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More B3 grants approved by CHEDA Board

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Five more B3 (Building Better Business) grant requests were approved this week during CHEDA’s board meeting with the first application for Heroes Rise Coffee Company using up the remaining balance in the program’s coffers before a funding boost is expected to come from the city. The remaining four requests for KROX Radio, The Holding Company - Golf Terrace Motel, Hermreck Construction and Thrivent Financial, were approved pending city funding.

    The total amount of this round’s B3 requests is $22,000 - $5K for Heroes, $4K for KROX, $5K for Golf Terrace Motel, $5K for Hermreck Construction and $3K for Thrivent Financial.

    Note: The City Council’s Ways & Means Committee recently approved a $50K boost and is set to become final at their December 28 Council meeting.

    CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth told the board that the Council would like the program advertised more to “make it more robust” and to look at targeting startup businesses without brick and mortar. After outlining other parts of the Council’s discussion, Hoiseth said he’d like to form a B3 committee with interested members of the CHEDA board, Council, himself and City Administrator Amy Finch, as well as one or two others to spend time talking about the program and its guidelines.

    “I personally believe we’ve wavered away and have to take a deeper dive, and then come back to the board to recommend what that program would look like; talk about its vitality,” he explained, adding that B3 could potentially become an annual budget item for the Council.


    Heroes Rise Coffee Company’s B3 narrative explains that they’ve “commenced operations utilizing most of the inventory remaining from the days of Cofé and Chickadee Roasters coffee” and the purpose of their request is to obtain a grant to assist with some of the startup costs, staff training, improved lighting and the purchase of additional equipment.

    Hoiseth said Heroes’ request “is a little different” because they’ve (CHEDA) sold them equipment used by the building’s previous coffee shop tenants and the equipment wasn’t in great shape.

    “To the tune of $10,000 that wasn’t usable,” Hoiseth admitted. “They had to purchase some equipment that they thought they were getting so my recommendation is to approve their request.”

    He added that owner Matt VanGrinsven is a University of Minnesota Crookston graduate, which counts as a $1,000 boost according to the program’s current guidelines.


    KROX is looking to use its B3 grant to remove and replace the existing 1980 HVAC system and install an airwave purifier which meets the program requirements for building enhancements and efficiencies. Owner Chris Fee is also a Crookston Central High graduate which qualifies for an additional $1,000 on the request.

    KROX Radio has been in business since 1948 and is on local channel 1260AM plus 105.7FM and just added 92.1FM in October 2020.


    The motel’s B3 request is to remove and replace existing windows and trim them with vinyl restoration board to improve the look of the building and its efficiency. Renovations will also include replacing toilets, faucets, tub/shower fixtures, and new paint in each of the 17 units.

    Owner John Bridgeford is a Crookston Central High graduate and a UMN Crookston graduate which qualifies him for an additional $2,000 on his request. The Golf Terrace Motel has been operating for over 50 years and Bridgeford’s original plan was to convert it into apartments, but the current customers and additional requests for stays have come in since changing plans to continue to operate as an extended stay facility.


    Hermreck Construction, owned by Colton Hermreck, plans to use their grant for renovations to enhance an existing storefront on Strander Avenue and for marketing needs. The funds would specifically be used for direct marketing (signs and stickers for the trailer), purchase of trailer for equipment and various building updates which include a blacktop driveway and insulating the workshop, said the request.

    Hermreck is a Crookston Central High graduate and Northland Community and Technical College graduate. His father-in-law is Steve Erickson, owner of Erickson Embroidery, City Council member and CHEDA board member, which is why Erickson abstained from voting on Hermreck’s request.


    Thrivent Financial - Garrett Kollin sought a B3 grant to occupy underutilized or vacant buildings, encourage new investment and strengthen landlord return on investment, plus provide new job opportunities, said his request. The proposed improvements include painting the new office space, purchasing office furniture and equipment, and signage.

    Kollin has occupied an office at Valley Technology Park for several years and recently secured an office space in downtown Crookston formerly Express Personnel.

    CHEDA Board Chair Kurt Heldstab said he’s sorry to see Kollin leave VTP, but knows the building is an incubator for businesses/organizations. Hoiseth added that Kollin will gain visibility in his new store front and will be hiring another representative and assistant.

CHEDA board members at their December 22 meeting