Education, The Almighty Hutchinson Ambassadors, Young Professionals, Marketing, and the list keeps going.

Some businesses just simply want to support a business organization that works to promote, support and engage the business community, some are members because of the insurance discounts they receive for being a member, and some “just wanna have fun” thank you Cindy Lauper for putting that in my head for the day…. we have golf, arts & crafts, annual event (2018- 80’s Prom Theme) and more to just have fun with other business people.

So meet me at the buffet, check out what you might be missing with your membership! I’ll save you some cake!

Something from Mary!

We work together! ( I may or may not have a Grease song in my head now.)

I was on social media earlier today, and I noticed something….. RiverSong is looking for Volunteers. Like most non-profits and events, they need help making things happen before and during the event. They were even looking for someone to attend Music in the Park and promote RiverSong- genius!

Why am I telling you this…. Well…. isn’t it fabulous that Music in the Park continues thanks to RiverSong and Historic Hutchinson!?? It does not fit the Chamber’s mission and these two groups who we see and work with every week in the summer were ready to take it on. We know they will be able to make this weekly summer event HUGE and even more successful! No worries- we’ll still be able to help you with your questions, just like other community events!

This is just ONE example of hundreds, dare I say thousands, of examples of how this community, the people who live here, the organizations among us WORK together, side by side to make things happen!

Hutchinson Ambassadors run Taste of Hutchinson, along-side the Chamber as we host the Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Who is serving food??? Many local non-profits raise money serving up cheese curds, kettle corn and other tasty treats. Surrounding businesses make adjustments because they recognize the importance of this event to our local economy.

Throughout the year you’ll see groups, organizations and businesses working together. We’re told by other chambers and cities they see Hutchinson as unique. Many communities have squabbling and in-fighting which damages relationships. We’re really lucky here as we recognize our differences, but respect positions and opinions. Yes, we have some people who don’t play nice, but I choose to see the good.

So if you are looking for an opportunity to meet new people, get connected, be involved, get up off the couch, give back to the community you live, work and or play in…. take a look at our Volunteer Opportunities for new postings, or give us a call. We can help match your talent/skill set with one of the many non-profits in town. There are groups to join, support, work with, and the best part… it helps not only you and the organization…. it makes Hutchinson a LOVELY place to call home!

Mark your calendars for April 14th, Bring It Home Expo at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. Jaycee Pancake Breakfast, Jaycee booth curtains, Wheel and Cog Children’s area, over 100 businesses participating in some way, shape or form. All of us TOGETHER! (now I have High School Musical in my head.)

Something from Mary!

Year End Review…

Let’s be clear, I love the movie White Christmas, but I am not dreaming of a white Christmas…. I’m all for a light dusting after everyone has arrived at their destination, so it looks iconic like a good old fashioned Hollywood musical. But here we are, IN Minnesota, the state where it can hail one day and snow the next…. Oh wait, it did.

Just as many of us were surprised back in March with hail, then snow… and it snowed in late April also…. We can also be surprised with unexpected business changes. It is so HO HO important to work on your business and keeping it shored up against changes that will inevitably come around.

Whether you’re managing employment changes, regulations and laws, industry upheavals or maybe through growth (think about growing pains when you were a young child) being agile and willing to maneuver through change is very important. Change whether positive or not, still brings stress to you, and those around you.

Just a couple of considerations for 2018:

Retention: It’s so much easier (AND CHEAPER) to retain employees rather than attract and train new ones. What are you really doing to retain your current workforce? It isn’t about pay for 90% of your employees. My action item for you: ASK your employees what is meaningful to them.

Education: Have you or your employees been through educational seminars, workshops or classes to stay up to speed on newest techniques, industry standards or new skills? A great way to get refreshed is to get out of the office, because we don’t know what we don’t know. Action Item: Don’t delete the emails coming from industry experts, take a look at what they can offer you and your staff.

Policies and Procedures: I know you love it when I bring this up! But policies and procedures can easily become outdated. Action Item: pick a couple right now you know aren’t up to date and take the time. Okay…. MAKE the time.

2018 holds mystery and intrigue for the business world. It could be smooth sailing or a roller coaster ride with one of those horrid upside down thingies in the middle. Set yourself up to ride the wave, and have a great start to 2018.

I pray your year-end goes well, and you take the time to be with your loved ones over the holidays. I’ll see you on the flipside! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Something from Mary!

Retail isn’t dead. Small Businesses aren’t dying.

On-line shopping isn’t going away.

There is room for both. Room for both doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for change. AHHHH- the dreaded CHANGE word. How about Refresh? Update? Possibilities? Transformation? Revolution? Revenue?

There is a shift in retail happening and it’s in the wheel house of retail business owners… show off your uniqueness!

In a couple of articles from the Star Tribune’s October 8th and 15th Editions, stories were shared about small businesses providing an experience for shoppers and using lighthearted, attractive, and inviting displays to encourage passersby to notice and stop in.

Yes. You have to remind people your business exists.

Pamela Danzinger, market researcher and author was quoted by John Ewoldt. “Small retailers have a secret weapon. They’re face to face and eye to eye with customers.” Ewoldt’s article “Selling La Vida Local” also included information from local businesses who commented shoppers are asking for a very localized experience.

What can a business do to be more: localized, eye to eye and attractive to customers?

Here’s some ideas:

  • Create a surprise in your window/entry
    Perhaps people are used to seeing something specific, whether it be items, or style of display. Change it up. GET their attention. Need some fresh eyes to help you discover new options? Call the Chamber 587-5252.
  • Add Special Touches to your Customer’s Experience
    We don’t own our customers, we EARN them. What special touches do you provide to the people who walk in your door? If you need to brainstorm, call the chamber 587-5252. A quick litany of ideas: personalized thank you cards or emails, gift wrapping, personalized shopping assistance, a small “gift” candy with each purchase. Frequent flyer/shopper cards, VIP shopping experiences. See more on our pinterest board
  • Provide Customer Service Training
    YES! What do you want YOUR BRAND to be? Is it a sales clerk who sits behind the register and sighs when they HAVE to get up and check someone out, or is it someone who knows the name of the customer and the reason for their special purchase because they took the time to engage that customer, or know them personally from repeat visits? YOUR BRAND is YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE as much as it is your logo, product, or service. Need a secret shopper to pop in and help assess opportunities? Call the Chamber 587-5252.
  • Have a Social Media Presence
    It’s where the younger generations are. It’s how they get their news. Your business is news to them. If you have noticed your clientele getting older, with fewer “youngsters” coming in… I encourage you to consider if you aren’t speaking to them on social media, they do not know you exist. If you aren’t using social media and it scares you, I invite you to call the chamber 587-5252 and ask us to help you! Please let us help you reach a new generation of shoppers who will love you!

Okay, NOW…. you’ve got this! You can make it happen- you have been all this time… you can KEEP doing it! If we can help, let us know. Your Business is Our Business and we believe in you!

Something from Mary

Why Chamber Membership?

It’s considered an effective business strategy.

66-85% of consumers believe Chamber Member businesses use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers and are involved in the community. When consumers know a small business is an active member of the chamber they are 80% MORE likely to purchase goods/services from them in the future.

The perception is Chamber Member products stack up better against non-chamber competition.

Being a member of the chamber can increase consumer awareness by 73%. Looking at your Chamber Membership as an investment is great way to add strength to your business. You already know someone’s opinions and perceptions are their reality. Did you know most people looking to relocate go to the local chamber of commerce to learn more about the community and what amenities it has? They assume all successful businesses are part of the chamber. That being said as a Chamber Member they are seeing YOU as part of a potential home to live in, and/or a community to work in. Funny how all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s the marketing, education, networking events, support programs, and so much more we have for our members. OUR business is entirely about YOUR business. We are here simply to help you THRIVE, SUCCEED, GROW, and attain your GOALS.

We are honored you are a Chamber Member. We are here to ENGAGE, SUPPORT & PROMOTE you.

Thank you for allowing us the privilege to do so.


Statistics Source: ACCE: Survey: Chamber Membership is Effective Business Strategy.

Something from Mary!

As we continue to watch the political mass struggle with the DOL Overtime Ruling, I’m reminded of TWO key sets of advice from several leaders who have spoken to our Leadership Institute Class each year.

“Build your network of people BEFORE you might need them.” The other option is to introduce yourself and then spurt out your problem and ask for help.


“Your voice matters. Reach out to legislators.”

Democracy is the only system capable of reflecting the humanist premise of equilibrium or balance. The key to its secret is the involvement of the citizen.      -John Ralston Saul

The Department of Labor may have overreached on this new ruling, but our legislators have the ability to rescind the ruling, or slow down the ruling so it would ramp up over a number of years.

Knowing local, state and federal representatives can make the task much easier. If they know you, they are less likely to brush you, and your issue, aside.

More importantly right now, is to let your federal leaders know how this affects your business, whether you are a for profit or not-for-profit business.

They need to hear from us.
They need to hear from you.
YOU are the key to making this or anything else happen.

Please take 10 minutes to type out some information and email it to our legislators.

Senator Al Franken

St Paul Office 651-221-1016

DC Office 202-224-5641


Senator Amy Klobuchar

Minneapolis Office 612-727-5220 or 1-888-224-9043

DC Office 202-224-3244


Representative Collin Peterson                  

Willmar Office 320-235-1061

DC Office 202-225-2165

Something from Mary!

Workforce Retention- what are you doing to KEEP employees?

  • Volunteer Programs
  • Pleasing Work Environment
  • Deeper Employee Relationships
  • Appreciation Programs
  • Flexible Schedules

We continue to hear about the job market.

We continue to hear about the lack of employees.

We continue to hear about workforce solutions.

As a business owner or manager, you have an ace in the hole. You HAVE employees…. KEEP THEM!

Perhaps you saw the Star Tribune Top Work Places 2017 Edition which came out last weekend. It includes some good articles about companies of all sizes working to retain the employees they already have! The common thread is each business creates benefits and builds flexibility to meet the needs of their employees and business.

From ping pong tables to set-your-own work schedule, employers are finding unique ways to provide tangible and intangible ways to support employees.

We know in Hutchinson some manufacturers have begun hiring part-time production, and businesses such as the chamber have adjusted hours to allow staff flexibility in scheduling their work day. Perhaps you might like to stop in the Chamber for the 2pm Dance Party.

I encourage each business, including those who say “we have to do it this way,” to review what you do, invite input from your employees, and be open to the possibilities.

We’re also interested in hearing from smaller businesses how the chamber can help many small businesses in a cooperative effort.

Feel free to send me a message or stop in and tell me what you are doing to keep your great employees.

I look forward to hearing from you!