By Chad Koenen


A group of New York Mills residents are not letting the small town moniker from thinking big. The NYM 2025 committee has been thinking big ever since meeting for the first time as the group tries to help the community grow and prosper. 

Its latest project includes purchasing four new signs to greet motorists on Highway 10 and 67 as they pass through town. The new signs feature the NYM Small town, big life! Logo and is one more way to portray a welcoming community to those who drive past through town.

Amy Wallgren displays one of the new signs that were installed near the city limit signs in New York Mills.

Latham Hetland, who is a member of the NYM 2025 group, said the goal of the new signs is to create cohesiveness within the community and make people feel welcome in town.

“We are trying to create a cohesive, community brand. We put all of the work to put together a logo and now it’s about getting the logo out,” he said. 

The new signs will be installed on the four main entrances into town along Highway 10 and 67 in the near future. Hetland said the idea came from a brainstorming session. The hope is the new signs will help enhance the otherwise mundane green city limit signs that are more commonly seen by motorists when they come into a town. 

“After thinking about it, it makes so much sense. That really changes it and adds another level it (the green signs),” he said.  

In addition to the new signs, the NYM 2025 project is planning to distribute window stickers to area businesses with the NYM Small town big life! logo and even other stickers that can be displayed on things like lab tops and bags. 

“Hopefully they get the brand recognition and they get the continuity when they go into a business in town,” said Hetland.

The concept of the new slogan came out of a NYM 2025 marketing subcommittee. A survey was sent out to community members, who overwhelmingly selected the Small town, big life” slogan.

“The slogan zeroes in on the fact that people have a lot of great opportunities in our small town,” said NYM 2025 member Amy Wallgren. “For example, you can be a 3-sport high school athlete, or attend a wide variety of artistic shows at The Cultural Center, or be employed by one of the top 10 places to work in Minnesota, or hunt and fish as much as you can handle, or be a nation-wide singer/songwriter, or attend an elementary School of Excellence, or own your own business, or attend the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House charity motorcycle ride, or buy the best donuts around, or serve on local government & civic boards, or play in a community band, or book your next trip anywhere in the world.”

“We are trying to create a cohesive, community brand. We put all of the work to put together a logo and now it’s about getting the logo out.”

Latham Hetland

With so much to offer in the community, the NYM 2025 group is also seeking people to give testimonials for a new marketing campaign highlighting how they live a big life in a small town. The testimonials may be included in everything from videos to social media posts and more. 

The hope is to show the benefits of living in a small town, while also telling people that just because a town is small, it doesn’t mean there aren’t offerings and activities to enjoy all year long.

“I want people to tell us how they live big in New York Mills. I want them to share what opportunities they take advantage of here, as far as work, play, family, religion, service, etc.  To share their love for New York Mills, people should go to the ‘Small town, big life Testimonial’ survey on the NYM Civic & Commerce Association’s Facebook page,” said Wallgren.

In order to talk about the future marketing options available, as well as the upcoming year in NY Mills, the NY Mills Civic and Commerce organization is hosting its annual Community Kick-Off on Thursday, Feb. 4. The event will be held in person at the NY Mills City Hall, as well as on Facebook Live. The social hour will begin at 5 p.m. and the regular meeting will get under-way at 5:30 p.m. 

The Community Kick-Off is open to all community members and those who attend do not need to be a member of the NY Mills C&C.