New year, new president for BCBA
By Katy Zillmer
Brooklyn Center Business Association is starting 2013 with the mission to continue connecting business owners with the community and grow its membership.
Paula Helgerson is at the helm of the association as the president for the next two years.
She said her own membership has helped her stay in touch with the city and its development and growth. Helgerson works as an independent fashion consultant out of Brooklyn Center and travels throughout the United States.
But in her home city she said there is a lot to offer for business owners, civic leaders, city and school district staff and representatives of non-profit organizations who connect through the association.
“It’s given me a better outlook about the positives Brooklyn Center has to offer,” she said.
Helgerson and other leaders in the association are going to focus on spreading the word this year.
The “Grow with Brooklyn Center” initiative, started in 2012 under the leadership of former president Teresa Schutz-Esler, will continue in the spring.
BCBA members and city representatives visit local businesses with information about resources in the community as well as a Grow with Brooklyn Center plant.
“It has been amazing connecting with businesses and learning about businesses you don’t know about in Brooklyn Center,” Helgerson said. “You’re thanking people for being a business in Brooklyn Center,” she said.
Paul Engelman is a BCBA member and business owner who has seen the benefits of the association.
He started as the original chairperson of the association when it started eight or nine years ago, Engelman said.
The goal was to provide a local voice in Brooklyn Center for businesses after the Chamber of Commerce disbanded, he said.
“This group has tried to be a good place for local businesses to meet, share ideas and learn what’s going on in the community.”
“In the last five years there has been a strong emphasis on working with the city as well and (working) on the business climate and keep new businesses coming in,” Engelman said.
Engelman owns the UPS Store on Shingle Creek Parkway.
“In 20 years I’ve been there, it’s been a challenging community for a lot of people and the economy sure didn’t help, but I think there is a strong structure in the community for growth,” he said.
Engelman encourages business owners and managers to take the time to join the BCBA.
“It’s hard to leave your business some days, but often times the rewards will be real great,” he said.
State of the city and beyond
Several topics are selected for the BCBA’s monthly luncheons this year. In February, Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey will present the “State of the City.”
Details about the March meeting are in the works, but the April meeting will be at Centerbrook Golf Course for the members and guests to hear about the changes there.
The course is owned by the city and the goal this year is to increase revenues. In December, the city council approved the allocation of $200,000 to remove the deficit in the budget at Centerbrook.
Members of the BCBA may also invite a colleague to attend the Thursday, April 25, meeting and play a round of golf, Helgerson said.
The Brooklyn Center Police Chief, Kevin Benner, presents an annual report on crime and safety in the city during the June BCBA meeting.
New members will be recognized at the May meeting, Helgerson said.
There is also a volunteer component to being a member of the association. It hosts a golf tournament in September to raise money for a local cause, Helgerson said.
Currently, 52 members are part of the BCBA.
“I think it’s a way for Brooklyn Center businesses and area individuals as well to stay updated on the progress of Brooklyn Center,” Helgerson said. “It’s necessarily what you’re going to get out of it, it’s what your going to put into it.”
“We’re looking to wonderful things with the continued building at Shingle Creek Crossing and what continued opportunities and jobs we’ll have for residents,” she said.
Contact Katy Zillmer at email@example.com
If you go:
BCBA Monthly Luncheon – State of the City with Curt Boganey
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m, Thursday, Feb. 28
Crowne Plaza, 2300 Freeway Blvd., Brooklyn Center
Cost: $17 for members, $20 for guests
Info: 763-503-1133 , brooklyncenterbusiness.com.