SMIF FY16 Loans & Equity Investments


Business Development Loans

Bio Wood Processing LLC, Faribault (Rice County)       

Loan helped purchase equipment for Bio Wood’s new location in Medford. The company diverts wood products from landfills by recycling untreated wood products such as pallets and building materials into animal bedding and mulch. Bio Wood is an existing SMIF loan client.                

Financing partners: 1st United Bank-Faribault, MN Department of Ag grant        

Minnesota Valley Transport, New Ulm (Brown County)              

Minnesota Valley Transport (MVT) is a 30-year trucking company. When two of the three founding owners were ready to retire, they approach Dan, a younger trucker with good experience and energy, to take the helm. SMIF’s loan helped with the transition of the business.

Financing partners: Frandsen Bank & Trust-New Ulm

River Bluff Technologies, Inc., Redwing (Goodhue County)

Frustrated with the existing technology available to manage and the information and process of an insurance agency, Bob Schmaltz started River Bluff Technologies, Inc. (RBT) in 2009 with the goal of improving the sales results of independent insurance agencies. RBT received a first loan from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) in 2012, and after successful growth, was approved for a second loan from SMIF’s Business Development Loan Program to help expand their new Smart Agent™ program. Smart Agent is a comprehensive insurance agency management solution built specifically for independent insurance agents. Smart Agent is a cloud-based system that offers a reliable, backed-up, and secure platform for insurance companies and their agents to manage and utilize critical data about their customers and their policies to retain and increase policy sales. Smart Agent makes it easier for insurance agents to safely and securely save their customers’ information and access it quickly when they need it.

Financing Partners: Red Wing Port Authority & equity investment partners


Small Enterprise Loan Program

Bella Vita Salon LLC, Faribault (Rice County)

SMIF recently approved Bella Vita Salon for their second loan, allowing them to move their salon to 2921 Lavendar Parkway in Faribault, where about half of their client base resides.  Their first loan in 2012 helped owners Darla and Heather Terpstra (mother-daughter) launch the business. Darla is the Chief Manager and Heather is the main stylist, and both are excited to move to their new location where they see great potential in growing their customer base and business.

Brand Yourself LLC, Northfield (Rice County)

Brand Yourself is a full service marketing firm that provides branding services, social media marketing consulting, content management and distribution, website design, and other marketing services for many different types/sizes of business. SMIF’s loan will be used for working capital. Brand Yourself is an existing SMIF loan client.

Chris Gack Agency, Blue Earth (Faribault County)

Chris is a new SMIF loan client. He launched his insurance agency in 2014. He’ll use his loan to purchase additional equipment and supplies, as well as for working capital.

Deaf Friendly Biz LLC, Northfield (Rice County)

Deaf Friendly Biz (DFB) is a web-based directory of Minnesota’s deaf-friendly businesses, as well as a platform for such businesses to advertise to the Deaf community. CEO Jamie Duncan used SMIF’s loan for working capital to create an empowering marketplace for consumers within the deaf, hard of hearing, and signing community. DFB educates businesses in Minnesota about how to offer a deaf-friendly customer service experience.

Five Lakes Dental Studio, Fairmont (Martin County)

Five Lakes Dental Studio is a Dental Lab that gives dentists a place to go for all around dental restoration materials. This lab will cover all aspects of removable dentures, crowns and bridges, ceramics and implants on single tooth restorations and full mouth reconstruction. Jeremy Stauffer, the owner of this startup company, will use SMIF’s loan for working capital. Jeremy has worked in the dental profession for years so his expertise in the field is a huge asset to this new startup.

Financing Partners: Wells Federal Bank & SBA 504

Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor, New Ulm (Brown County)

Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor received a loan to continue its 37-year history in New Ulm. Nick Fruhwirth hopes to continue the legacy of quality ingredients and good service as he takes over the business from the current owner. Right now Happy Joe’s offers dine in, carry out, and delivery; they hope to add a food truck and catering options to keep expanding the growing business. Happy Joe’s provides families with a family friendly place to gather and celebrate birthdays and other special events. 

Financing Partners: Frandsen Bank & Trust, Brown Co. Economic Development Partners, & equity partners

Hill Concrete & Masonry, Lyle (Mower County)           

Tyler Hill used a SMIF loan in 2012 to start Hill Concrete & Masonry, and came back for a second loan this year to use for working capital. His work includes block foundations, brick fronts, fireplaces, stone, glass block, concrete driveways, patios, footings, decorative concrete, countertops, stained and stamped concrete.

Law Office of Daniel D. Kalk, PLLC, New Ulm (Brown County)           

SMIF's loan will help Daniel Kalk jump-start his own law firm in New Ulm, which will specialize in criminal defense and immigration law. Daniel is a native of New Ulm, where he's also the current public defender. 

The Local Joint, Northfield (Rice)

The Local Joint is an award-winning vintage shop that partners with a handful of unique vendors to offer an inspiring shopping experience. Beyond a unique assortment of vintage finds, The Local Joint sells various products from local artisans, including beeswax candles, jewelry, Minnesota souvenir products, lipstick, furniture and bags. The Local Joint, owned by Marlis Schmidt and located on Northfield’s historic main street, will expand its equipment and inventory, boost its marketing reach and  look to host more “Junk ‘n Jive” live music events with the help of SMIF’s loan.

Matson Design Specialties LLC, Waseca (Waseca County)

Matson Designs does metal fabrication, welding, motorcycle fabrication and detailing, and painting. Some of their metal working projects include handrails, garden arbors, fencing, driveway gates, outdoor lighting fixtures, ornamental garden art such as dragonflies and hummingbirds. They are an existing SMIF loan client.

Max's Main Street Hardware, Madison Lake (Blue Earth County)

While this Madison Lake Hardware store has been around for over 50 years, Max, the new owner, took over in 2014. SMIF’s loan enabled him to switch to a new supplier and better compete with larger big box competitors. They are an existing SMIF loan client.

MKT Glass Aggregate LLC, Meriden (Waseca County)

As a disabled veteran, Mike, owner of MKT Glass Aggregate, wanted a chance make a living for himself and his family. With over 40 years of trucking experience, he decided to start his own business. He used SMIF’s loan to purchase a flatbed trailer to haul things likes cars, ATVs, and motorcycles across the U.S.

New Leaf Transport, Claremont (Dodge County)         

New Leaf is a start-up company co-owned by Alan and Lisa Oeltjenbruns. Alan transports hazardous materials to 25 states and has been trucking for over 20 years. "We'd always wanted to own our own business, but never had the resources to do it," said Lisa. "A long-time friend made it possible to buy this truck, and with the help of SMIF’s loan, we happily took the opportunity since owning your own vehicle makes a big economic difference."

Simplified Ag Technology, Blue Earth (Faribault County)

SMIF’s first loan helped Richard Lawrence, Simplified Ag Technology CEO, launch his fertilizer application manufacturing business in 2014, and this second loan helped him expand the business with the purchase of new inventory. The lightweight attachments can be used on any size sprayer to apply fertilizer or nitrogen close to the plant, reducing evaporation.

Financing partner: Faribault County EDA       

Sollid Yoga, Owatonna (Steele County)

Sollid Yoga, started by Katie Sollid, is a new yoga studio in the heart of Owatonna. Because of the benefits that Katie has experienced from yoga, she intends to serve people through health and wellness education and yoga.  This heated yoga studio will offer slow flow, vinyasa, barre, sculpting, restorative, gentle and yin yoga; all focusing on breath and movement. She will also offer specialty workshops for different groups like the elderly or athletes. Katie will use SMIF’s loan for equipment, inventory, supplies and working capital. Sollid Yoga will be the go-to yoga studio for everyone ages 20-50+ who want to learn about health in a fun, interactive and effective way.

Total Farming Technologies LLC, Pine Island (Goodhue County)

Total Farming Technologies CEO Paul Mecikalski saw an inefficiency in the existing ag wholesale business: most products are being marketed individually through channels that are independent of the product developer. Paul used SMIF’s loan to turn this inefficiency into an opportunity to develop and market products together. His loan went toward equipment and working capital to be able to sell a wide-range of agricultural and construction products, such as diesel enhancement modules, tracks, midrollers, and attachments.

Financing partners: Pine Island EDA & Bremer Bank

UnleaSHEd, Inc., Red Wing (Goodhue County)

UnleaSHEd, Inc. hosts an online business resource community for women entrepreneurs. It recently launched, which is intended to be a national networking site for women entrepreneurs. SMIF's working capital loan helped with the creation of the website, as well as with some marketing and business costs.     


Building Blocks Loan Program

Michelle's Munchkins Daycare, Byron (Olmsted County)            

Michelle is a newly-licensed child care provider and used SMIF’s Building Blocks Loans to get her home up to licensing standards and to purchase some educational toys for her pre-school curriculum. This is her first SMIF loan.


Local Foods Loan Fund

Farmhouse Market LLC, New Prague (Le Sueur County)            

When the Cedar Summit Farm grocery closed its doors in New Prague, Kendra Rasmusson and her husband realized there was an opportunity to make their small business dream become a reality. They opened Farmhouse Market with help from a SMIF loan. They used an innovative approach to meet the convenience the town said they wanted: a 24/7 fitness store model that allows the 200 members access whenever they need, while sourcing from over 15 local food vendors. 

Financing partner: Wells Fargo



GoRout LLC, Rochester (Olmsted County)     

GoRout developed a football on-field visual display device to increase communication between players and coaches. They used an equity investment from SMIF for product roll-out, and they now have over 30 football teams utilizing their technology to make their teams’ practices more efficient.

Financing partner: Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI)

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