Announcing Business of the Year Nominees!
Business of the Year

The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the 2020 Business of the Year nominees. Chamber members were asked to nominate businesses for this recognition based on three criteria: Chamber involvement, community involvement and economic impact.

The following were nominated for Large Business of the Year:


“Nuvera Communications bases their operations on 4 key categories: customers, shareholders, community and employees. Nuvera is in the process of making major capital investments. Yearly, an employee-run Community Involvement and Charitable Contributions Committee meets and internally raises over $20,000 to give back to area not-for-profit organizations. They have countless members of the Nuvera team involved directly at the Chamber of Commerce, including Willkommen and Network New Ulm.”

“Nuvera is a local company, founded here in New Ulm 115 years ago. They are experiencing tremendous growth and are positioned well for opportunities to improve and expand their service offerings.”

Thank you Nuvera for being committed to the community, job creation and the Chamber!


“3M New Ulm is active at raising standards in their plant but also the community at large. The 3M team has raised over $11,000 this year for donations to help support non-profits and charitable donations. The employees are active in many organizations and projects throughout the community. The wide variety of activities include the NU Clay Shooting Team, Robohounds Robotics Club, Junior Achievement classes, NU Emergency Food Shelf, Take A Kid Fishing program and donating to the United Way. There are also very dedicated employees to help with Boy Scouts of American and help lead Girl Scout troops as well.”

“3M has been instrumental in helping the New Ulm Emergency Food Shelf with securing a $10,000 3M Corporate Grant. This grant was used for capital improvement plans on site. This infrastructure improvement is helping with a new Client-Choice process.”

“Currently, 3M employs over 735 people in New Ulm. The plant manager, Andrew Supina, has launched major initiatives, with the help of his leadership team, to attract even more business to the site in 2020. New Ulm 3M is very unique in that the plant manufactures a large diversity of products. Andrew is also an active member on the Chamber’s Business Education Network (B.E.N.) committee.”

Thank you 3M for raising the bar and contributing so much more than time and money to the community.

The following were nominated for Small Business of the Year:

United Prairie Bank

“United Prairie Bank is celebrating 100 years in business as a company. Their contribution to the business community is focused on their overall success as a business. The team is active in growth partnerships with startups and ongoing operations as well. UPB participates in a Denim for Dollars program. Each week team members wanting to participate donate $5.00.  Over the past four years, they have donated $10,000 to local communities! Katie Nosbush is active as a Willkommen committee member. A number of team members are active in boards and volunteering for numerous community groups. United Prairie Bank takes a lot of pride in being a strong supporter of the success of the New Ulm community.”

Thank you United Prairie Bank for making growth for businesses easier and contributing to our community.

BoCo Real Estate

“BoCo Real Estate, Inc. has gone above and beyond to help breathe new life into aging commercial buildings while maintaining their historical significance throughout New Ulm. Updated and remodeled buildings has provided a new perspective for other business owners intent on fixing their own facades. As a property developer, BoCo has brought new businesses to town by creating spaces where businesses of today can be successful. Gone are the days of the big retail stores. Today’s consumer is trending towards a more intimate and personalized shopping experience rather than a large department store experience. Eric is helping to re-imagine a vibrant and economically viable commercial district by downsizing large buildings into multipurpose spaces that support business, services and housing. BoCo has done a tremendous job of progressing our local economy. The company cares about the success of New Ulm and takes great pride in the community. Eric Bode, owner and operator, also serves on the Chamber Board of Directors and has a new take on what it means to be a leader.”

Thank you Eric and your team for the tireless help to build a new future for New Ulm.

Mike's Collision & Repair

“Providing critical services to automotive and commercial vehicle and building needs, Mike’s Collision & Repair Center is a staple in New Ulm’s service industry. Tim Knaak, owner and operator, currently volunteers his time to the Business Education Network (B.E.N) committee at the Chamber of Commerce and has been an important member to launching the B.E.N. website. Knaak is also an active member of ISD#88 Foundation, currently serving as President. His generous donations to the Foundation and his time at the Chamber are only the start of what Tim does for the community. Tim also volunteers for Junior Achievement and loves being in the classroom.”

Thank you Mike’s Collision & Repair Center for making great contributions to the New Ulm community!

A to Zinnia

“Heather Hacker-Hammer, owner and proprietor of A to Zinnia, is active in the New Ulm Chamber serving as a Chamber Board Member while actively running a business. Heather doesn’t simply remind folks to shop her business, but she helps to remind them to shop local and shop New Ulm! Outside of the Chamber, Heather donates her time by being involved in the community. Heather is active in Milford 4-H Club, the Brown County 4-H Program, Brown County Fair floral arrangements, and also volunteers with the Brown County Pork Producer’s Polka Town Hog Show! She also found time to donate to fund raising efforts such as Afternoon Tea for Ta-Tas and MVLHS Gala along with many others.”

“Heather plays critical rolls in helping new business owners feel welcome when coming to town. Her ability to keep a level head and her business smarts provides a positive mentor to the business owners and the community. A to Zinnia also opened a second location in Sleepy Eye in 2016 providing new opportunities to that community.”

Thank you A to Zinnia on making a positive difference in New Ulm and being such a great role model for the community.

Congratulations to all of the businesses for their recognition from the New Ulm business community.  Voting for the nominees will take place at the Annual Chamber Meeting, January 23, 2020. The event will be located at the New Ulm Conference Center/Best Western Plus. The evening includes a social hour, comments from the Chair of the Board of Directors Jenni Neubauer, a message from President/CEO Michael Looft, and the announcement of the Business of the Year award winners from Brian Shropshire, incoming Chair. Chamber businesses are allowed one vote per business. Businesses must be present to vote; absentee ballots will not be accepted.

Since 1974, the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce has recognized a business in the New Ulm Area for their Chamber involvement, community involvement and economic impact in the area.  A variety of businesses have been recognized over the years including both large employers, small businesses and retail sectors. Starting in 2019, the Chamber Board chose to celebrate two deserving businesses, one large and one small, for their contributions and involvement.

The 2020 Annual Chamber Meeting will be held at the New Ulm Conference Center/Best Western Plus on Thursday, January 23, 2020.  Social hour begins at 5:30pm, with the banquet beginning at 6:30pm and a program to follow. Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber office for $30/person.  Contact the Chamber with any questions or comments:, 507-233-4300.