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The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (OACCT) says now might be the time to start thinking about what will be a very different holiday shopping season. In their Tuesday Talk e-newsletter, the chamber credits the Star Tribune with a few pointers on how businesses can stay ahead of the curve for the holidays.

  • Be prepared for an increase in curbside or pickup requests.
  • For those that run seasonal search campaigns, consider starting them early.
  • Be sure customers know your policies and hours, delivery options and other protocols. Be certain your website is up-to-date with this information.
  • Consider starting your holiday marketing earlier than usual.

The Owatonna chamber invites their members to join them for the Minnesota Chamber DC Virtual Fly In on September 16 at 1 pm. Participants will hear from Minnesota's US senators. Other presentations will also be included. Tuesday Talk indicates, "Owatonna Chamber members get a $10 discount by using FEDERATION at the time of registration." (Any you won't have to worry about lost luggage or flight delays.)

Local small businesses have until September 21 to apply for the CARES Act Small Business and Nonprofit Grants through the City of Owatonna and Steele County. "Grants up to $10,000 will be available to small businesses in the unincorporated area of Steele County and to all nonprofits throughout the county." Watch a webinar with details on the program. (The pass code is 8y^uc@3E.)

The Chamber Ambassadors welcomed visited several businesses recently.

  • Big Dream Organics, 216 W. Bridge St, a resource for cannabis education and products.
  • Firehouse Liquor, 120 NW 26th St, under new ownership.
  • Gene Drake Agency, 111 W. Vine.

Finally, mark your calendar for a series of candidate forums, co-hosted by the OACCT, the Early Edition and Noon Rotary Clubs, and the Owatonna People's Press. The forums will be staged at the Owatonna Country Club Mondays in October and November 2 at 1 pm. Seating will be limited. Online viewing options will be offered.