No block party? No tree lighting event? No problem! At least that’s what the Nokomis East Business Association (NEBA) board members were hoping for last summer while meeting virtually to discuss ways to support our member businesses and build community during the pandemic. After several brainstorming sessions, NEBA came up with our newest initiative that was part riddle, part scavenger hunt, and part social media promotion that we aptly named “Nokomis Treasures.”
The goal? Give residents and fans of Nokomis East a reason to get out of the house and explore the neighborhood safely, while encouraging them to patronize their favorite businesses (Treasures!). The idea was one thing but launching a completely new project was another story, especially while social distancing. NEBA is a volunteer-driven organization, so this would be quite the undertaking for those involved.
Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the diverse professional backgrounds and skills of our members to plan and execute the event. By far, the heavy lifting was carried out by NEBA Co-Chair, Heidi Van Heel of hvh Engage! Heidi has a home-based business in the neighborhood where she helps her clients with their own promotional strategies and content creation. It is safe to say that the project would not have gone anywhere without her efforts and expertise. With Heidi taking care of the marketing and execution, someone needed to actually seek out some locations and write the clues! For this, the planning committee turned to member and local real estate expert Bob Albrecht of Bob Albrecht Real Estate. It was a perfect fit for this lifelong realtor to utilize his knowledge of the neighborhood to identify some of its most treasured gems. But he further dazzled us all with his clever clue writing skills! With the locations determined and the clues prepared, all we needed was a medallion.
Once again, our dynamic Nokomis East business community showed its diversity with Jennie the Potter (Tang), owner of The Workshop Mpls, who got to work creating a beautiful custom medallion for the scavenger hunt. Of course, there were many other tasks to complete to make the project successful. NEBA Treasurer Kris Pearson (Keller Williams Realty) took the lead on securing prizes and the rest of the board, including me – Co-Chair Patrick Jensen (Edward Jones Investments), Nick Daugherty (McDonald’s Liquor & Wine), Metal Mike (Nokomis Tattoo), and Neil Oxendale (Oxendale’s Market) pitched in wherever needed. Plus, we also had numerous member businesses -- home-based and storefront – who provided prizes for the effort, and #NokomisLife helped spread the word far and wide at every turn.
NEBA’s mission is to promote its members and area businesses by working together to build a stronger, richer, and more vibrant community. This Nokomis Treasures initiative was a tremendous success. However, there is still a tough road ahead for many businesses. The block party, tree lighting, and other events will someday return, but one thing this project confirmed is that the neighborhood businesses and its residents are truly stronger together!
If you or someone you know would like to get involved with NEBA or find out how you can help with our next project, you can contact us at email@example.com.
List of prize winners and photos start on page 1 and jump to pages 14-15.