Our Adams Publishing Group newspapers of Southern Minnesota, which includes the Faribault Daily News, Owatonna People’s Press, Northfield News, The Kenyon Leader, Lonsdale Area News-Review, Waseca County News, Le Sueur County News, St. Peter Herald, Northfield Weekender, Faribault Area Shopper, Owatonna/Waseca Area Shopper and Minnesota River Valley Shopper are in a unique position to help local businesses recover quickly from this COVID-19 crisis.

Our readership is at an all-time high, our multi-media advertising representatives are experts in local marketing solutions including print and digital, and we are committing $500,000 in matching advertising grants to help local businesses recover and thrive in 2020.

If you own or manage a southern Minnesota business, you know exactly how difficult it’s been since early March. And, we know that you want to get back to business as usual. Since no one knows what the new normal will look like; the path to get there will be very different for each of us.

The usual steps to attract customers might not work in this new normal. New competitors have likely emerged and will actively pursue your best clients with enticing offers that are more aggressive than ever before. Customers will be seeking deals, and if you’re not ready to compete, they might not come back to you.

Are you prepared to compete against those aggressive efforts by your top competitor? Or will you be the one capitalizing on this unique opportunity to grow your market share?

Your best customers will look very closely at the efforts your business is taking to ensure their safety. Some of them may not be comfortable returning until they have complete confidence that they will be safe when doing business with you. Have you thought about how you’ll communicate the steps you’re taking to keep them safe? Just turning on your Open sign likely won’t be enough.

Our southern Minnesota newspapers have worked in partnership with hundreds of local businesses to attract and retain customers, and we continue exploring solutions that will help our local businesses in their time of need.

Today I am excited to share details of our APG-Southern Minnesota Community Advertising Grant Program, which will provide up to $500,000 in matching advertising funds. These funds can be used by local businesses across our entire family of community publications.

These matching fund grants are open to all locally owned small businesses located in southern Minnesota. Selected businesses can invest these funds toward the development of marketing solutions or advertising messages in our publications and/or websites during July, August, September and October.

It’s easy to apply. Simply visit www.southernminn.com/grants.

Steve Fisher is publisher of the Owatonna People’s Press and president of APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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