Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Advantage

Date: June 2014

Landon Smith, a partner in the Tailwind Group development
company, recently expanded the business into Rochester. This
trend in business growth in our community promises to explode
thanks to the Destination Medical Center and Journey to Growth
initiatives. Future businesses looking to do the same would do
well to heed Smith’s advice: If you want to successfully break
into a new community, join the Chamber of Commerce.
The Tailwind Group originates from Mankato, where they
specialize in renovating and converting properties to rental units
for Mankato State University student housing, as well as other
renovations and developments around Mankato. A licensed
real estate broker, they manage 1,500 residential bedrooms and
150,000 square feet of commercial office space.
When they learned of the opportunity to purchase the property
known as Evanston Heights located adjacent to the RCTC
campus, they were excited to move into a new community, but
also cautiously apprehensive. “It’s our first expansion into this
market,” says Smith. “We’ve never done a two-year school
before, never worked on a student housing project outside of
Mankato.” Rochester was an unknown. Before committing to
the sale, Smith reached out to the Rochester Area Chamber of
Commerce to learn more about the community and to begin
making contacts. “They got the ball rolling for us,” says Smith.
“We became members even before we purchased the property.”
The investment paid off immediately.
“The Chamber helped me connect with (former RCTC President)
Don Supalla to get a feel for the place. They opened the doors at
RCTC for us to meet the interim President, Gail O’Kane. They
made us feel comfortable going through with the purchase.”
Construction began mid-January and will conclude mid-July.
When finished they will have completely remodeled the entire
complex: 60 4-bedroom, 2 bath apartments spread across five
buildings. Re-Branded “The Quarters”, leasing is going well.
“What we’ve gotten in return for our membership fee is probably
six-fold the value,” says Smith. “As a Chamber member,
relationships that would have taken me a month to figure out
and establish on my own, were made in two days. Joining the
Chamber has been key, for a reasonable fee they can tell you
who to contact, and help you build the relationships you need to
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