I’ve had the privilege of working in my role as director of the Lake City Chamber of Commerce for almost five months now, and I just have to say… wow! I am beyond impressed with this town! Yes, there’s Lake Pepin, Highway 61, and the beauty of the bluffs and marina, but what has stood out to me most is the incredible entrepreneurial spirit that exists in a city of this size.
While Elizabeth Greenawalt and I were just starting at the Chamber this spring, cutting our teeth on organizing two of Lake City’s biggest annual events, numerous new businesses popped up throughout town to compliment a wide array of awesome existing establishments. While this kind of new business activity would be no small story in any small town across the country under normal circumstances, given the uncertainty surrounding Covid, it is a testament to the resilience and can-do attitude that is so prevalent in this amazing city.
In the few months since I started, we have seen a whole host of new shops filling our downtown storefronts: The Three Little Men, T&M Boutique, Mercy & Grace Boutique, and Elite Tile and Flooring. As a guy who loves a good espresso drink, the addition of Heidi’s Hug-a-Mug and Rustic Coffeehouse to the downtown landscape has been a godsend! Of course, I’d be remiss to leave out new businesses that are not directly in our downtown area: Active PT and Sport Therapy, First Alliance Credit Union, and Lake Pepin Kayak. We’ve also just added the much anticipated Kelly’s Lake House to our wonderful restaurant scene. When I look at a list like that, I can’t help but be incredibly optimistic about the business climate in the Lake City area. Hopefully I’m not missing anyone- the start-up activity has been nothing short of fast and furious lately!
As a former owner of small businesses, I know just how much hard work and determination it takes to get a new establishment off the ground. I have so much respect for those who decide to take the leap, for those who expand or open new locations, and for those who continue to turn their shop keys day after day. We have a great city here, filled with the greatest of hard working and visionary folks. By supporting them, you help them thrive, and that will in turn continue to encourage more entrepreneurs to invest in Lake City. The sky is truly the limit in this picture-perfect town.
Edward G Hoffman
Originally Published in the Lake City Graphic (August 19 2021)
Re-published here on 8/23/21 with edits