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Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce reflects on past and looks toward a vibrant future

Mon, May 21st, 2012
Posted in Lanesboro All

In 1989, the ribbon was cut for the official opening of the Root River State Bike Trail through the quiet, historic town of Lanesboro. People were drawn to the area by the trail and the beauty of the scenic limestone bluffs and river valley. The same year, a theatre production ran for several weeks and the Commonweal Theatre Company was born. Lanesboro was awakened to new possibilities with the combined experiences of the arts and outdoors. Lanesboro discovered outdoor enthusiasts love the arts! New tourist based businesses emerged in dining, shopping, lodging, touring and outfitting for river fun. Lanesboro earned its place on the map as a tourist destination in the upper Midwest.

The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce is reflecting upon the past and is looking toward a vibrant future. Beginning in 2011, the chamber board engaged a professional from Zietgeist Consulting, Bill Geist, a highly regarded destination marketing guru. He led the chamber through a process of identifying key goals and tourism marketing strategies. Chamber President Dave Huisenga said, “The Chamber examined ways to make Lanesboro more attractive and enhance the overall Lanesboro experience. This in turn will strengthen our downtown and community-wide business climate and make Lanesboro attractive to potential new businesses.”

Chamber board members are exploring the feasibility of attracting conference and retreat groups to Lanesboro. The chamber board believes that one key way to bring business is to promote Lanesboro as a small group conference and retreat destination. There are many community assets already in place that could be used for this purpose. We believe that Lanesboro offers unique experiences, as a small conference venue, which are not available elsewhere in the region.

When asked about Lanesboro’s journey, Executive Director Julie Kiehne, commented, “I am often asked to make presentations at other towns throughout the Midwest relating to trail development and tourism. I see communities struggle the most with change. Lanesboro has experienced and will continue to have our share of challenges; however, we are blessed to have creative and visionary movers and shakers who embrace change. I have a renewed appreciation for all we have in Lanesboro and the progress we have made. Our individual businesses, school, churches, arts organizations, city government, non-profits and civic groups all depend on a healthy business climate for survival. Recognizing our interdependence will be key to our ongoing success. Working together, we all win!”

The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce embraces this Vision Statement: “Lanesboro…The Premier Small Town Culture and Arts Destination in the Midwest.”

The complete Strategic Plan may be found at

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