I think every family has a restaurant that they end up going to more often than not when they decide to eat out. Hunan Garden on 7th St. is my family's restaurant.

We love the food and the staff is so friendly at Hunan. The restaurant holds a special place in my heart too because it is an important part of our family's Christmas. Because of my job, I've never really gone home for the holidays. Instead, I spent time on Christmas day volunteering at the Salvation Army. Afterward, I'd always head to Hunan for lunch. When I met my wife, she loved this and so the tradition continued.

I stopped by the Chinese restaurant on 7th St in Rochester last night to pick up dinner and learned why they haven't reopened their dining room. After paying, the lady thanked me for supporting their business, I said no problem and explained how much I love the restaurant, and how excited my family is to finally eat at the restaurant as soon as they reopen. Sadly, she told me that's not in the plans right now.

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She explained that they don't have enough staff to operate the dining room and are having a tough time finding people to hire. She must have seen the disappointment on my face because she told me she was sorry. Yes, I was bummed out, but I explained there was no reason to apologize.

I know a lot of companies are dealing with similar issues. I told her who I was and how I use my platform to support people in our area. I've lived in Rochester for nearly 15 years and the health of this community and our local businesses is really important to me. In March of 2020, I knew we were in for rough times and shared my concerns about the pandemic on Facebook.

And, as Townsquare Media's Director of Content, I made sure we used all of our assets to help local business owners. Our team did an amazing job providing support over the last year on-air and online. We created a small-business support page to encourage people to shop local, a virtual tip jar to help servers, bartenders, and other service workers, an adopt a healthcare worker program, and so much more.

Now, as we transition back to "normal" I'm working extra hard to help all businesses get back up and running. I believe all boats rise together and our city is better when our local businesses are thriving. If you're a business owner that needs help finding qualified candidates to hire or you need to increase traffic to your store, reach out to me. You can email - troy.dunken@townsquaremedia.com - or call 507-286-1010.

Wow! Check out how Rochester has changed throughout the years in these Google photos.

As we are soaring down Hwy 52, it is hard to imagine what life was like in our town before the Target store was built where it is today. Or the house that you live in now, at one point in town, that wasn't there. In fact, Rochester has grown so fast throughout the years, most of our houses weren't even around 50 years ago! Don't believe me? Look through these photos to get a glimpse of what Rochester was like years ago.