CEDA Staff Helping to Create Smiles in Eyota, MN

Article by: Cathy Enerson

In June of 2016, the Post Bulletin ran a story about Eyota’s lack of a dental practice and its EDA’s plan to attract one. Cathy Enerson of CEDA, who serves as the economic development staff for Eyota, notes “People are reading the newspaper. Several dentists and dental students responded to the article by inquiring through the city website about the opportunity”. Dr. Phillip Perry, owner of Perry Dental in Wabasha, acted fast and optioned to purchase a building suited for opening a dental practice. Dr. Perry credits the Post Bulletin article with drawing the need to his attention.

The City of Eyota has recently approved a final incentive package for Dr. Perry to open a practice in Eyota in early 2017. The practice will include both full service dentistry and orthodontic services. Eyota’s previous dentist retired several years ago.  Eyota’s Mayor, Tyrel Clark, said “The city has been without a dentist for approximately 10 years. The nearest dental practice to the city is about 10 miles away in either Elgin or St. Charles.”

Enerson and the Eyota Economic Development Authority worked closely with Dr. Perry and recommended to the Eyota City Council to approve $25,000 in loans from two separate EDA funds along with a $15,000 forgivable loan from Eyota’s Rochester Sales Tax funds.

The EDA funds will help the new business purchase the building where the practice will be located and dental office equipment. “It really helps the first few months after opening,” Perry said. “We’re starting from square one, which isn’t done very much anymore because of the high costs of starting a new business.”  The practice will be open two days a week to start until the Perry’s build up their clientele.

The EDA developed a strategic plan for using the Rochester Sales Tax funds and the development of a commercial building to attract health care professional is goal number one. Data indicating the types of community health care needs was collected through a community health care needs assessment. The survey, conducted by the EDA, saw 52% of area residents respond.  Dr. Perry is willing to lease an area within the building for an additional health service business such as a chiropractor, massage therapist, or clinic.