Skip to Main Content

View All Blog Posts

#MyDowntownRochMN with John and Sandy MacLaughlin

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. 

Samantha: Hi John and Sandy! I am so glad you were both able to chat with me about your experiences Downtown. It will be great to learn how a Rochester couple has seen Downtown grow over the years. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

John and Sandy: Thanks Samantha, so happy to be here! Well, we were high school sweethearts and have been married for 53 years—and have lived in Rochester for 50 of those years! We have two grown daughters, one of which lives in Rochester with our grandchildren. They love all things Downtown, especially the restaurants, music, and library. We actually moved Downtown to a multi-aged condo in our early 60’s near Soldiers Field and the Zumbro River.

Samantha: High school sweethearts and married for 53 years—I love that! What have you enjoyed most since moving to Downtown?

John and Sandy: We enjoy how walkable Downtown is from our home. Downtown living allows us to participate easily in a myriad of options such as live theatre, shopping, banking, dental, restaurants and more. We also love locally owned businesses and have enjoyed seeing how abundant those are Downtown. Francisco’s Cuban Café, The Chocolate Twist, and Victoria’s are just a few of our favorites.

Samantha: It is so great to see so many unique local businesses Downtown. You mentioned a few businesses above, so who or what helps to make your Downtown experience stand out above all else?

John and Sandy: The staff at Think Bank and Bremer Bank are always friendly and efficient. PJ at Think is a caring and generous man and Molly at Bremer is always helpful when I forget my password. We’re also thrilled that UMR selected a Downtown location. It’s always enjoyable to see the students hanging out at the YMCA and at all the community outreach programs. My (Sandy’s) dentist at Blue Sky is terrific! The massage chair and paraffin hand dip make my appointments there so relaxing.

Ever wanted to visit a dental office that feels more like a spa? Click here to read more about Blue Sky Dental. 

Samantha: What are some of the events that bring you Downtown?

John and Sandy: We have so many can’t miss events Downtown-- Women on Wednesdays at the Rochester Civic Theatre, Rooftop music at The Tap House, cross country skiing and ice skating at Soldiers Field in the winter! Living so close to Soldiers Field, we love that every weekend we can watch or join in a walk or other fundraiser held right there outside our door. 

Want to know about all the events happening in Downtown Rochester? Click here for our event calendar. 

Samantha: It sounds amazing to be so connected to Downtown events that they are right outside your door! Let’s say it’s a quiet night Downtown, any specific shops you’d visit?

John and Sandy: Ever since we moved Downtown we have purchased all our shoes from O&B Shoes, because they’re just a short walk away. Refashion is fun to stop by and see what interesting clothes and furnishings have been added and SEMVA is great for unique gifts, given they have over 65 participating artists.

Samantha: Count me in for that shopping trip! You’ve lived in Rochester for over 50 years, but if you only had 24 hours to spend Downtown, what would you do?

John and Sandy: Our day would start right out the door with a YMCA exercise class followed by a stop at People’s Food Co-op for coffee and a treat. We’d then head over to SEMVA to check out their latest art additions and pick up any litter we find on the way, as we usually do. We might go to Mayo Music if it’s a Monday and then lunch at a casual local restaurant and on to the Rochester Public Library to browse books and newspapers. By then we’d be ready for a coffee stop at Café Steam, walk through Refashion and stroll by the Mayo flower gardens. If it’s Happy Hour we’d go to Terza for their terrific pizza and calamari or Bleu Duck for appetizers. Once evening hits, it’s time for the theatre or music with another stop at the People’s Food Co-op on the route home for a few groceries.

Samantha: Sounds like an amazing day. Again, thank you both so much for talking with me and sharing why you love Downtown Rochester so much!

Want more #MyDowntownRochMN stories? Check out the links below. 

Individual Features

Business Features

Disclaimer: the views, comments, and opinions located within this blog are those of the community individual, not those of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA).