Archives for April 2019

CEDA Helps Two New Main Street Businesses in Harmony, MN

Article by: Chris Giesen

Two businesses are new on Harmony’s Main Street – Homespun Harmony and The Falcon’s Nest.  Both businesses were helped by CEDA Vice President, Chris Giesen, who has assisted the City of Harmony since 2009.  Homespun Harmony, a yarn arts supply store looks forward to being a gathering place for knitting, high-end yarn arts supplies, and community is the dream of Marsha LaFreniere.  Working with CEDA and the Harmony EDA, Giesen was able to help with business planning and securing a $7,700 EDA loan to assist with a building purchase.  The Falcon’s Nest, a fresh take on a longtime Harmony favorite restaurant is the culmination of the dream of the Osnager family – Emily, Shannon, and sons will be cooking causal eats and treats to locals and visitors starting in May 2019.  Giesen also assisted the owners by helping secure a $25,000 EDA loan to help renovate an existing restaurant before it reopens.

Giesen stated, “It’s great to be able to help business owners who are passionate about their community and being able to provide a service to others.  It’s especially fun to see the amount of interest there is to invest in Harmony.”

CEDA Assists Farmers in Trying New Things On And Off Their Farms

Article by: Allison Wagner and Courtney Bergey Swanson

In 2019, CEDA team members Courtney Bergey Swanson with Spring Grove EDA and Allison Wagner with Houston County EDA are collaborating with the University of Minnesota Extension and Workforce Development Inc. in an effort to help local farmers who are looking to try something new either on or off their farms. Agriculture is a major economic driver in rural communities, and many farmers have expressed challenging business conditions in recent years.

Along with their partners, Swanson and Wagner organized a farmer round table event that was held at Rockfilter Distillery in Spring Grove, MN on March 26. The event was well attended by both farmers and experts in the agricultural field. The goal of the event was to let farmers know what resources are available to them, and also to get feedback on things they could use help with on or off their farms. The event featured a brainstorming activity, a survey to gather feedback, and a tour of the distillery.

More information on this initiative can be found here: https://houstoncountymn.com/agriculture/.

CEDA Team Member is Working to Promote Access to Healthy Food in Winnebago, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

CEDA representative Annie Leibel has been working with the City of Winnebago, MN and the Faribault County Food Partnership to bring a new program to area youth this summer.

The Power of Produce (PoP) program is a farmers market incentive program offered to children ages 4-12. Children receive a token worth $2.00 to spend on fresh produce at the farmer’s market, and the vendors are then reimbursed for their sale. This program aims to increase family participation in local farmers markets, increase vendor revenue, and build healthier communities. The Faribault County Food Partnership group is made up of stakeholders from around the county that are interested in making healthy food options more accessible.

After a brainstorming session, Leibel was quick to recommend Winnebago as the site for the 2019 PoP program, due to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the community’s interest in maintaining and supporting a successful and community-driven farmers market.

St. Charles, MN Receives $10,000 CEDA-Authored Minnesota Twins Grant

Article by: Mary Kennedy
The baseball fields at City Park in St. Charles, Minnesota will be undergoing some exciting changes starting this summer. CEDA team member Cris Gastner authored and was awarded $10,000 from the Minnesota Twins Fields for Kids program. These funds will assist the City in their efforts to improve accessibility throughout the complex.
The full scope of the project includes improving handicap accessibility in the seating area, increasing accessibility to the ballfield from the parking lot, and controlling stormwater runoff by fixing ruts in the walkways. Funding projects of this scope and size can be difficult for small communities, so receiving grants like those offered by the Minnesota Twins is extremely helpful.
 
“We are really excited about this project because by making it less of a challenge to get on the field, people with physical disabilities still get to be involved in baseball and softball. Also, visitors and community members with mobility challenges will be able to sit with the rest of their friends and family and we hope that enhances the overall experience for everyone,”
said Gastner.

Stewartville, MN High School Seniors Learn About Business Planning with CEDA/EDA Guidance

The Stewartville, MN EDA regularly works with the local high school economics classes, and this semester they are providing a whole new project for the students. CEDA team member Joya Stetson worked with Stewartville High School economics instructor Sue Grant in designing an assignment that would teach the students about the time and considerations that go into a business plan for a new start up.  In addition, students were taught about the Journey to Growth (J2G) Venture SE MN Diversification Loan Fund which was proposed in the Minnesota legislature to create a $25 Million revolving loan fund to assist eligible businesses with low interest loans.

Stetson produced an outline that asked the students to come up with a business plan for a company that could potentially utilize the Venture SE MN Diversification Loan Fund dollars to create new industry in a currently vacant building or on vacant land in the City of Stewartville. In order to complete the assignment effectively, CEDA Senior Vice President Cris Gastner first shared his business planning knowledge with the students. Gastner spoke to the classes about important components of business plans such as product/service description, market research, advertising, financial projections, future plans and more. “It was very encouraging to see the level of interest from the students” Gastner said. “They were highly engaged and had thoughtful questions. Their final projects will certainly be impressive!”

Stetson and City Administrator Schimmel spent another day with the students to act as consultants, providing them with advice and insight that will help their projects be even more successful. “I believe this project offers students the opportunity to get a feel for what starting a business looks like. The information that they were given is based on actual discussions with new business owners” Stetson shared. “Furthermore, the assignment is teaching students about how legislation can affect you and your community on the local level.”

Students will present their final projects in-class on April 15, and some students may choose to present their business plans to the EDA at its regular meeting on April 16!