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Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce

The Catalyst for a Vibrant Business Community

Eden Prairie’s very own Fat Pants Brewing Co. had a predicament. The federal government required them to obtain a certain license before they could begin brewing and serving beer – legally, at least – and the federal government had shut down at precisely the time they needed it.

The Andersons, who own Fat Pants, had already applied for their license, but their application was mired in a queue. They confided in Pat MulQueeny, who in turn called Representative for Minnesota's Third Congressional District Dean Phillips. The Andersons’ license application received official approval the very next day, thus saving them what would probably have been over three months of waiting (made all the more agonizing without beer).

“A rising tide lifts all ships," said Pat, president of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. “Our chamber may help local businesses connect with public officials, navigate red tape, reach new clients so they can become more profitable, or hire the people they need to grow larger. But so long as we’re assisting local businesses – and however great or small our assistance might be – we are making the city of Eden Prairie an even better place to work and live in.

“I began working for non-profit business associations immediately after graduating college, but I always wanted to join the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. I loved visiting this city even as a child growing up in Minnetonka. As I grew older I learned to appreciate just what makes Eden Prairie so special. Here is a flourishing business community, with everything from sole proprietorships to Fortune 500 companies like Emerson Electric, MTS Systems and C. H. Robinson. SouthWest Transit, Flying Cloud Airport and a wealth of highways turned what could have been a sleepy Twin Cities suburb into a bustling economic engine. The Eden Prairie Public School District is second to none other in the country, and that’s thanks in no small part to an outstanding local government. And of course there are the friendly, enterprising and well-educated people. 

“This is all to say that I couldn’t have been more delighted to become president of the chamber 20 years ago.

“We work directly with regional organizations, community leaders and local businesses. They all have different needs, but at the end of the day they share our goal: the success of Eden Prairie. We’ve acclimated the ways we advance that goal over the decades, and currently have several great programs and initiatives in place.

“We host hour-long Business@Breakfast events twice a month. Members and nonmembers alike take turns introducing who they are and what they have to offer to the group during 60-second elevator pitches. We’re not affiliated with Business Networking International, which is why we welcome people who would normally compete with one another outside of breakfast. That fosters a more cohesive business community in which people freely share leads and forge lasting partnerships.

“We’re helping local businesses show Eden Prairie High School students the opportunities available to them right here at home. Our annual Career & College Expo originally showcased jobs in the trades and manufacturing sector, but has since grown to illuminate every type of industry imaginable. We have banks, retailers and even restaurants come to show students the careers they can look forward to in Eden Prairie after they graduate high school or college. The expo has proven invaluable to our members who are facing difficulties resulting from the ongoing staffing shortage. The chamber also hosts the Spring Job Fair, where over 1,000 students meet directly with representatives of dozens of local businesses so they can line up internships, arrange job shadows, and otherwise connect with promising future employers.

“This is the first year of our Human Resources Roundtable Discussion series. It gives human resources managers and other employers a chance to meet, discuss the current challenges they are facing and develop solutions together – an especially timely initiative given the trying state of the job market.

“Those are only a few examples of how the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce is assisting local businesses every day. Looking ahead, I expect we will invest even more of our focus into small businesses and entrepreneurs, as they are and will always remain the majority of our community’s employers. We’ll also continue to support midsize and large companies by helping them access the local workforce and express their pressing needs to elected officials. But no matter the scale of our members’ businesses, we’ll always make certain their voices are heard as we strive together toward a stronger Eden Prairie.”

  • Jason Heintz, Representative Dean Phillips, & Pat MulQueeny