Events showcase Waconia businesses

By Kellie Sites, Chamber Notes

“What a great town this is!”

I hear that over and over again as I meet shoppers from other towns who come here to see what’s going on.

“Yes it is!” is always my reply. Since I’m not the shy type, I make it my business to talk to people I don’t recognize and find out where they’re from. Sometimes they’re from Waconia, deciding to check out some shops they’ve never been in before.

On Saturday, during our Escape to the Islands event, I met some women from Buffalo, Howard Lake, Plymouth, Minneapolis, Rogers and Glencoe. They were all having such a great time that I know they’ll be back!

This is why we do what we do.

Bring people here, they fall in love with the town, and they come back … with more friends! Thanks to everyone who bring friends and family to Waconia — your efforts matter as we work to keep our downtown and highway shopping districts vibrant.

Speaking of vibrancy … I have the good fortune to be a participant in the Downtown Task Force. We held our first meeting last week, a good brainstorming session, to help formulate how we want our downtown to look and function. There will be public meeting in the near future, so if you have ideas, please make sure and attend! If you cannot attend, please send your comments to me or to Susan Arntz, and we’ll make sure to include them in the process.

So what’s up next? The Waconia Chamber of Commerce Business, Home and Family EXPO. We host this event every other year, so don’t miss it! This year it will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waconia High School.

Come meet Scott Olson, inventor of Roller Blades! He lives right here in Waconia and will be demonstrating another invention, the RowBike. You will be able to sign up for a ride (space will be limited) and also sign up to test out the SkyRide as seen on the TV show SharkTank. He will have a booth there all day, and will be sharing his story and fitness tips at 11 a.m. in the gym.

Waconia author and nature expert, Jim Gilbert, will also be at the EXPO. He’ll be speaking at 10 a.m. and will share some tips from his newest book, Minnesota’s Outdoor Wonders … a great opportunity to ask him questions that you might have.

Karen Buckingham will teach us how to make soap from goat’s milk at noon, then at 1 p.m. you can catch the Rising Star Dance Academy show! At 2 p.m. there will be a cool Dojo demonstration and at 3 p.m., Justin Ratzloff, owner of SPOKES Bike and Ice Cream Shop will teach us how to change a flat bike tire.

You know what else? There will be prizes! Win a new bicycle, or a ManCave Starter kit which includes an amazing recliner from Yetzer’s Home Furnishings and Floor Coverings.

There will more prizes and fun than I have room to talk about here … and Sparky the Fire Dog will be there too! All for free. See you at the EXPO!

For more information about the Waconia Chamber of Commerce, visit