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Chamber visits promote goodwill and aid

Once a month, members of the Rosemount Ambassadors program and staff from the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce strike out to talk with business owners. The visits are informal, but provide valuable information and goodwill in the city.

Rosemount Business Council president Paul Eggen said the ambassadors program aims to connect with business owners in Rosemount. The group meets the fourth Monday of the month at 3 p.m. and tries to call on two or three businesses a month.

"I like visiting with them and learning what the different businesses do," said Eggen.

During visits the group will talk with owners about how business is going. For businesses that are not part of the chamber they will provide information and invite them to chamber events. For those that are members, they will encourage them to use the chamber's resources.The ambassadors welcome new businesses to the city and offer a goody bag and information about the chamber and its resources.

DCRC president Ruthe Batulis said the ambassadors program helps promote Rosemount businesses and helps the chamber get a read on the business climate in town.

A separate but similar program the chamber participates in is Grow Minnesota through the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

The statewide program promotes business retention and growth throughout the state. It is a private-sector program focused on job retention and creation.

The Dakota County Regional Chamber has participated since the program launched in 2003. Batulis said it offers great benefits including real-time business intelligence.

Through the program, hundreds of conversations are conducted annually with business owners and leaders. The meetings include a survey businesses are asked to fill out.

The Minnesota Chamber publishes the results of surveys taken by those leaders each fall. The information helps the Minnesota Chamber form its public policy agenda.

Batulis said the conversations often lead to help for the business owners and executives. The chamber works as a connector and Batulis said if they don't know the answer to a problem they at least know where to find one.

The city of Rosemount has gone along on some these interviews. Community development director Kim Lindquist said the visits are valuable because they offer a glimpse of the business climate and let city staff know about any issues.

Having everyone on the same page makes it easier for the city to create policies that promote and retain businesses, something the port authority has identified as one of its goals.

The chamber hopes to ramp up visits in Rosemount through both the ambassadors and Grow Minnesota programs in 2012. Eggen said they have done a number of visits already this year and hope to do quite a few more in the months ahead.

To learn more about the initiatives visit the chamber's website at Interested persons could also attend a Rosemount Connection meeting. The Rosemount Connection is a purely networking event that occurs on the second Tuesday of every month from 8 to 9 a.m. and is hosted at different member businesses each month.