If you’re searching for positive stories among all the recent talk of economic struggles and budget deficits, look no further than Spring Valley, Minn.
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer and other officials recently visited the community of 2,500 in southeastern Minnesota to celebrate the expansion of AMD Distribution, a local business that specializes in insulation distribution.
“This is about more than just us,” said AMD’s Rollin Reber. “We hope this is just a seed for getting other businesses in the area too.”
USDA awarded the city of Spring Valley a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to provide technical assistance to local businesses. The city contracts with Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), a private nonprofit community and economic development agency, to provide assistance with projects, strategic planning and other economic development issues.
CEDA helped the city identify Valley Home Improvement as a technical assistance provider. Using a portion of the RBEG funds, Valley Home Improvement helped AMD Distribution with blueprint and engineering plans for an 11,000 square-foot expansion of its existing facility.
Additional blueprints and plans were required because, to ensure a better community, Spring Valley follows state building codes. This can lead to additional costs for business startups or expansions. The RBEG helped offset those additional costs and keep AMD Distribution in Spring Valley.
“This project is all about winning the future,” Landkamer said. “The community came together and asked ‘how can we work regionally? How can we work locally? How can we make jobs in the area?’ This is a great investment for the future.”
The RBEG is expected to help AMD Distribution create three new jobs and retain eight. The company might add more jobs during its “busy season” in a couple of months.
Creating jobs is especially important in today’s economy – especially in rural areas – but growing the overall business climate and realizing that local business leaders are the most likely to expand is also key. AMD ships to about 22 states throughout the Midwest and uses mostly local carriers within 20 miles of Spring Valley. Everyone that worked on the expansion project also was local.
All of this local business activity may not have happened without the RBEG.
“This project isn’t about just this business,” Spring Valley mayor Jim Struzyk said. “It goes out more and more to other area businesses and helps improve the area economy as a whole.”
The Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development also played a key role in making this project happen.
“There was a lot of parts in this that helped,” said Dave Phillips, Spring Valley Economic Development Association president. “Everyone was local organizations to community members were involved.”
All of those parts working together resulted in a positive development for everyone involved, and the city is looking to do more. There are still funds from the RBEG remaining and Cathy Enerson, EDA Director, is looking forward to assisting another business start-up or expand.
To find out more about how USDA Rural Development can provide assistance to your rural business click here.