After months of hard work and eager anticipation, the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of their new offices in downtown Granite Falls this past weekend. The new Chamber address is 676 Prentice Street (they are occupying the old virtual golf simulator space). The building is owned by Yellow Medicine Midwifery who lease the space to the Chamber.
According to Chamber Director Jenny Grimm, the Chamber decided to make the move shortly after she assumed leadership. They had previously occupied the K.K. Berge building just down the street, which is owned by the Granite Area Arts Council. Grimm explained that sharing a space with another group limited the space and availability of the Chamber, prompting the search for a new home.
After looking at a few other options, the Chamber eventually decided on a building. Grimm was excited by the space’s size, adding that the new location afforded “so much potential” to the Chamber.
The transition process proved long and difficult. Grimm said it was especially challenging being out of the public eye (since the Chamber had already moved out of the Berge building), but added it was worth focusing on “behind the scene” details to make the move a success.
Working closely with the Chamber Board and with the Granite Falls EDA Director Cathy Anderson, Grimm helped oversee the many changes. Old equipment and decorations were removed from the space and contractors were brought in to make much needed updates. Grimm, along with a friend of hers, also assisted with some of the remodeling, such as putting up new wallpaper. Larger projects (such as removing a central dividing wall and installing new flooring) required professional help.
With all the renovations complete, the space now presents a warm and inviting atmosphere to visitors. The front portion is dedicated primarily to tourism-related activity while the back portion houses Grimm’s office, a conference room, and a breastfeeding station which is open to the public thanks to the support from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.. Another noteworthy addition is the hydration bottle refilling station, which includes a bottle tracker registering the number of plastic bottles ‘saved’ from a landfill, also donated by SHIP.
Come springtime, the Chamber hopes to have automatic locks installed on the main entrance door. Closing off the back portion from the front of the building means that tourism resources will still be available even after the Chamber formally closes.
With the new location up and running, Grimm expressed her optimism that bigger and better things are on the horizon for the Granite Falls Chamber, adding that the new location is central to these efforts. For example, the Chamber has plans to host more community events and lend space for local organizations or groups needing a place to meet.