Lake Country Power provides revolving loan fund for food co-op’s business expansion
Friday, February 17, 2017
Posted by: Shari Wormwood
Natural Harvest Food Co-op recently received a $100,000 revolving loan fund from Lake Country Power to support its expansion into a new 9,000 square-foot building at the intersection of Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue in Virginia, Minn. “Receiving this loan through Lake Country Power (LCP) shows how excited the community is for our project because they are also part of the communities we serve,” said Anja Parenteau, general manager of Natural Harvest Food Co-op.
The revolving loan fund that LCP administers came about from previous economic development grants received through the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA is a federal funding agency that provides loans to non-profit rural electric cooperatives like Lake Country Power to spur economic development in rural America.
“We are very supportive of business growth, community improvements and economic development in our region,” said Jeff Sheldon, manager, energy services and business development at Lake Country Power. “Through the Revolving Loan Fund, we’re able to re-lend federal funding to businesses that meet a set of loan qualifications.” Qualifying businesses must be located within Lake Country Power’s service area. Businesses may apply for up to $100,000 at three percent interest which must be paid off within 10 years or less.
Natural Harvest Food Co-op opened in 1979 and moved to its current site in 1996. Since then, they have outgrown the space and need to build for the future. The new $3.25 million building will be built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards using local union contractors, and will include an expanded deli, hot food bar, catering services and community meeting-room space. The co-op currently serves 2,600 member-owners. The food co-op anticipates expanding employment from 25 to more than 40 employees, and expects to open by spring or summer 2017.
Lake Country Power, www.lakecountrypower.coop, is a Touchstone Energy® cooperative serving parts of eight counties in northeastern Minnesota. The rural electric cooperative provides services to nearly 43,000 members and has offices located in Grand Rapids, Kettle River and Mountain Iron.
Pictured left to right: Anja Parenteau, General Manager of Natural Harvest Food Co-op, stands at the new construction site to accept the $100,000 Revolving Loan Fund from Lake Country Power’s Mark Olson and Jeff Sheldon.