Coupled with SCDP grant, Erickson says improved, additional signage will be most apparent improvements

    Steve Erickson says a one-year continuation of a loan through CHEDA’s revolving loan fund, when coupled with a grant through the Small Cities Development Program (SCDP), will result in more “spiffing up” of the exterior of his Erickson Embroidery and 2nd St. Boutique businesses on West Second Street, and will help maintain the increased apparel inventory purchased as part of a previous expansion.

    The CHEDA Board of Directors unanimously approved the loan extension Thursday for E & C Realty, owned by Laurie Erickson (Steve Erickson’s spouse), and Chris Cournia. Steve Erickson, Crookston City Council member from Ward 2, sits on the CHEDA Board and abstained from voting.

    According to CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth, the original $10,000 loan with 5 percent interest is due to be paid off on Oct. 1. He said E & C Realty is prepared to do so, but asked that they be able to utilize the funds for another year, on the condition that they pay off the $500 in interest now. The original loan, Hoiseth explained, was necessary to secure greater lines of inventory and also to be able to maintain a larger operating loan availability from E & C Realty’s primary lender.

    The awarding of the SCDP grant, Hoiseth explained in a CHEDA Board meeting memo, “would complement the facilities improvements to be made in conjunction with the grant, while maintaining the largest operating loan balance possible, which is crucial for juggling the inventory and accounts receivable.”

    Hoiseth labels the action taken by his board Thursday a “reboot” of the initial loan. If the CHEDA Board instead wanted the loan paid off by Oct. 1 and then considered a second loan request from E & C Realty, the professional and administrative fees that would accompany the transaction would likely be equal to or possibly greater than the $500 in interest that E & C Realty will be paying off.

    Steve Erickson said the changes to the exterior of the business will be apparent. “With the grant, we’re putting $40,000 into the building,” he said, which will include better signage and awnings on the front that faces Second Street. In addition, he’ll be adding a sign on the west side of the building that faces South Main. “That will be huge for us to have a sign on that side,” he said, adding that the west-side sign alone will cost around $10,000.