Monday, November 24, 2008

Hoffman's Main Street Galleria a small business incubator

excerpted from Grant County Herald

There's a bit of a renaissance going on in downtown Hoffman. After several businesses closed in the past four years, the town now has a new appliance store, the newly opened Hoffman Mall with a health care center, second hand store and library, and now the Main Street Galleria, an incubator for small businesses. The galleria offers a low-risk environment for businesses to co-op costs for the building, infrastructure, advertising and staff time.

Currently there are 18 small businesses that operate out of Main Street Galleria. They rent space by the foot and pay for it in cash of volunteer hours by helping run the central cash register and assisting customers. There's quilting and scrapbooking stores, a coffee shop and an Internet kiosk, a gift shop and dollar store, plus even a carpet and flooring remnant outlet run by the former owner of the building. Plus a lot more.

The idea for the business incubator came from the Hoffman Economic Development Authority (HEDA). It was patterned after other such ventures, including a successful Wadena mall that graduated five businesses into their own locations, revitalizing that city's downtown.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Changes to JOBZ program aimed at improving oversight

Minnesota DEED has announced changes that officials say will improve oversight of the Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) program.

The changes include:
  • All new JOBZ applications will be reviewed by DEED officials. A new application have been developed for use by local governments and/or subzone administrators.
  • A new evaluation process has been developed to determine if a proposed project is eligible for the JOBZ tax benefits.
  • A new mandatory Business Subsidy Agreement (BSA) template is available. 
  • Businesses that are new to JOBZ will be required to report on the number of jobs created and wages paid two years after their program anniversary date.
  • Businesses that are relocating their operations into a JOBZ site must report on jobs and wages one year after they begin operations.
  • A business that meets most but not all of the goals of its BSA can remain in the program if DEED, the local government and the business agree on a new set of goals.
For more information on the registration guidelines, plus a JOBZ application and a helpful JOBZ tax benefit calculator, visit the JOBZ Web site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DEED announces Minnesota Investment Fund-Biomass Heating Program

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is pleased to announce the availability of the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Biomass Heating Program.

This program provides grants and loans to local units of government for the installation of biomass heating projects in publicly owned facilities. The funding award limit is $250,000, with a required minimum local match of 1 to 1. A total of $1 million will be awarded.

Applications for funding will be accepted until April 30, 2009, or until all funds are committed, whichever is sooner.

For more information, please go to:,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stevens Forward's 'Destiny Drivers' designed to get county moving on fulfilling future

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune-News, 10-15-08

After 10 months of planning, Stevens FORWARD! stewards released a list of 14 projects that they believe will make the county a better place to live and do business in the future.

The stewards, county residents who are helping move the initiative forward through a series of morning meetings, conducted a countywide survey and identified the 14 "Destiny Drivers" that they believe will inspire broad-based community action.

Read the 14 "Destiny Drivers."

Several White Earth members graduate from first TOT program

excerpted from Anishinaabeg Today, 10-15-08

Twelve graduates comprised the first class to complete the Transportation Opportunity Training (TOT) program created by MnDOT's Office of Civil Rights, the White Earth Indian Reservation and several other partners.

The classes were held at MSCTC-Detroit Lakes.

During the training, the students studied math, reading comprehension, conflict resolution and other skills. They also learned truck driving skills and met other requirements to obtain a commercial driver's license.

This program increases the diversity of the hiring pool in the region and will help contractors meet federal and state goals for employing women and minority group members on federally funded construction projects.

Stevens County business growth slow but housing okay

excerpted from Morris Sun Tribune-News, 10-22-08

Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission Executive Director Michael Haynes reported slow growth overall for area businesses in the third quarter of 2008, but he said there was no loss of value in Stevens County's housing market.

He reported the Morris Industrial Park is currently full but that there are 40-60 acres available for future expansion.

He also talked about the county's Corn Stalk Gasification Plant project--the first of its kind in the country. The proposed project would convert corn stalks or similar material to natural gas and transmit the gas to customers through the existing natural gas pipeline system.

Minnesota State Legislature - What's New

Alexandria Echo Press

Breckenridge/Wahpeton Daily News

Detroit Lakes Tribune

Fergus Falls Daily Journal stories

IN-FORUM: Fargo-Moorhead

Morris Sun Tribune : Morris

Perham Enterprise Bulletin : Perham

Pope County Tribune

News & Features from Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota Legislature from Minnesota Public Radio