REED Fund’s business loans support business growth and development and contribute to employment and business ownership opportunities. The loans benefit retail, service, tourism, manufacturing, and technology sectors. REED also finances nonprofit development organizations for activities such as industrial parks, leasehold facilities. Financing to nonprofit development corporations receive a reduced interest rate.
All borrowers are encouraged to integrate energy efficiency in facilities and construction. Purchase of electricity from a REED member cooperative is NOT required to receive financing. For more information, check out Eligibility and Application, for qualifications and to obtain an application.
Category: Agriculture, Codington Clark Electric, Business, Featured
Local shop enhances quality and increases supply with new smokehouse.
It’s amazing what can happen when a business is able to streamline all of its production under one roof. The work is more efficient, challenges that arise are resolved more quickly and it means a higher quality product for the customer. That has been the result for Dakota Butcher in Watertown, South Dakota, thanks to the addition of a brand new smokehouse.
The local, family-owned butcher shop has built a solid reputation around the region since the grand opening in 2009. Owner Randy Gruenwald explained that earning trust was a vital component of the business. “I think our consistency is a big reason why our customers keep coming back, and why many are willing to travel longer distances to get our products,” Gruenwald says. “All of our meat is processed, cut and wrapped on-location. People know that when they buy from Dakota Butcher, they’re feeding their family a high quality steak, ham or pork chop. We’re proud of that reputation.”
The Key to Further Expansion: The New Smokehouse
Dakota Butcher earned its strong reputation. But to continue expanding, it needed more than just a solid name. It needed more capital. The REED Fund was able to provide that in 2017, and help Dakota Butcher move the base of its operations to a brand new smokehouse. The 8,200-square-foot building includes a processing room, separate wrapping room, and multiple coolers and freezers. The smokehouse is located near its Watertown West retail shop.
Gruenwald said that one of the benefits of moving operations to the new smokehouse has been more financial freedom. With help from REED, Dakota Butcher no longer had to invest the majority of its working capital into multiple facilities. Instead, the company could focus on producing more meat and creating even more efficient systems.
Since opening the smokehouse, Dakota Butcher has been able to grow its footprint substantially. In addition to its three retail shops, its meat is now sold in at least 15 other stores around the region.
The butcher shop also used the extra cash flow to hire more employees. Dakota Butcher started with three employees in 2009, and eventually grew to 30 as the business became more successful. Now, the business has 60 full and part-time workers. Gruenwald says the biggest beneficiary of the smokehouse is the customer. “We can do so much more in this smokehouse. Since everything is happening in one location, high-quality is even more guaranteed than it was before.”
Thinking Outside the Smokehouse
The increased profits have Gruenwald thinking about what else Dakota Butcher can offer its customers. The shop has three retail locations: Watertown East, Watertown West, and a store in Clark. The east side location also offers products including sandwiches, salads and deli meats.
“We’re still evolving and learning as we expand,” Gruenwald explained. “We’re seeing that people like having that ‘fresh market’ option. We’d like to offer more of that in the future.”
The company also operates Dakota Butcher Wine & Spirits at its east side location. But Gruenwald says the name will soon change to Dakota Butcher Steakhouse. “We realized that customers were coming in more for the smoked rib, steaks and hors d’oeuvres than they were for alcohol. That’s why we’re dedicated to growing that location to be much more than just a coffeehouse or pub.”
Growing The Footprint Again
Dakota Butcher is planning to open a fourth retail shop in the spring of 2019. The destination Gruenwald has in mind is in the city of Brookings, about 50 miles south of Watertown. “We’re figuring out the right concept and we’re going to run with it.”
You can check out Dakota Butcher’s meat offerings as well as the restaurant menu at its Watertown East shop by clicking here.
Category: Agralite, Business, Cooperatives
REED member Agralite Electric Cooperative, is proud to be a part of the financing package to construct a new home for Do Mats Family Food. The grocery store has been a family business in Benson, Minnesota, population 3,240, for nearly 45 years. Do Mats’ CEO is Matthew Mattheisen, son of the original owner, and employs 20 people. Its new, 23,500 square foot facility includes a Lewis Drug pharmacy and a liquor store (operated by the city) all under one roof. The facility also has energy efficient fixtures and equipment.
Category: Sioux Valley Energy, Business, Featured
Universities are unique environments. They serve as fertile ground to test innovative ideas. They cultivate creativity and talent. With the right resources and collaborations, academia can provide fuel for economic growth.
Community, business and university leaders in Brookings, South Dakota formed a collaboration in 2004 to help harness the power of academic creativity and advance knowledge-based economic development in eastern South Dakota.
The South Dakota State University (SDSU) Growth Partnership was initially sparked by a few leaders, including former SDSU President Peggy Miller, former Mayor Scott Munsterman and longtime community member Al Kurtenbach.
The partnership’s original aim was to develop a research park at the university in Brookings. “The Research Park was developed by the community for the sole purpose of showcasing SDSU faculty and students to industry,” says Executive Director Dwaine Chapel. “We work diligently with the community leaders, the local economic development team, and the leadership from SDSU to create new opportunities for our local, state, national and global citizens.”
The first building, the Brookings Innovation Center (BIC), was completed in 2008. The business incubator and accelerator assists startup businesses from concept to commercialization.
The park serves as a place to develop, attract and retain technology companies that are aligned with the talent and sponsored research conducted at SDSU, according to Chapel. “The park is the ‘power of place’ where industry and the university collide to create new innovation,” he says.
The Research Park has continued to expand since its inception. It now spans 125 acres. In 2009, it added the Seed Technology Laboratory. The state-of-the-art lab serves as a center for research, teaching and outreach for agricultural science, technology and biotechnology.
The BIC added a second wing in 2012. It’s home to several anchor tenants that assist with startup businesses that are focused on technology and research relating to plant, animal and human projects as well as potential retail products. It also houses the Student Innovation Center, several corporate innovation centers and a makerspace.
There are approximately 38 businesses operating at the Research Park. In total, about 235 people are employed there. And this number is expected to grow.
SDSU President Barry Dunn has an ambitious goal of doubling research at the university over the next decade. Chapel says the Research Park’s new economic development council has embraced this challenge.
In 2017, the SDSU Growth Partnership received a loan from Sioux Valley Energy’s REED Fund for expansion of the Research Park. Sioux Valley Energy issued a second loan using the USDA’s zero percent loan program to help complete the financial package.
“These funds were an essential factor in providing the Park with the appropriate assets to become successful,” says Chapel. “Without this type of financing and the people that are a part of the team, many communities cannot bring economic development projects online.”
The SDSU Growth Partnership is comprised of a mix of organizations, public officials and business owners. It includes the City of Brookings, Brookings County, the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, South Dakota State University, and the South Dakota State University Foundation.
Category: FEM Electric, Business
Industrial parks are a valuable recruitment tool. But acquiring a large property and establishing the requisite infrastructure to attract companies is a major undertaking, particularly for a rural area.
The people of Faulkton, South Dakota have long prioritized economic development.
According to Trevor Cramer, economic development director for the Faulkton Area Economic Development Corporation (FAEDC), the town has had the goal of building an industrial park since the 1980s. The main difficulty was finding a suitable property close to city limits.
A site one mile east of town with a conservation easement was eventually identified. FAEDC went through a 15-month process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get the easement released so it could develop the property.
The 32-acre site industrial park east of Faulkton on U.S. Highway 212 was recently completed. It has 11 lots, one of which was just sold to Jensen Rock and Sand, a cement company with headquarters in Mobridge.
Jensen Rock and Sand had been looking to locate a plant in the area for some time. Cramer says FAEDC had the company in mind when it began the industrial park project. “We needed to get it done so they could come here. They’ve been patient,” he says.
The plant will start out with two full time and one part time employee. Cramer believes having a cement plant in Faulkton will spur a lot of growth. “This is huge for the whole community. Anytime you have a building project, so much time and expense goes into concrete transportation. This should mean less expensive projects.”
In addition, now that the industrial park has an anchor tenant, Cramer anticipates other lots will start selling. FAEDC is especially interested in attracting industries and businesses that aren’t currently represented in Faulkton. “Most will probably be ag related in some way shape or form. Maybe we’ll attract an auto-body shop or a meat locker,” says Cramer.
If all goes as planned, the industrial park will help promote growth in the town for years to come. “I’m pretty excited about what this means for future progress in our community,” Cramer says.
The State Board of Economic Development provided a $384,000 grant for the industrial park. The grant provided about 45 percent of the funds needed but its use was restricted to infrastructure costs. A Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund loan, from FEM Electric Cooperative, covered about half of the project’s land acquisition and building costs. FAEDC came up with the remaining 5 percent to make the project a reality.
“REED was great to work with. You have to have partner, otherwise a project like this won’t come together,” says Cramer. “They were excited to do it right from the beginning. They’re comfortable with our community and we’re comfortable with them.”
This is FEM and REED’s third loan to FAEDC. Earlier loans helped fund a new community center/gymnasium and a mini mall on Main Street.