Details and Answers of Proposed Association Merger
Active Members of MRA to Vote on Proposed Merger 1/6-1/19/2020
After thoughtful consideration, the Minnesota Restaurant Association (MRA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve a merger between the Minnesota Lodging (MLA) Association and Minnesota Resort and Campground Association (MRCA) becoming Hospitality Minnesota "association" April 1, 2020.
As required by the MRA Bylaws, a formal vote of the Active Members of the Association is required to approve the Board of Directors' action. An Active Member is defined as an operator/owner of a foodservice operation whose membership dues are paid and current. Each Active Member business appoints one representative to vote in association matters.
The MRA Board of Directors strongly endorses this action to combine forces with the MLA and MRCA--to become one of the largest trade associations in Minnesota, with nearly 3,000 member operations. The expanded membership base will allow the Association to create a stronger cross-sector industry voice and greater financial stability that will lead to more effective advocacy efforts; new and improved products and services; and more dependable and focused business intelligence.
Discussions about a potential merger began a year ago as the leaders of all three boards explored the possibilities for working better together. The case to merge became clear pretty quickly--we’ll be stronger together than we have been as separate associations. At their fall board meetings, all three boards strongly supported the plan and voted to merge.
The vote of membership will take place between January 6, 2020, and January 19, 2020 using an online survey. A link to the vote will be sent to Active Members on January 6.
*Note only Active Members of the MRA on file at Hospitality Minnesota are qualified to vote. The membership must be in good standing (current on dues) for a vote to be counted. Per the bylaws of all three Associations, Allied members are nonvoting on matters related to "the Corporation," so only Active Members will be entitled to vote during this part of the merger approval process.
Please review the vote-related resources provided below. These resources include a merger document (pdf), leadership video and frequently asked questions.
Below are answers to questions you may have:
Why are these three associations merging now and how is it in the best interests of membership?
The organization needs to better reflect the industry today, and the time has come to update our programs and services to meet our members' needs. Over 23 states have merged their hospitality associations to do just that. Now is our time as many of our members in the restaurant, lodging, resort and campground sectors face many of the same business challenges and create many of the same opportunities. It makes sense to leverage resources to address those while also attending to issues that are unique to each sector. Coming together, as many other hospitality associations around the country are doing, strengthens the reach, influence and impact of the industry as a whole.
What is the benefit of a merged Association?
Our organization has shared the same staff members with the other two associations since 1956. The way that “silent partnership” is currently structured makes it challenging to get some things done, especially those that would make the industry stronger. It’s time for a change, and the one approved by the MRA Board of Directors would merge us into one entity. We’d join the Minnesota Lodging Association and Minnesota Resort and Campground Association to become the Hospitality Minnesota "association".
Why does it matter to me and my business?
For you, it means a stronger association partner and new industry relationships to move your business forward. Our service and commitment to you will not change, but the connections and benefits will be stronger and more valuable. We’ll focus on the long-term vision for the industry, while you focus on growing a successful business within it.
I’m worried the issues that matter most to me will get lost or diluted. How can I be sure my issues will be a priority?
It’s an understandable concern that many of your fellow members serving on the board shared. Considerable time was spent on this topic during the deliberations, resulting in a strong commitment on the part of all to ensure that there is fair and balanced attention given to the issues of each of the core sectors. That will happen best if members stay involved. There will be many opportunities to be engaged in how we shape positions, programs and products.
What will change?
Actually, very little, except that we’ll become more efficient and effective. What many people don’t realize is that the three associations have been “silent partners” for more than 50 years. Administratively, what has happened for one association has needed to happen for all of them. Adding the management company (HM) and the education foundation (HMEF) on top of that, there is a lot of redundancy. By moving to one association board and one foundation board, we’ll streamline the administrative work we spend time on, and turn our focus to creating more value. The employees of the Hospitality Minnesota management company, currently serving all three associations, will become the staff of the combined entity.
Will my dues go up? Go down?
We don’t anticipate making any changes to the dues structure for Active Members of any of the associations for the coming year. We will review our dues structure and event fees in 2020 to ensure they reflect the value of the services and benefits received by our members.
Why should I continue to be a member?
It is an exciting time to be involved with Hospitality Minnesota. We believe that you’ll continue to enjoy the relationships that have supported you in your own association and benefit from building new ones in the other sectors. As we come together by managing our collective resources more efficiently and effectively, we’ll add new programs and services Our vision includes a collaborative approach where we work together to find solutions that move your business forward.
What is required to make the merger possible?
The three Association boards have approved the merger. The remaining step is for a quorum of voting members to vote with respect to the merger, and for a majority of those voting to approve the recommendation with a ‘yes’ vote.
Who are the current board members who participated in this planning process?
Minnesota Restaurant Association Board Officers:
President: Dave Sincebaugh - Kaskaid Hospitality
President-Elect: Cathy Bovard - D'Amico & Partners - Catering
Vice President: Tony Boen - Grandma's Restaurant Company
Treasurer: Maria Veach - Culver's
Immediate Past President: John Schiltz - Lake Elmo Inn
Minnesota Lodging Association Board Officers:
President: Branden Robinson - South Pier Inn, Duluth
Vice-President/Treasurer (interim): Doug Karle, LHR Hospitality, St. Paul
Immediate Past President: Marc Faubert
Minnesota Resort and Campground Association Board Officers:
President: Phil Trusty - Crow Wing Lake Campground, Brainerd
President-Elect: Paul Waldowski - Bug-Bee Hive Resort, Paynesville
Vice President: Steven Nelson - Spirit of the Wilderness, Ely
Treasurer: Joe DeRose - Riverside Resort, Richmond
Immediate Past President: Eric Hanson - Pehrson Lodge Resort, Cook
Minnesota Restaurant Association Board Directors:
Chris Anderson - Outback Steakhouse
Brad Broom - Brown & Brown
John Byrne - US Foods
Brent Frederick - Jester Concepts
Tom Frederick, Jr. - Pub 500
Dave Garvey - Grand Casino Hinckley
Phil Gleason - Parasole Restaurant Group
Dan Jarvis - Afton House Inn
Denese Jokela - Necce's Ristorante
Dennis Larson - Minnesota State Fair
Bruce Nelson - Nova Restaurant Group
Thomas Nesheim - Clive's Roadhouse
Rick Oknick - Republic
Mike "Pinto" Pantaleo - Reinhart Foodservice
Chris Person - Mankato Independent Originals
Keith Reardon - Morrissey Hospitality Group
Mitch Ryan - Upper Lakes Foods
Eric Saari - Coca-Cola
Joanne Schmidt - Joan's in the Park
Brad Stelzer - Ecolab
Rachel Tabalba - Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano
Jacob Toledo - Jester Concepts
Minnesota Lodging Association Board Directors:
Bill Aho, Eveleth Super 8, Eveleth
Faheem Amini, Holiday Inn Express Coon Rapids
Howard Anderson, ZMC Hotels-Lakes Region, Duluth
Kim Brown, KLB Insurance Services, Woodbury
Bonnie Carlson, Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bloomington
Bill Foussard, White Bear Country Inn, White Bear Lake
Laura Garcia, Minneapolis Marriott Southwest, Minnetonka
Debi Grant Smith, Days Hotel on University, Minneapolis
Chris Holland Mehlhaff, Best Western Premier The Lodge on Lake Detroit, Detroit Lakes
Burl Ives, Timberlake Lodge, Grand Rapids
David Janssen, DesignWise, Inc., White Bear Lake
Sue Jung, Hampton Inn & Suites Alexandria, Alexandria
Marianna Khauv, Best Western Plus Chelsea Hotel, Monticello
Stephanie Laitala Rupp, Hotel 340, St. Paul
Abbey Pieper, Madden's on Gull Lake, Brainerd
Tami Roquet, Ledgestone Hospitality
Kelly Sam, Mille Lacs Corporate U Ventures
Brian Schmechel, Morrissey Hospitality, St. Paul
Andy Schweizer, Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, St. Paul
Rich Siegert, DoubleTree Hotel, Bemidji
Jason Subbert, TPI Hospitality, Fairmont
Andy Thilges, Home2 Suites by Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area, Rochester
Scott Uttley, Superior Hotel Group, Duluth
Minnesota Resort and Campground Association Board Directors:
Dan Berg - Up North Dock & Lift, Detroit Lakes
Paul Bugbee - Bug-Bee Hive Resort, Paynesville
Bryan Harris - Eagle Nest Lodge, Deer River
Bryan Heise - South Isle Family Campground, Isle
Larry Johnson - Cedar Valley Resort, Lanesboro
Tom Kavanaugh - Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort, East Gull Lake
David Langhoff - Shady Rest Resort & Campground, Villard
Paul Ludlow - Ludlow's Island Resort, Cook
Paul Nelson - Vagabond Village Campground, Park Rapids
Eldon Peterson - St. Cloud/Clearwater RV Park, Clearwater
Chris Ruttger, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood
Ron Rykken - Timber Bay Lodge & Houseboats, Babbitt
Beth Schupp - Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes
Shorty Spohn - Two Rivers Campground & Tubing, Royalton
Deb Theisen - Pine Park Resort, Park RapidsBug-Bee Hive Resort, Paynesville