Archives for September 2019

CEDA Staff in Eyota, MN Promotes EDA’s Build and Save Program

Article by: Cathy Enerson and Mary Kennedy

CEDA representative Cathy Enerson serves the City of Eyota as the Economic Development Director. In 2009, the Eyota Economic Development Authority (EDA) created a program which waived permit fees for new construction of homes and commercial buildings in the community. The Build and Save Program assisted developers until it’s sunset in 2018. Now, in 2019, Enerson has fielded requests from developers asking for the program to be reinstated. The Eyota EDA allowed the program’s return, and Enerson was recently able to work with Eyota Holdings LLC, to construct a 10,200 sq ft commercial building, with the benefit of waived permit fees, saving them a total of $2,275.

Additionally, Enerson was able to help the business secure Tax Abatement financing for the project. “Most communities want to create and promote financial incentives when times are hard. We have learned that companies will appreciate incentives just as much if not more when times are good.” shares Enerson of the EDA’s successful Build and Save program, “Incent people to work in your community, encourage them to come your way! That is when business owners and investors have funding to make new investments” shared Enerson about the EDA’s successful Build and Save program.

CEDA Teammates Partner to Bring Succession Planning Workshop to Community

Article by: Mary Kennedy

CEDA team members, Annie Leibel and Mary Kennedy, who serve Faribault County, MN and the City of Blue Earth, MN respectively, joined efforts to organize a workshop designed to inform local business owners and stakeholders about the importance of business succession planning.

Blue Earth, one of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) five Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) communities, learned through the REV program’s core team that planning for a successful business transition is lacking throughout the business community.

The Blue Earth REV core team collaborated with the Faribault County Economic Development Authority to plan and host the workshop, which took place on September 10th in Blue Earth. Speaker Jennifer Hawkins, from the University of Minnesota Extension Department of Community Economics presented research and information to over 30 attendees, and answered several questions.

“Board members from the Faribault County Economic Development Authority and the Blue Earth REV team attended every City Council meeting in the county to spread the word about the event,” Leibel said. “We also promoted the event on Facebook, worked with the Blue Earth Area Chamber of Commerce, and advertised in the local newspaper. It was really important to us to make sure that every business knew about the event.”

Kennedy explained that to ensure business owners made attending the event a priority, direct mailings were also sent out, and personal invitations were delivered by staff and board members. “We don’t want to lose even one business in our community. We saw an opportunity to help by making local businesses aware of what succession planning is, and provide them with tools to begin preparing for the future.” said Kennedy.

CEDA Staff Secures $1,500 Toward Community Amphitheater

Article by: Joya Stetson

CEDA team member Joya Stetson, who serves the Stewartville, MN Economic Development Authority (EDA), recently wrote and received a grant from People’s Energy Cooperative’s Operation Round Up® program. The $1,500 grant will assist with the phase I implementation of a community Amphitheater in Bear Cave Park in the City of Stewartville.

This amphitheater project has been championed by the City’s Park Board and the Stewartville Area Community Foundation and seeks to provide a new, accessible venue for residents and visitors to host educational, entertainment and ceremonial activities such as theater, concerts, weddings, graduations, movies, talent shows and festivals. Because of the importance of the project to the quality of life in the City, the EDA encouraged CEDA staff to participate in securing funding for the project.  Additionally, CEDA Community Grant Specialist Abby Wright is currently researching and drafting applications to assist with the amphitheater’s marketing efforts!

The Stewartville Park Board has already begun preliminary groundwork on the amphitheater and expects to begin programming in spring of 2020!

CEDA Team Member Supports New Childcare Center

Article by: Rebecca Charles

CEDA team member Rebecca Charles, serving Hayfield, MN, has been working closely with a City resident to provide a critical business to the community.

Kelly Jax, of Hayfield held a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the Jumping Jax Kids Childcare center on Saturday, September 7th 2019. Childcare needs are critical across southeastern Minnesota, and its availability is affecting where individuals are choosing to live.  By adding this essential amenity to the City of Hayfield, Jax is not just providing a business, but fulfilling a vital need of the community.

Jax worked with the Hayfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) to formally submit an application for funds from the EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund.  The loan was closed in December of 2018.  The awarded funds supported the purchase of the building, as well as renovation costs and supplies. The City of Hayfield is excited about expanding the amenities that they are able to offer to its citizens.  These developments are only possible because of the motivated and creative members of the community.  The daycare is open 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday all year round.  The center is licensed for 42 children ages six weeks to kindergarten. Jax stated that she will be able to add an additional 17 slots down the road as well.

CEDA Assists Mantorville, MN In Encouraging More Local Businesses to Take Advantage of RLF Funds

Article by: Abby Wright

At the City of Mantorville, MN’s July 2019 Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting, the EDA approved guidelines and application documents, drafted by Abby Wright, Community Grant Specialist of CEDA, for the City’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to provide financing for businesses emerging and expanding within the City. The RLF has existed in Mantorville since 2012 as a result of a $31,000 EDA contribution plus a $29,000 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) authored by CEDA’s Vice President, Chris Giesen.

Since then, the City had been using a USDA reporting form as the RLF application. When Wright began her contract with Mantorville in January, City Clerk Treasurer, Cami Reber, expressed that the RLF application needed updating.

To create the new documents, Wright borrowed some of her favorite language and formatting from six other CEDA communities’ RLF documents, then ensured she was complying with RBEG requirements and her EDA’s intentions for the program. Wright requested and received input from Giesen during the process and, over the course of several Board meetings, asked her EDA questions she and Giesen thought were pertinent for clarification and accuracy.

“Getting Chris’s feedback and having CEDA team members’ examples to go by really helped me create a comprehensive RLF application and required supplements,” Wright said. She notes that having internal samples as guides has helped her with multiple projects since she started with CEDA last year.

The 12-page Mantorville RLF document includes the history and purpose of the program; eligible and non-eligible uses of the funds; borrower requirements; loan details; a checklist of materials the applicant needs to include; an explanation of the loan review process and other considerations; the anti-discrimination policy, privacy disclosure, and environmental requirements set forth by RBEG; and the application itself with instructions for the applicant. Wright’s goal was to make the application packet and process as clear and clean as possible.

While the purpose of the Mantorville Revolving Loan Fund remains unchanged, the revamped guidelines and application are intended to be more user-friendly to encourage new and existing businesses to take advantage of the fund.

CEDA Awarded $144,000 From The Otto Bremer Trust

Article by: Mary Kennedy

We are excited to share that the Otto Bremer Trust has awarded CEDA $144,000 for operating capital as well as a one time allocation to fund a new CEDA initiative for technology, software design, creation of the initiative and support.
CEDA’s new initiative is described as a strategy to gain further insights into our communities in order to better serve them. CEDA is partnering with the marketing company Krakerjak, to utilize a customer analytics software that is being developed exclusively for CEDA’s use to produce data which illustrates customer purchase patterns, market potential, industry competitors, and other factors that can be used to guide and enhance community and business development in the areas CEDA serves.

Chatfield, MN Sells Lot in Industrial Park With Help From CEDA Staff

Article by: Mary Kennedy

The City of Chatfield, MN has sold the first lot in its newly constructed business park to a local developer that will build a multi-unit commercial building.  One of the units will be occupied by the developer’s residential home building business, Broadwater Construction.

CEDA Vice President Chris Giesen, who also serves as Chatfield’s Economic Development Coordinator assisted the business by helping secure a $55,500 loan from the Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the land purchase. Construction for the new business is scheduled for this fall. There are ten remaining lots for sale.

Construction of the business park was made possible in part by a $300,000 zero percent loan from MiEnergy to the City which assisted with the installation of necessary public infrastructure.


CEDA Regional Development Tour Showcases Three CEDA Communities!

On Thursday, August 15, CEDA hosted its 4th annual Regional Development Tour (RDT) in partnership with Journey to Growth (J2G).
Each year, the RDT brings together a cross section of development stakeholders from around the region for an informational tour of a few CEDA communities. This year’s tour stops included Minnesota communities of Preston and Harmony as well as Cresco, IA! Over 50 participants packed the bus for this year’s tour!
On the tour, CEDA team members and community representatives provided enlightening presentations on each of the featured cities. While attendees learned, they enjoyed sandwiches from The Sweet Stop & Sandwich Shoppe along with beverages provided by J2G. Because of its popularity last year, CEDA also continued a photo contest that gave participants the opportunity to win an exciting gift basket of items produced in CEDA communities for the best photos taken during the event posted with the hashtag “#RDT2019.” This year three gift baskets were given away for some impressive shots!
“This event really embodies what CEDA is about,” said CEDA Senior Vice President Cris Gastner. “Small communities are full of exciting opportunities. They are vibrant places with character, passion, and creativity. This tour is so much more than discussing acreage and infrastructure; it allows people to learn about what makes each of the cities special.”
We are grateful for our many sponsors that make the RDT possible and continue to support the tour!:

Title sponsors for this exciting event included: Rochester City Lines, Cresco BankDairyland Power CooperativeF & M Community BankFirst Southeast BankHammel House & CompanyMississippi Welders SupplyMiEnergy Cooperative and Braun Intertec.

CEDA Team Members Assist With A Major Expansion At A Northeast Iowa Company

Article by: Jason Passmore
Plantpeddler, a supplier of top quality plants located in Cresco, IA, broke ground in July on a 100,000 square foot addition to their operation. Plantpeddler started in Cresco with just 12,000 square feet and this expansion will bring their facilities to over 550,000 square feet. Over 100 people from as far away as the Netherlands attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new space will accommodate a state-of-the-art greenhouse, new shipping and dock facilities, and an expanded genetics trial garden.
CEDA team members serving Howard County Business & Tourism assisted the $3.5M expansion with a $150,000 loan to Plantpeddler. The expansion is expected to add approximately 25 employees to the current 95 member team.

CEDA Representative Secures $42,000 Value Added Grant in Spring Valley, MN

Article by: Cathy Enerson

CEDA’s Cathy Enerson, who served as Spring Valley’s EDA Director, secured a $42,011 Minnesota Value Added Grant for Valley Butchery and Meat Market. The grant will assist with an expansion to the building and equipment purchases. Rusty and Tanner Hellickson have owned Valley Butchery and Meat Market in Spring Valley for only two years. The Hellicksons are former employees of Kraut Meat Locker, and are what are referred to by Enerson as a succession story. The economic impact and success from the grant includes retaining six full time jobs, increasing the number of days per week for processing, saving energy, and saving labor. Efficiency doubles when both Tanner and Rusty process at the same time, therefore the new equipment and required separation of space while processing doubles the owner’s ability to process meats. Retail customers will be able to select from the newly installed eight door self-serve freezer case.

Valley Butchery and Meat Market is becoming a valuable retail outlet for area livestock farmers. emerging fish and shrimp farmers, and for those in the area that raise bees. Once construction of the expansion project is complete, their smoke house will smoke seven new varieties of smoked links and varieties of trout. There will be less overall transportation, and improved environmental impact when local farmers raise more animals and have them processed locally. With food safety always in the forefront, the expansion project will bring the plant up to current code. The Hellickson’s indicate that the new expansion space and the new equipment will improve overall health for themselves and their employees, and express their gratitude to Enerson for the work in securing the grant funds. The Hellickson’s share that they may hire one additional retail person, and an additional part-time seasonal processor. In addition, the Hellickson’s will be able to aide the Department of Natural Resources by processing the deer from area CWD hunts. 

This is the second MN Value Added grant that Cathy Enerson has written. Enerson has secured a total of $150,000 in grant funds for local butchers in SE MN.