Marshall Chamber promotes buy local, shop local

MARSHALL — There are 12 reasons listed on the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce website to become a member.

Investing in the business community is on top of the list.

“It’s buy local, shop local,” Chamber Director Brad Gruhot said.

While he says 80 percent of Marshall businesses are members, Gruhot stresses there are many benefits for new membership. That includes the other reasons on the list:

• Increase community overall exposure

• Networking

• New business contracts

• Business credibility

• Civic engagement

• Advertising and promotions

• Online and printed directory

• Legislative voice

• Monthly programs

• Accept Chamber Gift Checks

•Access to partnerships and community leaders.

While business after hours events provide networking opportunities, Gruhot said the chamber also actively works on the legislative side as well.

“As you know, we are working locally with a task force to try and loosen up some of the local codes and ordinances,” he said.

Gruhot was referring to a movement spearheaded by local business people which eventually led the City Council to form a task force to examine ordinances that affect building standards and inspections.

“However, there are also state codes we are battling,” he said. “What can we do to loosen up state codes. They are a burden right now. We are paying way more fees than we have to pay compared to South Dakota, North Dakota. We are losing a lot of business to those neighboring states.

Gruhot also mentioned the Minnesota excise tax that makes it more expensive for local businesses to do business in South Dakota for instance. He also said there is a preemption bill which allows cities to make their own decisions on such issues as minimum wage.

“Right now, Minneapolis just went in effect (minimum wage increase),” Gruhot said. “They prefer to have their own minimum wage. That should be a larger government bill, that should be a larger legislation, that should be a state legislation, not a city law. If every city had their own laws, it can make it harder for businesses who arena multiple cities. Right now if you have a business like Schwans or Runnings that have trucks that go through Minneapolis and go through so many hours, you have to play by the city of Minneapolis’ rules.”

The Chamber is also helping to promote upcoming events through the Southwest Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. These events are held throughout Marshall and at the Red Baron Arena. These are not just related to sports. New events include craft vendor shows, gun shows and pool and dart tournaments.

The Chamber is also helping members to maneuver around the difficult retail climate.

“Amazon, ebay are the reasons malls are failing,” Gruhot said. “Downtown is actually benefitting from that. We actually have a couple businesses downtown that have their own online system you can buy from.”

Gruhot said he is optimistic about the Marshall retail future.

“We have certain opportunities for businesses to get involved,” he said. “I would encourage any new business that is popping up in Marshall to look into the Chamber.”