by Dennis Dalman
Sonia Nordmann, Sartell Citizen of the Year, is starting out 2019 with vim, vigor, hard work and determination.
She opened a new business in early November. At 234 Pinecone Road S., it’s called Sartell Vibe, a smoothie-and-juice bar that promotes good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Nordmann was named Citizen of the Year by the Sartell Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards banquet in November. She was praised for her many good works on behalf of the city, most notably last year’s concert fundraiser for the Sartell Police Department. Instead of celebrating her 40th birthday, she decided to organize the fundraiser on that date at the Sartell Community Center, which resulted in $10,500 for the police department’s training-equipment fund.
On her 30th birthday she also did a fundraiser for an autism organization because one of her friends has a son who was struggling because of autism.
Nordmann has been active in the Sartell Chamber and serves on its board of directors and as its president in 2018. Another ongoing community-service task is her membership since 2005 in the Le Sauk Lions Club, for which she is secretary.
Nordmann said she has had some tough times in her own life when people so gladly came to her aid and helped her out. She was so grateful for that support that she loves, in turn, to help others.
“With my new business, I won’t have time – at least for the near future – for some of those volunteer efforts,” she said. “This business takes a lot of time, but I’m determined to make an impact on Sartell. I want to make everybody in it healthier and happier.”
Raised in Cold Spring, Nordmann moved to Sartell as a single mom 22 years ago.
“When I moved here, I just knew in my heart I was choosing a forever place to raise my son, Andrew,” she said. “And sure enough, I picked the right city.”
Nordmann earned a degree in biomedical science in 1999 from St. Cloud State University. Her most recent job, before starting her own business, was as the director of business development for El-Jay Plumbing and Heating, based in Sauk Rapids.
Nordmann and her husband, Aaron, have two children – Andrew Hessler, 23, who lives with his wife, Melissa, in St. Cloud; and Aidan, 12.
Nordmann is people-oriented, through and through. Even though her new business takes a lot of time and work, she often finds herself energized by her customers.
“They are amazing,” she said. “They have so much energy when they come into Sartell Vibe. It’s so much fun to meet new people. I get to make all kinds of new friends. I get to know them, and they keep coming back, and I get to know them even more. I guess you could call me a collector of people.”
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.