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FEDA approves 3 loans

FAIRMONT — Local businesses continue to seek assistance from the financial impact of COVID, with the Fairmont Economic Development Authority approving three five-year $25,000 loans at zero percent interest on Monday.

FEDA received $670,000 to establish a CARES Act revolving loan fund to help small businesses, those with 50 employees or less, in Martin County. Loans can be used for working capital, payroll, inventory, and utilities. Any money not loaned out after two years must be returned to the federal government, but funds that are used will stay in a local revolving loan fund as loans are repaid.

The loan application from Korte’s Bar & Grill of Welcome indicated the loan proceeds would be used for payroll, lease/mortgage, utilities and to purchase equipment and remodel the interior of the building. Required collateral will be personal guarantees from owners James and Diane Korte and business equipment including a 2012 Dodge Ram.

The loan application from Shenanigans Cheer & Chow indicated the loan proceeds would be used for payroll, lease/mortgage, utilities, and the purchase of a new refrigerator/freezer, new flooring for the bar area, as well as new tables, chairs, and bar stools. Required collateral will be personal guarantees from owners Steven and Regina Neu and a second position on the building at 115 E. Third St.

The loan application for Schmitz Management Co., doing business as the Ranch, indicated proceeds would be used for payroll, lease/mortgage, and utilities. Required collateral will be business equipment and a personal guarantee from owner Steve Schmitz.

Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development coordinator, reported positive responses to two local endeavors, the Fairmont Area Life campaign to advertise the community and the startup of the downtown revitalization effort.

Fairmont Area Life, a partnership between the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce and the FEDA, is making people aware of what the city has to offer through a unique new digital campaign using geofencing. The process, which targets Twin Cities suburbs, uses the GPS on cell phones to define a geographic boundary and trigger an advertisement when the phone or mobile device enters a certain area. If the user clicks on the ad, they will be directed to the Fairmont Area Life website.

In the initial few weeks of the program, about 1,200 people were engaged, with 85 of them clicking on the ad.

“I am thrilled with that number. I think that’s pretty darn good,” Preuss said.

Enough money has been raised to run the campaign, which is hoped to entice people to visit or move to Fairmont, for about six months, but fundraising is ongoing.

A local effort to revitalize Fairmont’s downtown area received feedback from an informational session last month at the Fairmont Opera House. Subsequent in-person meetings have been delayed, due to COVID restrictions, so the focus has been switched to an online survey at www.fedamn.org through the end of the year.

Preuss said she was pleased with the feedback from the meeting and the response to the survey so far.

“Very positive. People are excited. People want to be involved,” she said.

In another matter, Preuss told FEDA members about her work with Prosper, a program led by Families First to provide free training for existing child care providers and to encourage new providers. People going through the program will receive a laptop with needed software for the food programs and child care assistance programs.

For more information about Prosper, contact Preuss at (507) 238-3925.

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