What sets Alexandria apart? Magazine article take a look
The city is still recovering from a fire on February 25 that destroyed a half-block section of downtown and is now, like cities around the world, caught in a pandemic that has shut down businesses and upset lives.
But maybe it’s time for some uplifting news – which can be found in a 12-page magazine in Minnesota Monthly magazine. It’s filled with stories and photos that show why Alexandria won the title of Best City in Minnesota.
The May / June issue of the magazine has just hit newsstands. The publication has a total audience of 212,000 and attracts over 250,000 pageviews to its website per month. It’s a popular magazine, at $ 4.99 a copy, for those looking for fun and excitement in Minnesota.
Journalist Erik Tormoen traveled to Alexandria last February to experience firsthand what sets the city apart from other communities. Its story is called “Finding Alex – Beauty, Progress and Resilience Make Alexandria Minnesota Monthly the Best Town in MN”.
Tormoen noted, “The community, often referred to as Alex (pronounced ‘Alec’), combines qualities and values that make residents stay year round and keep visitors coming back.
Tormoen addresses many community highlights – the Central Lakes Trail, the Chain of Lakes, Gathered Oaks, Lake Carlos State Park, Big Ole, Alexandria Technical and Community College, Douglas Machine, the two breweries, distilleries, local restaurants and stores and more.
The story also looks at the fire recovery effort and how the community “immediately mobilized”, from Roers Bakery supplying firefighters and West Central Minnesota Communities Action seeking housing for displaced families to the Alexandria Area Community Foundation creating a fund for those affected.
Tormoen ends the article by writing how he would like to make a return visit to Alexandria, but he postpones it because the coronavirus has made visiting cities outside of Minnesota a handicap.
“We have to wait,” he wrote, “for fear of endangering their populations. As the world braces for an economic downturn, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce has distributed resources to businesses and has started flagging updates with the #BePositiveDoPositive.
News of the designation of Alexandria broke last fall. It is the third city to achieve the designation of the city that most embodies the spirit of Minnesota, after Bemidji and White Bear Lake.
Cities participate in the annual contest themselves, and people across the state vote up to 10 times a day, using their email addresses.
In the case of Alexandria, the Alexandria Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce submitted the listing with the full cooperation of Explore Alexandria Tourism and the Alexandria Region Economic Development Commission.
In the nomination, the chamber answered a variety of questions posed by the magazine’s editorial team, such as what sets Alexandria apart and why people come here to live or vacation.
The splash of positive publicity in the magazine was valued at $ 50,000 but amounts to more than that, according to Jim Feist, executive director of Explore Alexandria Tourism.
“I think the real value of the Alexandria exhibition goes beyond this monetary value, as the writer was able to meet real people and tell real stories about who we are as a community and exemplify our wonderful Minnesota hospitality, ”Feist said.
Feist added that the article does a great job of illustrating why Alexandria deserves the distinction as the best city in Minnesota by highlighting many elements of the community, from its diverse economy and businesses to its wonderful people and its beloved natural beauty.
“Communicating these detailed details about our community is very difficult to do otherwise, for example with a display ad or a 30-second video,” Feist said. “So it’s truly an honor to have Alexandria in the spotlight to share these stories.”
In the chamber newsletter, Executive Director Tara Bitzan spoke about when to publish the article.
While one can easily complain that this moment is ‘stinking’ and that Alexandria has lost the limelight to the coronavirus, we in the chamber remain true to our 2020 theme of ‘Be positive, be positive.’ We are very proud of this community and we are excited about all the great things happening here. ”