Nov. 20, 2006

An active business association in Lester Prairie

By Jenni Sebora

“Businesses working together to build a strong Lester Prairie community,” is what the Lester Prairie Business Association has adopted as its motto and is what the organization is all about.

Established in 1995, the Lester Prairie Business Association’s primary goal is to promote a strong business community in Lester Prairie.

The association works with community leaders to promote and recruit new business and provides a forum for business owners to voice concerns and ideas.

Current Vice President Troy Feltmann noted that some of the new businesses in town have joined the LPBA, which he says has added “new blood” to the organization as it continues to move forward in a proactive manner in the community.

To help build that strong community and help make Lester Prairie a good place to be, the association sponsors and hosts different activities throughout the year.

Probably the biggest event the association sponsors is the Lester Prairie community holiday celebration, which will be held the first Sunday in December.

This event is geared for families and people of all ages. It usually involves a visit and goodie bags from the jolly man himself, Santa Claus, craft activities for children, a bake sale, entertainment from a variety of groups and community members, as well as food, fun and camaraderie.

This celebration is a popular event and so well attended that it is outgrowing its location, which has been the city hall. This year the event will be hosted at the school in Lester Prairie.

As part of the annual Lester Prairie Days’ celebration, this past summer the LPBA sponsored a carnival for children, including games.

The association also works at supporting community organizations and groups through donations.

Lester Prairie’s ambassador program, Lester Prairie Schools’ Education Foundation and the youth baseball and softball program are some of the community groups that it has donated money to.

A donation of a community reader board for Central Park is also in the works.

In order to support community organizations monetarily, the association raises money primarily through membership dues. This past summer as part of the city’s annual garage sale days, the LPBA also sponsored a hamburger stand where hungry garage salers could come and buy a bite to eat.

The association is also looking at a spaghetti dinner as a possible fundraiser in the future.

The association meets the third Tuesday of each month at noon, usually at the city hall, but will occasionally meet at various local businesses as well.

October is Manufacturers’ Month, so the association has met at such local companies as Lester’s and Worldwide Dispensers during this month.

In August, the association met at Riteway Mechanical Installation Inc. to tour it, and also tours new businesses that come to town, such as Lifestyle Furnishings, to learn about the companies and what they do.

The main focus at most meeting is business or community-related items, but meetings can also consist of other topics as well.

At a meeting, once a year, Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson gives association members an annual police report.

At one meeting, the association also learned from a fellow LPBA member about organ transplants. The topics can vary.

The association also sponsors a business welcome packet for new residents, which contains information and offers from Lester Prairie businesses. These packets can be picked up at the city hall.

The association welcomes new members. For more information or for the location of the next meeting, contact one of the association board members, or call Michael Merriman at (320) 395-8388 or Troy Feltmann at (320) 485-2535.

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