CEDA Teammate helps plan this year’s Covered Bridge Festival in Zumbrota, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

The Zumbrota Covered Bridge Music & Arts Festival is the City’s annual community event, and was held June 13-16. This year, CEDA representative Ryan Soukup played a vital role in the organization of the event, specifically taking on a majority of the responsibility of the parade planning, which included organizing music units, parade participants, and coordinating and preparing the route. In addition to the parade, the festival is host to a variety of family and adult activities which include a vendor fair, food trucks, a craft beer experience, and nerf wars in the city’s Covered Bridge Park. The Covered Bridge Festival is a four-day event, which is usually held the third week in June. Planning for this year’s event began in February, and was done in collaboration with a volunteer committee and the City of Zumbrota. “Having the central volunteer committee working with the City is a great way to utilize existing resources. For example, the City’s street department employees were able to help with some of the set up, which might include installing signs around town, or setting up large tents for various activities.” explained Soukup. 

Soukup said, “A great experience can be had for the entire community, and so many people can benefit when people get involved and volunteer. This festival offers the entire community a common experience – everyone is tied to this really fun weekend together. The Covered Bridge Festival helps provide and develop a sense of identity to those who live and work in Zumbrota and I was glad to be a part of the event this year.”

This year, the event was made possible by a long list of local supporters. Major event sponsors include: Zumbrota Telephone Company; Zumbrota Veterinary Clinic; Countryside Lawn & Landscape, Inc.; NAPA Auto Parts; Firebrick Bread – Wood-Fired Pizza; Nilssen’s Grocery; Zumbrota Ford; Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram; Rockne Law Office; Knutson Construction Service; Bank of Zumbrota; StateFarm – Lyle Wendroth; and Midwest Fabrication & Supply.

Faribault County, MN Excited to see the Golden Bubble Return!

Article by: Mary Kennedy

Together, CEDA Team members Annie Leibel and Mary Kennedy worked to help an entrepreneurial couple apply and secure funding for a reminiscent project in Faribault County, Minnesota. Jeff and Ann Erickson had dreams of reopening a former ballroom and steakhouse near Wells, called The Golden Bubble. The Erickson’s first approached the Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA), in February of 2018, which at the time was served by CEDA staff member Mary Kennedy, to inquire about the former Golden Bubble property and the various County and State programs that might assist with the clean-up and demolition related costs. Kennedy worked, and remained in contact with the Ericksons, and anticipated an application to the County EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) in the future to assist with gap financing for the remodeling portion of the project.

At the start of 2019, CEDA staff member Annie Leibel began serving the Faribault County EDA and the project was transferred to her. The Ericksons’ work did not slow down, and their plans for renovation on the building continued to move ahead quickly. Leibel provided technical assistance by reviewing the updated business plan, as well as working through the EDA’s RLF application with the Erickson’s for the costs of the remodel. The plans for construction included a partial demolition, a complete renovation, new mechanicals, a new entryway, service doors for the caterers, and of course a refinished dance floor. The restored venue will be rented out for wedding receptions, parties, and meetings. In April, Leibel presented the Faribault County EDA with an application from the Erickson’s renovation project and the board approved a $100,000 loan for The Golden Bubble! 

CEDA Hosts Quarterly Marketing in the Morning in Caledonia, MN and is Joined by Live Streaming Audience in Blue Earth, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

On May 30th, CEDA hosted its quarterly Marketing in the Morning event at the Wired Rooster in Caledonia, Minnesota. However, this quarter, southeast Minnesota businesses and community members were not the only ones involved in the informational and networking event. This quarter, CEDA held its first ever Marketing in the Morning Live Streaming event in Blue Earth, Minnesota at the new Giant Welcome Center!

Using Facebook Live, a video projector, screen, and portable speakers, an audience in Blue Earth – which is nearly 150 miles from Caledonia – was able to tune into Sunny Prabhakar and Patrick McNally of CWS Inc.’s presentation. Business owners and community members from the Blue Earth area were able to take part in the morning’s networking event and learn valuable information on content generation for social media, alongside Caledonia’s live audience. Blue Earth’s streaming audience was able to ask questions via CEDA staff who communicated throughout the presentation, hear answers to questions asked at the event, and watch the presenter’s slide show.


Tuohy Passes the Torch

Article by: Mary Kennedy

CEDA’s President, and CEO, Ron Zeigler, and the whole CEDA team would like to thank Mike Tuohy of Chatfield for serving as the CEDA Board Chair for the past eight years. Mike has served as a CEDA Board member since 2006, and as Board Chair since 2011. “I have enjoyed my many years on the CEDA Board. It is necessary for us to help our area develop economically and essential for those of us which are and have been on the board to share our time and experiences to assist in accomplishing his challenge. My belief is that after serving on a board, one should be happy to pass the opportunity on to others as new ideas and ways to accomplish the goals keep an organization young and vital,” said Mike.

With that being said, CEDA staff and fellow board members are happy to welcome Michael Tuohy, also of Chatfield, as the Elected Chair this year. “I am very honored to be part of the team. CEDA has a great history of what has been accomplished and I am excited to help continue on a path that will bring CEDA even further into the future. Great things can and will be accomplished when a skilled team is together and focused on their mission,” expressed Michael.

In addition to Board Chair Michael Tuohy, CEDA Board Officers include Vice-Chair Larry Anderson, of Frost, MN, Treasurer Randy Domeyer of Winona, MN, and Secretary Gary Gooder of Cresco, IA.


Eyota, MN Welcomes Dr. Westphal of Eyota Chiropractic

Article by: Cathy Enerson and Mary Kennedy

CEDA representative, and Eyota, MN Economic Development Director Cathy Enerson, along with the Economic Development Authority Board Members would like to welcome Dr. Mark Westphal, owner of Eyota Chiropractic! Dr. Westphal offers many health related services and specializes in prenatal chiropractic care. His new office will be located at 123 Lafayette Avenue,
Eyota and will feature a front entry and a handicap accessible entry in the rear.

Enerson worked with Dr. Westphal on his business plan, assisted in the site selection process, and served as a resource to connect the project to potential funding options. The building, which was once a residential home is located in the downtown historic commercial district of Eyota and qualifies for the City’s Facade Improvement grant, which will provide up to $10,000 to improve the entryway and facade of the building. A $5,000 grant from the Rochester Sales Tax fund was also awarded to help fund ADA compliance. For purchasing equipment, both People’s Energy Cooperative and the EDA lent funds totaling $30,000. At the City Council meeting in which the EDA’s recommendations were approved for this project, Council Member John Chesney said, “It’s another great amenity.” Council Member and Mayor Pro-tem Bryan Cornell said the business fit into the need for a health care practitioner, which was part of a U of MN report that indicated which businesses should be added to Eyota. “The EDA believes it’s a very good thing to have a Doctor of Chiropractic in town,” Cornell said. Dr. Westphal hopes to open his new practice this July

CEDA Team Member Leads Frazee, MN EDA Through Results Based Planning Method

Article by: Mary Kennedy

This Spring, CEDA team member Tara Kohl helped the Frazee, MN Economic Development Authority (EDA) create a work plan using the Results Based Approach method. Kohl, along with Karen Pifher of Becker County Energize, facilitated a meeting to gather local business and community input. This data was used in addition to the EDA board member’s input to formulate a work plan for the upcoming year. “At the community meeting, we started with sharing our goal, which is planning for the growth and development of our business district,” said Kohl. Kohl and Pifher provided the group with indicators of a successful business district in Frazee such as the number of businesses, and the number of community attractions, which helped guide discussion. The next step was to ask the group for input on indicators that would make Frazee the best place to live, work, and play. Additionally, the group provided input on factors that would positively or negatively affect the outcome of the goal, and offered insight on ideas and projects that would aid in the EDA’s success. Due to the success of this approach, Kohl anticipates the EDA utilizing community involvement components in future processes as well.

CEDA Representative Helps Implement Facade Improvement Program in Jackson, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

Businesses in the City of Jackson now have the opportunity to take advantage of a financial assistance program which will help them improve their building facades! CEDA representative Tom Nelson has been working with the Jackson Business Development Committee (JBDC) to bring a Business Facade Improvement Program to the community.

Using other CEDA communities’ Commercial Building Exterior Improvement programs as guidance, Nelson wrote draft guidelines which would best suit Jackson businesses, and brought those to the JBDC for approval.

“The program is a part of the broader strategy to position Jackson as a day trip destination. It is meant to encourage business owners to improve the look of their buildings which not only affects their business as well as neighboring business and the community as a whole,” said Nelson.

The program, which is funded by the Jackson Economic Development Authority (EDA), and hosted by the JBDC, provides local businesses with a 1:1 matched forgivable loan, which is forgiven over five years. Since the program’s implementation only two months ago, three businesses have already applied and been approved for funding. The approved projects include the replacement of an awning at a local hair salon, a full renovation to the exterior of the former municipal liquor store, which was purchased by a new business owner, and the addition of steel siding and a fresh coat of paint to a highly visible business on Hwy 71.

CEDA Team Members Assist Red’s IGA Expansion in the City of Spring Grove, MN

Article by: Rebecca Charles and Mary Kennedy

Spring Grove Economic Development Authority, Houston County Economic Development Authority and Merchants Bank, along with the City of Spring Grove collaborated to fully fund an exciting expansion project in Spring Grove! The City of Spring Grove’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) has recently approved a loan to assist with the expansion of Red’s IGA. The expansion of is focused on the addition of a coffee house, Jo’s Coffee House, to the facility. It will also allow for a larger deli, back patio and will include a drive through. Jo’s Coffee House will include a small stage to be used for acoustic bands and singer-songwriter shows. “Red’s is a cornerstone of the Spring Grove community and we understand how important it is to keep a thriving local grocery store. We were excited to help with this project and hope it remains strong for many years to come”, says Spring Grove EDA Director, Courtney Bergey Swanson. The entire project includes 2,500 sq. ft. and will be completed before the end of the summer.

CEDA Authors and is Awarded $46,000 Grant for the City of Harmony

Article by: Mary Kennedy and Chris Giesen

CEDA’s Vice President, and Harmony’s CEDA representative Chris Giesen authored and was awarded a $46,000 USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant for the City of Harmony. The grant dollars will be used to upgrade a standby electric generator at the wastewater treatment plant and to purchase a scissor lift aerial work platform for the Public Works Department. “The Community Facilities grant has been a great program for Harmony. This is the third Community Facilities grant we’ve been awarded, all of which have been used to upgrade critical equipment for the City.  Especially with the storms this past winter as a fresh reminder, having adequate and reliable back up electricity to operate our water and sewer system is critical,” said Giesen. The Public Works department is excited to get the lift, as it will make the work that once required ladders easier and safer.

The Community Facilities grant is available on an ongoing basis and cities are qualified based on local demographics and need. “USDA is always very helpful with this program.” Giesen shared. Eligible cities and projects can qualify for 75% grants, up to $50,000.  Loans are also available for larger projects.

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.”