By Joshua Schuetz
In September 2022, Bremer Bank, then the only bank in Eyota, announced that it would close its branch in the city at the end of the year. Following the announcement, the Eyota EDA board told CEDA team member Cathy Enerson that her “only job at this moment was to concentrate on bringing a new bank to town.”
As discussions with the five banks progressed, Enerson said another issue arose, namely a lack of space for a temporary bank location in the city. Enerson contacted Bennett Foods, a local grocery store, and asked if they would be willing to put their plans for adding liquor sales on hold to host a new bank. Leadership at Bennett, seeing the value and need for a bank to come to the community, agreed.
Enerson and the EDA board got to work, crafting a narrative, and interviewing five bank chains in southeast Minnesota. Enerson collected data on local deposits, making the case that they were significant enough to warrant the opening of a bank branch in Eyota. In this, she was joined by Eyota’s mayor, Tony Nelson, EDA chair, Dale Heintz, and City Clerk, Marlis Knowlton.
Foresight Bank, of Plainview, owned by Cassie and Will Harrington, sent in an application to the state of Minnesota, requesting permission to open a bank branch in Eyota.
Enerson said the local community deserves recognition for helping to bring the new bank to town. Prior to Foresight’s formal application to the State, key depositors, as well as prominent figures in the community took the initiative to either hold meetings or conduct phone conversations to express support for Foresight’s establishment in Eyota. Through these interactions, these community influencers effectively conveyed to Foresight that their presence was not only desired but also assured of strong backing. Their efforts underscored the message that Foresight would find both a warm welcome and steadfast support within the Eyota community.
In July 2023, Enerson and the EDA board cut the ribbon on Foresight’s new branch in Eyota. Enerson expressed her thanks to the bank’s owners for bringing a much-needed resource to the city.
“Foresight Bank choosing to open a branch in Eyota was an emotional journey as well as an important win for the city of Eyota EDA,” Enerson said. Thank you, Will and Cassie Harrington, for choosing to expand into Eyota.”