BE EDA grants loans to new businesses

The Blue Earth Economic Development Authority presented the EDA’s Business Spotlight Award for March to Thrivent Financial during their meeting this past Thursday morning, March 10. Left to right, above, are economic development specialist Amy Schaefer, Thrivent financial consultant Jason Bonnema, Thrivent financial associate Brandon Sahr, and Blue Earth EDA board president Lissia Laehn.

Business was booming at a regularly scheduled Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) board meeting on Thursday, March 10 at 7:15 a.m.

The EDA board granted several loans to new Blue Earth businesses on the block, wishing them luck at their future endeavors.

A Commercial Business Improvement Forgivable Loan was awarded to Jenny Flett, who plans to open Vintage Soul Photography and Wild Soul Boutique on Main Street in mid-April.

Flett intends to use the loan to fund new signage for the conjoined businesses, which will cost a total of $1,734.50 according to an estimate from Sign Pro. The awarded loan will cover 50 percent of the estimated cost.

An additional loan application was approved for TJD Repair & Service, LLC, which will be jointly owned by Trey Dyslin and Jared Resutek.

Dyslin and Resutek intend to purchase what was previously Blue Earth Auto and Truck Stop, and applied for a $25,000 forgivable loan from the EDA to finance their initial payroll cost and to purchase inventory, computers and printers and a needed forklift.

The prospective business owners shared they plan to provide the same services which Blue Earth Auto and Truck Stop has provided in the past. They have also bought new tow trucks, and plan to foray into semi trucks and agricultural equipment.

The EDA board unanimously approved the loan application.

“We’re glad to see the building going to use,” mayor Rick Scholtes said.

Apart from awarding funds to prospective new businesses, the board also conveyed several EDA-owned properties to new owners.

The EDA first approved a resolution which conveyed lot one, block three of Blue Earth’s Prairie View Addition to JM Development, LLC, for the price of $17,500.

Additionally, the EDA signed over the property’s Limited Warranty Deed to JM Development.

The EDA similarly approved a resolution conveying lot two, block three of Blue Earth’s Prairie View Addition to E&J Rentals, LLC for the purchase price of $17,500, and signed over the property’s Limited Warranty Deed to the same company.

“JM Development and E&J Rentals are the same developers and owners,” city administrator Mary Kennedy clarified.

Finally, the EDA took a beat to celebrate the success of Thrivent, an established business in Blue Earth.

Thrivent’s financial consultant Jason Bonnema and financial associate Brandon Sahr were present to accept the month’s Business Spotlight award, and share a little about their business.

They said Thrivent, a not-for-profit Christian membership organization, was established in 1902.

“We provide comprehensive financial planning,” Bonnema explained. “It all starts with financial advice.”

Sahr added, “We are a one-stop shop. We want to make things easy not only for you, but your whole family.”

Bonnema and Sahr also emphasized the community contributions which Thrivent values.

“We don’t do marketing as an organization,” Bonnema said. “We just try to do good in the world, and hopefully that speaks for itself.”

In other business, the Blue Earth EDA: 

• Approved Resolution 22-03 authorizing EDA specialist Amy Schaefer to apply for a large Federal EDA and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant for just under $1 million.

The grant would be used in conjunction with Fairmont and Region Nine to fund a workforce recovery position for 36 months.

“This position would work at connecting industry clusters between the two cities, conducting a needs assessment and moving forward with identifying and addressing ways in which more regional attention can be brought to the two cities,” Schaefer noted in a report.

• Voted to abandon an obsolete loan subordination policy which does not accurately summarize the EDA’s current process for considering a loan subordination.

Kennedy suggested the EDA forego the policy and continue to review loan subordination requests on a case-by-case basis, with the EDA in unanimous agreement.

• Heard an update on the Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV)’s new welcome basket initiative.

“It has been very warmly received,” Schaefer said.

She added there are currently plenty of funds to continue the program, which offers a basket valued at $50 to new Blue Earth residents which contains items from local businesses.

“We’ve delivered about 20 so far,” Schaefer said.

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