“The business of America is business,” once quipped Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States.
So far, Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case isn’t on record as saying, “The business of Eden Prairie is business.” Nevertheless, he is continuing and even expanding a long-standing tradition whereby the city maintains regular communication with the local business community.
Case stated that it began years ago during prior mayoral administrations.
Specifically, Case said it was the mayors’ keen interest in building closer relationships with businesses that led to the initiation of annual town hall meetings on a weekday morning, usually in the fall, where members of the entire Eden Prairie business community were invited to informal meetings with donuts and coffee.
The next town hall will be in place in February and is open to the public.
“We’d typically get around 50 attendees,” he said. “We’ve been doing that for over a decade. And then we have been surveying our business community for over a decade in a very extensive statistically significant survey process, where we’ve learned that around 95% of our Eden Prairie business leaders are happy with their relationship with Eden Prairie city government.”
Today, he and City Manager Rick Getchow routinely take part in meet-and-greets with local business people to discuss mutual goals, concerns, and ways to strengthen and expand the business climate in Eden Prairie. Pat Mulqueeny, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, represents the local business community.
Case mentioned that Dave Lindahl, the city’s economic development manager, has been pivotal in organizing these meetings for over 20 years, working with previous mayors, including former Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens. Since taking office in January 2019, Mayor Case has attended approximately 30 of these meetings out of the hundreds that have occurred over the last 20 years.
The result is a series of events designed to foster continued good communication and seek mutually acceptable ways to sustain and enhance the business climate in the city.
“Those two are great assets to this effort,” Case said.
Most recently, Case adopted the idea of starting a new initiative, a business roundtable, from Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester. This initiative consists of roundtable discussions held on select Saturdays at the Eden Prairie City Center, where business and city leaders come together.
He said Norton had been implementing it for some time before he adopted it for Eden Prairie, noting her advice has been invaluable in the process.
“We just held the first inaugural business roundtable last month and we plan to hold two a year with the same identified group of 15 business leaders,” Case said.
There are also special meetings with sole proprietors and small businesses of only a few employees.
A special survey is planned to come out in the near future to gauge perceptions and opinions from the business community and the general public about issues and ideas as to how to proceed in the business environment in Eden Prairie and what role the city plays in all that.
The city is also participating in Innovation Sandbox, which is a program in this case that involves high school seniors.
“Students from Eden Prairie High School are learning about basic business, the principals of business and entrepreneurship,” Case said. “We are excited about the process of getting kids interested in business.”
Case feels strongly about how all these efforts are paying off, saying there is a strong commitment to involvement and continuing communication between the city, local businesses and the community at large.
Correction notice: This story has been updated for clarification. The Eden Prairie business meet-and-greet events have been happening for over 20 years, and the recent business roundtable idea was adopted from Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester. We apologize for any confusion in the original story. Our aim is to provide our readers with accurate and informative reporting.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.