It's exciting to see another store opening up downtown! The Falls Boutique in the old Frozen in Time location will be opening soon with fun decor and a great selection of home decor, clothing and other unique items. I love that old theater building and it's great to see some of the original features like the deco light fixtures preserved and the space open to the public with a new boutique. I've also spoken to two other possible business owners who want to open here, a tattoo studio and artisan cheese maker.

Everyone benefits from the addition of these unique businesses, the more locations we have to browse, the more people will be attracted to our beautiful town. Keep your money here in town and shop local. The chamber is working on creating more places where you can shop. Riverside Market and Muse starts in about a month. May 13 features a free Raku pottery class and music by Nick Castiglione from 1-4 p.m. Vendors can just set up on the downtown plazas unless you are a home-based business. I'd like those vendors to register so there isn't any duplications. Either way it's free!

Funding for the classes , music and workshops comes from a grant from the Southwest Area Arts Council. My dream is to see vendors take up the entire spaces on the plazas, the road along the river and even extend across the footbridge. So if you have something to sell, bring it to Riverside Market and Muse and set up a table. These are held monthly from May through September on the second Saturday from 9-4. You'll also be able to enjoy some great music along the river!

On Tuesday, April 11, the chamber hosted a luncheon with representatives from the MN Dept of Unemployment. Thanks to the business and city representatives who came and took advantage of the opportunity to get their questions about unemployment answered. Minnesota has one of the most efficient systems in the country for both employers and employees but they are always striving to improve the system.

Attending from the St. Paul office were Jim Hegman, Deputy UI Division Director; Michael Vaughn, UI Outreach Manager and Lynne Batzli, UI Outreach Specialist. It was fun to hear how they are constantly trying to improve the delivery of unemployment insurance in Minnesota. Because of our seasonal employment, it's an essential part of the economy.

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