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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • CHEDA: Another loan for Cofé approved

  • Bjorgo says new parking lot, drive-through and added space inside are coming
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  •     Already with a $20,000 CHEDA loan for her coffee shop/bistro, Cofé, and a $60,000 CHEDA loan for her other business, Cycle of Threads, a high-end consignment shop, Dawn Bjorgo on Thursday asked the CHEDA Board of Directors for a third loan, for Cofé, for $40,000, so she can complete her expansion projects that include a new parking lot in the rear of the University Avenue business, a drive-through window, and expanded seating inside for up to 24 more people.   
        "We turn away people every day at lunch because we don't have the room," said Jessica Shockman, Cofé manager and Bjorgo's daughter.   
        The CHEDA board unanimously approved Bjorgo's request.    
        Since the business is still so new, CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth said Bjorgo's financial documentation in requesting the third loan was a bit light compared to a traditional application, and that her request was rooted mostly in cash flow and her ability to pay. He said the third loan will add $740 to her monthly payments, and said some rough calculations indicate that Cofé would have to sell about six more cups of coffee per day than it does now to cover that additional payment amount.   
        "I would think, with the additional parking, drive-through and expanded capacity inside, you'd be able to sell a few more cups of coffee per day," Hoiseth said, adding that Bjorgo's current loans have been "serviced without flaw, with no missed or late payments."   
        Bjorgo is in the process of renovating the space immediately to the south of Cofé as part of the relocation of Cycle of Threads from the retail center further to the north along University Avenue that's anchored by Rejuv Salon & Spa. Bjorgo is still responsible for lease payments at the retail center space, and told the CHEDA board Thursday that she thought she had a tenant lined up, but that the other tenants in the center raised red flags over what they viewed as a conflict of interest.   
        So, instead of "fighting that fight," Bjorgo said the space in the retail center will continue on as a sort of limited, satellite location for Cycle of Threads that will only sell used furniture on consignment. She said she's confident that she'll be able to sell enough used furniture each month to cover the rent payment, but if that turns out to not be the case, "I may have to fight the fight," she said.   
        Bjorgo said the used furniture location will be open limited hours, mostly on the weekends, with minimal staffing.   
    Page 2 of 2 -     The pavement is currently curing on the back parking lot with 14 to 16 more slots, Bjorgo said, and those parking in the rear will have access to a rear entrance  directly into Cofé. The drive-through, too, is almost finished. As for the additional space inside, she said it will be semi-private, if need be, for those who have requested a space for meetings or private gatherings.   
        Shockman said Cofé is also offering delivery from 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays as part of an effort to show the business offers evening meals, too, not just coffee, breakfast items and lunch. Bjorgo added that she has purchased the wine and craft beer license, too, but has been holding off on actually implementing the service until all the renovations and expansion work are finished. "Because I don't want to start it and then have it fail," she said. "I want it to be successful, and I think it can be once we have sufficient seating and parking."   
        Shockman said their hope is that the projects are finished by Ox Cart Days in mid-August.

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