Category: Lifestyle

5 Ways to Extend Dining into Public Spaces

Posted on June 11,2020

Before COVID-19 pushed Minnesota restaurants to quickly pivot to outdoor offerings, al fresco dining was already gaining popularity around the country. Take a look at these precedents from Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, and elsewhere. 

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

Announcing the Keep it Local Grant Recipients

Posted on May 18,2020

Fifty-five local businesses are innovating and partnering with other local entities to propel themselves into a world beyond COVID-19. With gracious financial contributions from the City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center, the Keep it Local, COVID-19 Innovators Grant program distributed $100,000 among these businesses to collaborate on new technology or business models in response to COVID-19.

Tags: Community Spotlight | Lifestyle

How to Create an At-Home Ergonomic Workspace

Posted on May 6,2020

What a pain in the neck! No, we're not talking about a thing or a person but a literal pain caused by an improperly set-up at-home office. With so many people working remotely in response to COVID-19, hear from a professional for how to create an at-home ergonomic workspace.

Tags: Lifestyle

Mother's Day specials from downtown Rochester

Posted on April 28,2020

Ma. Mum. Mommy. Madre. However you refer to her, let your mother know you're thinking of her, even if you can't be with her in person. Celebrate your mom with these Mother's Day specials from downtown Rochester.

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

5 Ways to Help Your Business through COVID-19

Posted on April 24,2020

COVID-19 is an unprecedented time that has created a new way of doing business. To provide the most up to date information about your business, the Rochester Downtown Alliance staff has put together five ways to help your business through COVID-19.

Tags: Lifestyle

Safe Physical Distancing Activities in downtown Rochester

Posted on April 21,2020

Minnesotans are at home per Governor Tim Walz's executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19. But "at home" does not need to mean "confined to your home," as the governor is encouraging people to get outdoors safely. Here are some safe physical distancing activities to enjoy in downtown Rochester.

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle | Shopping

Community Spotlight on Yoga Tribe MN

Posted on April 3,2020

Breathe in, breathe out. It sounds simple but taking time to breathe is important. Yoga and meditation can help you live in the moment and be grounded back to reality. Yoga Tribe MN owner Heather Ritenour-Sampson shares how a simple 30-minute virtual session can help alleviate stress and anxious feelings and help boost your outlook in this Community Spotlight feature.

Tags: Community Spotlight | Lifestyle

Down for the Account: Get Taxes Done in Downtown Rochester

Posted on March 24,2020

With COVID-19 affecting other aspects of life, Tax Day is no exception. On March 20, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced the April 15 filing deadline has been extended to July 15. (On March 17, the federal tax payment deadline was extended 90 days.) Don’t overtax your brain, wondering where to get that much-needed help. Set up appointments with any of the following businesses to account for your 2019 taxes.

Tags: Lifestyle

COVID-19 Support for Businesses and Organizations

Posted on March 23,2020

Business information and resources relating to COVID-19. 

Tags: Lifestyle

How to Help the Downtown Rochester Community during COVID-19

Posted on March 23,2020

Find ways to support the Rochester community, both downtown and throughout the city.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Rebecca with Poppi Italian Leather

Posted on March 22,2020

Meet Rebecca with Poppi Italian Leather in downtown Rochester. Hard work and determination have gotten her to where she is today: a successful business owner. Read more about her journey and what she has learned throughout the years.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Heather with Yoga Tribe

Posted on March 13,2020

Meet Heather Ritenour-Sampson with Yoga Tribe MN in downtown Rochester. She became a small business owner "because I was tired of asking permission and waiting for change." If you can identify, Heather's story here is an inspiring read.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Beth with Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse

Posted on March 11,2020

Meet Beth Coons with Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse in downtown Rochester. As general manager, Beth juggles a lot. How does she get it all done? Find out here as she explains the daily challenges, and rewards, of being a female entrepreneur.

Tags: Lifestyle

The Essential Guide to Downtown Rochester's Ladies' Night Out

Posted on March 9,2020

Update as of March 12, 2020: For the safety and health of downtown business employees and attendees, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is postponing Ladies’ Night Out amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) concern. We make decisions like this with the utmost care and consider local, state, and national updates. We look forward to bringing you community events you love soon.

It's not just girls who wanna have fun: Ladies' Night Out March 26 presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance is a good time for everyone! With more activities and experiences for every age and gender, plan your night out with this essential guide to the upcoming Ladies' Night Out in downtown Rochester.

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

Meet Joan from Tangerine at Wildflowers

Posted on March 6,2020

Meet Joan Blakley McCoy from Tangerine at Wildflowers in downtown Rochester, which is a fun and happy place because of businesses like hers. Find out what Joan's biggest reward is from being a small business owner.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Becca with The Loop

Posted on March 4,2020

Meet Becca Greising with The Loop in downtown Rochester. Customer service is ingrained in Becca, who has been in the hospitality industry for eight years and watched her mom in it for 20. Find out what keeps her motivated.

Tags: Lifestyle

What's New for Ladies' Night Out 2020?

Posted on March 3,2020

Update as of March 12, 2020: For the safety and health of downtown business employees and attendees, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is postponing Ladies’ Night Out amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) concern. We make decisions like this with the utmost care and consider local, state, and national updates. We look forward to bringing you community events you love soon.

Extra, extra: read all about investing in yourself and enjoying being with friends at Ladies' Night Out March 26 in downtown Rochester. Here are the newest Ladies' Night Out additions!

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

The 29 Ladies' Night Out Participating Businesses

Posted on February 29,2020

Update as of March 12, 2020: For the safety and health of downtown business employees and attendees, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is postponing Ladies’ Night Out amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) concern. We make decisions like this with the utmost care and consider local, state, and national updates. We look forward to bringing you community events you love soon.

Recharge in March with Ladies' Night Out March 26, whether that's through relaxation, empowerment, dining, or some retail therapy. These downtown Rochester businesses are ready to offer a fun time for all Ladies' Night Out attendees.

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping

Meet Anna with Pure Barre

Posted on February 28,2020

Meet Anna Christian with Pure Barre in downtown Rochester. Her story is a must-read: from empowering others to taking time for herself! Find out about her journey from Pure Barre instructor to owner.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Kendra with Friends' of the Library Bookstore

Posted on February 26,2020

Meet Kendra Ryan with Friends of the Library Bookstore in downtown Rochester. She is one of the many volunteers in the female-centric environment (63 of the 69 volunteers are women) at the bookstore.

Tags: Lifestyle

Sharing the Best-Kept Secrets…To Weekend Brunch & Bevies

Posted on February 25,2020

Rise and shine, weekenders! Everyone needs a good start to the day, and it all begins with a good breakfast! Below are some of the best places for brunch and bevies you’ll find in downtown Rochester on a Saturday, Sunday or both days!

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

Meet Ashley with Dooley's Pub

Posted on February 20,2020

Meet Ashley McKittrick with Dooley's Pub & Restaurant in downtown Rochester. Having been with Dooley's since day one, she worked her way up to general manager from waitressing to bartending to management.

Tags: Lifestyle

Meet Mary Jo from Healing Touch Spa

Posted on February 19,2020

Meet Mary Jo Majerus with Healing Touch Spa in downtown Rochester. She shares the journey to opening her own massage business and her story of being a woman in business.

Tags: Lifestyle

Half of Rochester's Favorite Restaurants are Downtown

Posted on February 12,2020

Way to pick 'em, Rochester! Half of the Rochester Magazine's Favorite Restaurant winners are those that can be found in downtown Rochester. Find out how your favorite restaurant stacked up in this list.

Tags: Food | Lifestyle

10 Most Asked-For Santa Presents and Where to Find Them in Downtown

Posted on December 10,2019

Santa Claus had to hurry on his way November 29. But before he waved goodbye, he gave us a peek at the Here Comes Santa Claus kids’ letters. What were the top asked-for gifts? Find out here!

Tags: Events | Lifestyle | Shopping

Pitch Your Idea for a Downtown Rochester Event

Posted on November 19,2019

Planning events is no easy feat. As the producers of large events like SocialICE and Thursdays Downtown, we get it! That’s why we want to help new or existing event organizers secure event funding through our Start-Up Event Grant.

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

5 Questions with Holly, RDA executive director

Posted on October 19,2019

By now, Holly Masek is no stranger to Rochester. Starting the position as executive director in June, Holly hit the ground running. Now, she's catching up for a little one-on-one insight into why she chose Rochester after growing up in the northeast. Let's hear more about her in her conversation here!

Tags: Lifestyle

Organically Yours: A Downtown Rochester Mural Collaboration

Posted on October 15,2019

A new mural in downtown Rochester, created by local artists Leah Bee of Canvas & Chardonnay and Liz Forsman, will blend one artist’s style of colorful organic shapes with another’s line art.

Tags: Art & Culture | Lifestyle

Dogs Downtown Quiz: What Type of Dog are You?

Posted on July 29,2019

With more than 300 dog breeds (according to the World Canine Organization), what type are you? Find out with this quiz before Dogs Downtown August 3 in downtown Rochester, where you'll see a variety of breeds!

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

5 Q & As for Karli McElroy's 5-Year Work Anniversary

Posted on July 18,2019

Much can happen in five years. Karli McElroy, the Rochester Downtown Alliance's senior director of placemaking, is living proof that is true! In five years, she's done a variety of work at the RDA, and her incredible patience, tireless dedication, and inspiring talent have been instrumental along the way! Cheers for Karli McElroy as she celebrated her fifth work anniversary with the Rochester Downtown Alliance! To celebrate, Karli takes a trip down memory lane with Katie Adelman, the RDA's director of content and communications!

Tags: Art & Culture | Lifestyle

3 Food-Allergy-Friendly Eats at Thursdays Downtown

Posted on July 16,2019

Living with a food allergy or a dietary restriction doesn't mean depriving yourself of mouthwatering fare. Whether you have a sensitivity to gluten or dairy or you are a vegetarian, delicious options complementary to your dietary needs can be found at Thursdays Downtown!

Tags: Events | Food | Lifestyle | Thursdays Downtown

5 Questions with Monika, the new RDA events manager

Posted on June 20,2019

The Rochester Downtown Alliance is excited to announce Monika Kopet as the new events manager! Let's hear more about her in her conversation below!

Tags: Lifestyle

Movies in the Park, a Feature Presentation in Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 28,2019

With the premiere of Movies in the Park, presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Premier Bank Rochester, summer nights are about to get a lot more fun! Save the following dates for Movies in the Park 2019!

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

A Visitor’s Guide: Where to Stay and What to Do in Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 26,2019

To see, to stay or to do; that is the question. In downtown Rochester, you can do it all! Whether you’re here for a day or a week, there’s no shortage of things to experience. Check-in to any of downtown Rochester’s fine hotels for a welcomed stay with plenty to do during waking hours. Below you will find a complete guide for visiting downtown Rochester!

Tags: Lifestyle

Explore Your Backyard Like a Pro

Posted on May 20,2019

No matter how long you’ve been a resident—be it a year or 50—you probably feel like you know downtown Rochester like the back of your hand! As Rochester continues to grow in vitality, so will its opportunities. We always encourage you to find more to explore! Start with the following See, Stay, and Do guides to downtown Rochester!

Tags: Lifestyle

A New Lease on Life with a Downtown Rochester Apartment

Posted on May 13,2019

As Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" said, “There’s no place like home.” Downtown Rochester, Minnesota could be your next home sweet home! With many conveniences right outside your door in downtown Rochester (every service imaginable, you’re minutes away from where you need/want to be, entertainment options abound, etc.), it’s all about location, location, location! Find a new place to call home; have a look at the following Downtown Rochester rentals!

Tags: Lifestyle

Sharing the Best-Kept Secrets…To The Best Housewarming Gifts

Posted on May 12,2019

So, you need a housewarming gift. Where do you start to look? Luckily, downtown Rochester has many stores with a variety of offerings to suit your giftee’s style! From a vibrant print for their walls to a fragrant floral arrangement, these are the places in downtown Rochester to find the best housewarming gifts!

Tags: Lifestyle | Shopping

Don’t Miss Out! A Year of Downtown Rochester Events

Posted on May 6,2019

How does the common saying go: “So much time and so little to do”? Strike that and reverse it! In downtown Rochester, there is plenty to do and we’ll help you with the time factor, too! Here is a list of Rochester events worth traveling for in every season and year-round! Find more Events in downtown Rochester while attending the following!

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Food | Lifestyle | Shopping | Thursdays on first & 3rd

6 Accommodations for Your Visit to Downtown Rochester

Posted on April 29,2019

“Are you here for business or personal?” It’s a question likely to be heard when booking a hotel room. Whichever is the case, your stay in downtown Rochester will be a pleasurable one! Many thoughtful amenities inside the hotel itself and even more within walking distance await you for however long you are staying with us in downtown Rochester. Discover the possibilities for accommodations in downtown Rochester below!

Tags: Lifestyle

What to Do in Downtown Rochester in Your Free Time

Posted on April 23,2019

Welcome to downtown Rochester, Minnesota! Whether you are visiting for the first time or are a life-long resident, here you will find plenty of places to go in your spare time. Within a 44-block district, downtown Rochester has everything from arts and culture to live action to quiet nature. Find your free-time fit with the following See & Do ideas in downtown Rochester!

Tags: Art & Culture | Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

5 questions with Katie, the newest RDA staff member

Posted on March 12,2019

The Rochester Downtown Alliance is excited to announce Katie Adelman as the new director of content and communications! While not originally from the area, Katie is all too familiar with Rochester. But we’ll let her tell you more in her conversation below!

Tags: Lifestyle

Rochester Downtown Alliance is Seeking a New Executive Director

Posted on February 19,2019

Rochester Downtown Alliance is excited to announce our search for a new Executive Director! The Executive Director is responsible for the overall management of RDA, providing strategic leadership and oversight of all aspects of RDA’s operations. As a key player in economic development and business improvement of the 44-block Downtown district, the Executive Director will have a critical seat at the table – to serve as an ambassador, marketer, and promotor of Downtown Rochester. With the support of a strong board of directors – and a passionate and dedicated team – the new Executive Director will have every opportunity to serve as a visionary leader to develop new and creative strategies for greater organizational impact and growth in alignment with our mission. We are seeking a motivational and inclusive leader; a natural connector who can bring the right people and resources together to effect change. The ideal candidate will bring a contagious passion for economic development and community revitalization.

Click here for the full job description or reach directly to our search partners at to apply. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tags: Lifestyle

Featured Stakeholder Series with Kim Zabel

Posted on November 28,2018

Kim Zabel is a true supporter of the community and visitors to Downtown Rochester. Her efforts do not go unnoticed and you will feel her care and support upon entering her store.

What is your favorite thing about Rochester?

I appreciate the connections and accessibility Downtown Rochester offers its community and guests. People can get where they need to go through a variety of transportation modes. Subways and skyways all provide walking access and our bike trails provide paths for cyclists and runners. The public transit system is continuing to improve as well.

Tags: Lifestyle

Featured Stakeholder Series with Ty Bestor

Posted on September 12,2018

Ty Bestor, owner of Valor Mechanical has been helping build our city for many years. Below is a quick behind-the- scene glimpse of his business model and some of the secrets behind his success.

Tags: Lifestyle

#MyDowntownRochMN with Lisha Leonard

Posted on September 11,2018

For this week's #MyDowntownRochMN we would like to introduce you to Lisha Leonard. Lisha moved to Rochester about five years ago from a small town in Wisconsin and is excited about the every changing menus that work with her vegan lifestyle. Keep reading to learn about her favorites. 

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with Craig Jacobsen

Posted on August 28,2018

For this week’s #MyDowntownRochMN blog, meet Craig Jacobsen, a Police Officer in Downtown Rochester. We learned about his Downtown view as a police officer, as well as his recommendation for the best coffee.

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with Danae Gaio

Posted on July 31,2018

Our latest featured shared the story of high school sweethearts John and Sandy MacLaughlin. This week we caught up with Danae who enjoys the convenient location of her job and the proximity to the great food options, steps from her desk. 

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN featuring Blue Sky Dental

Posted on July 17,2018

While the average dentist may not offer a paraffin wax or a massage chair during your routine checkup, Blue Sky Dental is not your average dentist office! During John and Sandy MacLaughlin’s #MyDowntownRochMN interview, Sandy commented on how terrific she feels after her appointments at Blue Sky Dental. We talked with Dr. SonjaMae, owner of Blue Sky Dental, to find out what makes them an above average dental clinic.

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with John and Sandy MacLaughlin

Posted on July 17,2018

Our last feature was on Ahmed Makkawy for our #MyDowntownRochMN campaign. This week we sat down with high school sweethearts John and Sandy to get their take on all things Downtown Rochester, MN. Plus, we learned how to make your trip to the dentist more enjoyable. 

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with Ahmed Makkawy

Posted on July 3,2018

Our last feature was on Shane Braatz and Svaar, owner of Knights Chamber for our #MyDowntownRochMN campaign. This week we sat down with Ahmed Makkawy to get his take on all things Downtown Rochester, MN. Plus, we learned some very interesting information about the banking industry as we also interviewed PJ from Think Bank.

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN Featuring Think Bank

Posted on July 3,2018

Ahmed Makkawy shared with us in his #MyDowntownRochMN interview that the customer service at Think Mutual Bank helps make his Downtown experience stand out. We sat down with PJ, the Branch Manager at the Downtown location, to learn about Think Mutual Bank.

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

Organizational Update

Posted on June 29,2018

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) Board of Directors would like to share that Executive Director, Jenna Bowman, will be stepping away from her role on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Bowman has accepted the newly created Communications & Engagement Manager position with the City of Rochester.

Tags: Lifestyle

#MyDowntownRochMN Featuring Knight's Chamber

Posted on June 19,2018

Located in the heart of the Shops at University Square lies Knight’s Chamber of Rochester. Shane Braatz mentioned in his #MyDowntownRochMN interview that the staff at Knight’s Chamber “provide a whole new level of customer service”. We decided to dig deeper into his statement and sit down with Svaar, owner of Knight’s Chamber, to learn about the ins and outs of his business.

Tags: Lifestyle | Shopping | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with Shane Braatz

Posted on June 19,2018

We are one month into the #MyDowntownRochMN campaign and we, at the Rochester Downtown Alliance, are so excited to continue to provide interviews all year long. No matter the season, we’ll provide you with firsthand knowledge of how you can make YOUR Downtown experience even better. Plus, we invite you to share what you love about Downtown Rochester by using #MyDowntownRochMN on your social media accounts. 

Last week we heard from Amanda Golden and her love for the First Avenue Food Court. This week we sat down with Shane Braatz for #MyDowntownRochMN to get his take on all things Downtown Rochester, MN. 

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

Featured Stakeholder Series with Sean Baker

Posted on June 8,2018

The Med City Beat started in 2014 and has grown to be one of Rochester's go-to media outlets. Capturing over 14,000 loyal followers through Facebook by producing breaking news, community stories, opinion pieces, and everything in between. If you haven't already, it's time for you to meet Sean Baker, the man behind it all. See Sean's answers below on all things Downtown Rochester. 

Tags: Lifestyle

#MyDowntownRochMN with Amanda Golden

Posted on June 5,2018

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) introduced #MyDowntownRochMN two weeks ago by featuring Nicki de Vera and highlighting Canvas & Chardonnay. The RDA will continue to provide interviews all year long, so no matter what the season, we’ll provide you with firsthand knowledge of how you can make YOUR Downtown experience even better. Plus, we invite you to share what you love about Downtown Rochester by using #MyDowntownRochMN on your social media accounts. 

This week we sat down with Amanda Golden for #MyDowntownRochMN to get her take on all things Downtown Rochester, MN. 

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN Featuring the 1st Ave Food Court

Posted on June 5,2018

First Avenue Food Court

Where is the First Avenue Food Court? This can be a common question for those who have yet to discover this Downtown Rochester gem. The First Avenue Food Court offers incredible food options. This includes on-the-go versions of Rochester restaurant favorites or unique cuisine all over the world. Wondering how to get there? You can find the First Avenue Food Court by entering from the street level on First Avenue or 2nd Street. In addition, you can also head up to the second floor of University Square and just pop around the corner. Make sure to add the First Avenue Food Court to your Downtown Rochester destination list. It is worth discovering and exploring!

Tags: Food | Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN Featuring Canvas & Chardonnay

Posted on May 22,2018

Do you love painting with your girlfriends or just enjoy a fun night out with adult beverages? Nicki de Vera thinks Canvas & Chardonnay is the perfect place, as she mentioned in her #MyDowntownRochMN interview. We stopped by Canvas & Chardonnay to chat with Leah, one of the new owners, and learn more about the business.

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

#MyDowntownRochMN with Nicki de Vera

Posted on May 22,2018

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is excited to introduce a new campaign called #MyDowntownRochMN. The campaign will feature interviews with a variety of community members so we can share with you all the things they love about Downtown Rochester, MN. We want you to know to where the locals go!

RDA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Samantha, will be doing interviews all year long so no matter what the season, we’ll provide you with firsthand accounts of how you can make YOUR Downtown experience even better. So, without further ado, let’s get started. Meet Nicki de Vera!

Tags: Lifestyle | #MyDowntownRochMN

Board of Directors Featuring Angie Richards and Jeanine Gangeness

Posted on September 20,2017

Part of a diverse and eclectic group, RDA Board Members Jeanine Gangeness and Angie Richards share their point of view into the RDA’s values, mission, and strategic priorities .

Which of the RDA values resonates the most with you and why?

Jeanine Gangeness: The value that most resonates with me is the focus on striving for excellence. Accessibility is essential to downtown programming for Rochester residents and visitors. Focusing on providing great events, programs and services for everyone who wants to have fun is why this value resonates with me. Similar to the work with students, staff and faculty at WSU-Rochester, accessibility and quality are essential! We have a lot of fun too!!

Angie Richards: Strive For Excellence is the core belief that resonates with personally. By facilitating engaging, fun and family-friendly programs and events downtown, this excellence creates an environment and feeling unique to Rochester. Our downtown area has an important role in economic and social development and I take pride that as we Strive for Excellence each and every day that the RDA promotes a foundation that is welcoming, accessible and approachable.

Which strategic priority is most important to you and why?

JG: The two strategic priorities that are the most important to me are the RDA’s work with multiple partners through collaboration and use of data (downtown experts). I respect the work that the RDA has done to revitalize downtown Rochester and track the impact through well managed data. Ms. Bowman has transformed the organization through effective use of data which is reflected in the increased funding over the past few years. The RDA has a small, and mighty, staff who collaborates and uses data effectively.

Why do you feel it’s important for the RDA to provide benefits, opportunities, and support for downtown Rochester?

JG: The benefits of the RDA benefits, opportunities and support has resulted in revitalization of downtown. Selfishly, I live downtown, so I love the energy of downtown Rochester, which is due to the great activities the RDA programs. Rochester is a great place to live and have fun!!

AR: Igniting downtown Rochester as a central gathering space has transformed our community, and by building upon that innovation will continue to do so in the years to come. By leading with an authentic passion for downtown, the Rochester Downtown Alliance creates a central space where business, community and cultural activities are concentrated. Where people and places have memorable experiences while at the same time growing our local economy.

Why do you feel a vibrant downtown is important?

JG: A vibrant downtown is essential to business viability and resident livability.

AR: Downtowns are iconic and powerful symbols for a city and often contain the most historic landmarks and distinctive features. A vibrant downtown, full of activity and life, is the heart of our city and having a healthy heart is essential to having a strong city. Vibrancy downtown sets the tone for investment, new business opportunities, as well as, being a place to live and visit.

Tags: Lifestyle

Downtown Rochester Featured Stakeholder: Virginia A. Smith of Ginny’s Fine Fabrics

Posted on March 9,2017

Downtown Stakeholders are the personality of Downtown Rochester, and that got us thinking, “We bet there are some interesting stories out there.” So the RDA sat down with downtown Rochester stakeholder Virginia A. Smith of Ginny’s Fine Fabrics with one objective: “Tell us about yourself.” 

Why did you start Ginny’s Fine Fabrics? 

Virginia Smith: I started Ginny’s Fine Fabrics when I was just 26 years old and had worked for a fine women’s clothing store for many years.  My employer had taught me all aspects of running a business and my passion had always been creating unique garments by sewing them, so when an opportunity to start a branch of Amluxen’s, a fine fabric store in Minneapolis, was offered to me, I jumped at the chance.

Why is it important to you to be operating from downtown Rochester?

VS: I truly believe that my business would not have survived elsewhere in Rochester, as proximity to Mayo has brought me customers from all over the world, especially people who appreciate the value of quality.  

Is your main customer base local residents, visitors, or a mix?

VS: My main customers come from everywhere.  Many are local - happy to have a local source for their sewing needs, whatever they are.  However, I do have regular customers from all over the world.  I carry the unique silks and cottons desired by the ladies from the Middle East, whose desert sun fades fabric of lesser quality in no time at all.  Men from the same countries choose my fine “tropical” woolens for their full-length caftans.  I have mail order customers who have found a cloth they enjoy working with and cannot find elsewhere, who order over and over.  I also have designers who just love working with elegant fabric when creating their original designs.  All are welcome!

What is your favorite thing about Rochester?

VS: I was born here, so it is ‘home.’  Most of my family is within a few hours of Rochester.  Although I went away to college, I never felt safe until I returned to live in the shadow of the Mayo Clinic.

What do you think is the best kept secret about downtown?

VS: [It’s] the incredible variety of quality choices in merchandise  and cuisine.  Unlike the “big box” retailers, quality is job #1!

What do you think the biggest change will be to downtown in the next 20 years?

VS: ...seems to be the impact of the implementation of the DMC.  That change will have an unknown effect on the community I have known all my life, but change is the one constant of life, so let’s have it.

What unique perspective do you have being a fabric store in downtown Rochester?

VS: My customers are so varied, from so many different cultures, that they have given me a unique, appreciative view of the entire world.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

VS: The most exciting project I ever participated in was making a suit for a local young man who was 7’8” tall and had been invited to go on a cruise where a suit jacket was required to enter the dining rooms.  With the financial and stitching help of a few loyal customers, we were able to “dress” him properly for the cruise in less than a week’s time!  It was very rewarding in many ways!

And lastly, is it Virginia or Ginny?

VS: Everyone - but my banker - calls me Ginny.

Tags: Lifestyle

It's Global Entrepreneurship Week in downtown Rochester

Posted on November 9,2016

Global Entrepreneurship Week Rochester

November 14-20 is Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Rochester - a celebration of entrepreneurship in Rochester, MN.

Tags: Lifestyle

KSMQ TV's R-Town talks PlaceMakers | Rochester Prototyping Festival

Posted on May 25,2016

Rochester Downtown Alliance Executive Director Jenna Bowman talks about PlaceMakers | Rochester Prototyping Festival on R-Town, the show about Rochester by KSMQ TV.

Video by KSMQ TV

Tags: Lifestyle

John Adams Butt Kickers Pick Up Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 24,2016

"One of the many reasons why Rochester is an amazing place to live? We have middle schoolers like the John Adams Butt Kickers who aren’t afraid to pick up used cigarette butt litter from downtown.

"A giant Litter Bit Better thank you to this crew who canvased downtown today to collect heaps of toxic cigarette butts!"

The John Adams middle schoolers collected 28,179 butts this past weekend. Thank you for taking the time to clean up our streets.

Tags: Lifestyle

Looking for ideas in downtown Rochester - KIMT 3

Posted on May 19,2016

Source: Looking for ideas in downtown Rochester - KIMT3

Tags: Lifestyle

MN Bicycling Awards Recognizes People’s Food Co-op of Rochester

Posted on May 3,2016

More Minnesotans are bicycling more often, and more towns, cities and businesses across the state are working to become bicycle-friendly.

To recognize some of the organizations and individuals working especially hard and doing amazing things to support bicycling, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota has revitalized the Minnesota Bicycling Awards (formerly the Northstar Biking Awards), which lay dormant for more 20 years.

People from across the state nominated their colleagues, local community members, and organizations for the Minnesota Bicycling Awards over a month-long period. The submission list was reviewed by a panel of bicycle educators and advocates, and the winners were announced at the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s Annual Meeting on May 1. The 2016 winners and categories

Tags: Lifestyle

"Prototype Festival Planning for Rochester's Future"

Posted on April 27,2016

Click here for more information about the Rochester Prototyping Festival.

Source: Prototype Festival Planning for Rochester's Future - ABC 6 KAAL tv

Tags: Lifestyle

DMC: The Rochester Story Project

Posted on November 24,2014

Everyone has a story to tell and the people of Rochester are no different. Created by DMC, The Rochester Story Project comes to life in the people, places, and faces featured in the videos, and they just release the first installment. 

Check it out here. Tell us what you think? Did you see yourself? 

The Rochester Story Project from Knowble Media on Vimeo.

From the DMC Blog:

"The Rochester Story Project is a platform that gives voice to the people and places that make up the fabric of our city. The City of Rochester is a living narrative, and with the DMC plan nearing approval, our story is building momentum.

"Our goal with The Rochester Story Project is to showcase our community—one person at a time. These are people who live, work, play, heal and learn in Rochester. Individually, and as a collective, we all impact our community and each other, now and in the future"


Tags: Art & Culture | Lifestyle

STYLE on the Plaza 2014 Visual Recap

Posted on October 9,2014

Re-live the Excitment of STYLE 2014

Shawn Fagan at Fagan Studios captures the excitement, entertainment, and fashion of STYLE on the Plaza: the Experience 2014 through this stunning visual tour. Click through and tell us what you think!


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Tags: Entertainment | Lifestyle


Posted on October 8,2014

Explore MN Features Rochester in Commercial

Check out this commercial created by Explore Minnesota. Can you spot where Downtown Rochester is featured? Have you been to that spot?



Video compliments of Explore Minnesota.

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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle