Statement from Board Co-Chairs on merger of Minneapolis Regional Chamber & TwinWest Chamber

Minneapolis-St. Paul — The consolidation of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber and TwinWest Chamber of Commerce became official today.

Both chambers’ boards of directors have passed joint resolutions, along with an affirmative vote of the membership, bringing together two of the region’s strongest business organizations into one to leverage their collective resources and relationships. The consolidation process began in May and concluded today.

The combined chamber has nearly 2,300 member businesses. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber serves the 11-county metro area while TwinWest has served the west metro cities of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Medicine Lake, Minnetonka, New Hope, Plymouth, and St. Louis Park.

The chamber will operate under the Minneapolis Regional Chamber name. Jonathan Weinhagen, the current President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber, will be President and CEO of the merged chamber. TwinWest Chamber President Shannon Full will serve as Executive Vice President.

The following is a statement from Minneapolis Regional Chamber Co-Chairs Ravi Norman of Norman Global Enterprises and Jason Besler of NorthRock Partners:

“Combining the strengths of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber and the TwinWest Chamber amplifies our ability to support businesses and drive economic growth. This was a discussion that was underway prior to this year, but the past several months have shown us every organization must seek out strong partnerships, deliver innovation, and focus on core mission. We are excited about the future of this Chamber and our ability to increase the value we bring to members and stakeholders now and for decades to come.”

The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1984 through the merger of several chambers of commerce. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber was founded in 1881.

A Message From Chamber President Jonathan Weinhagen

Dear Stakeholders –
Over the past several months our nation, state and region have grappled with dual pandemics – COVID-19 and racism. Minnesotans have taken to the streets to condemn racism and demand positive change.
At the same time, the economic impact of COVID-19 has been dramatic. Our state has seen eye-popping unemployment rates, notably for Black Minnesotans. Many families are struggling – in May, seven in ten households reported having enough savings to last four months and one in three families could only last one month.

Under these dire circumstances, we’ve witnessed understandable anger in addition to actions that ultimately hurt our ability to rebuild our economy and create a region that shares its prosperity more broadly.

Last night, violence erupted in Minneapolis. It began downtown following a false rumor about a police-involved shooting. Damage included the Target store on Nicollet, Chipotle, Caribou, Haskell’s, Foot Locker, Devil’s Advocate, and Nordstrom Rack. Fires were set at Brit’s Pub as well as at three businesses outside of downtown – Tires Plus on Lake Street, and China Wok and Walgreens in South Minneapolis.

We appreciate the decisive leadership of Mayor Frey and quick response of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minnesota National Guard.

While the situation was brought under control, it is still disheartening to businesses that are working to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic. In particular, downtown businesses that have been impacted by fewer people working at office buildings are concerned about the future of our city.

The first responsibility of government is public safety. People will work, visit, shop in, and experience Minneapolis only if they feel safe. The Chamber, along with partners including the Downtown Council, Meet Minneapolis, BOMA and the Warehouse District Business Association, have been working with the community to advocate for the necessary resources to maintain safety, while also working to reimagine and improve policing. We believe that these goals are compatible. We invite you to engage with our efforts to create a safer and better city for all.

 

Sincerely,

Jonathan Weinhagen, President & CEO
Minneapolis Regional Chamber

Statement on public safety from mpls downtown council, Mpls Regional Chamber, and BOMA MPLS

There is an unmistakable and significant negative impact from the framing of a needed discussion about improving law enforcement and other public safety efforts as “dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department.” Without a clear understanding that policing services will be reinvented but not eliminated in our City, we can anticipate the desirability of Minneapolis as a community to live, visit, invest, and create/maintain jobs within will diminish.
There is no greater responsibility facing our elected officials at City Hall than providing public safety for all our residents, workers, and visitors. There is no debate more important facing them, and the entire community, than how best to fulfill that responsibility in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and all that led up to that moment. The following principles will guide our participation in that conversation. We anticipate more organizations and businesses will join us in coming days.

To read this entire message click here.

A Message to our Community Following the Tragic Death of George Floyd

Over the past several days, the world has seen both the worst and the best of Minneapolis-St. Paul. It is incomprehensible that George Floyd, an African American man, a member of our community, a beloved employee of a small business in Minneapolis and a friend to many, was murdered while handcuffed and pleading for his life. The lack of respect for human dignity from someone charged with upholding the law is disgusting and devastating. Our state and country are clearly not where we need to be, not when violence is inflicted by those trained to deescalate it.

Our community has also rallied to support and care for one another. This generosity and loving spirit have been evident even in these difficult days. As one example among many, Touchstone Mental Health requested food donations for Minnehaha Commons residents on Lake Street. So many people dropped off food that they became a distribution center for the entire neighborhood.

We are a region that strives to bring prosperity to all. There is no doubt we must do better. The Minneapolis Regional Chamber acknowledges that unconscious and conscious biases and prejudices create structural impediments to systemic change. We pledge to build on our work supporting inclusive economic growth across the Twin Cities. We will lead with civility, justice, and an intentional approach to delivering systemic change.

To read this entire message click here.

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Our Mission

The Minneapolis Regional Chamber engages with members to advocate for a positive business environment, enhance economic prosperity and build partnerships that help to advance our region’s interests.

Our Vision

We seek to build a high-quality, globally competitive and thriving region where businesses flourish, and everyone has the opportunity to succeed through economic opportunity and jobs.