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County EDA wants to aid businesses

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | May 2, 2021

The Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA) spent much of their meeting on Tuesday, April 20, discussing two new ideas of ways to help businesses in the county.

One idea was to host a business marketing event, while the other was to host a countywide job fair.

Both ideas are strictly in the early planning stages, County EDA specialist Annie Nichols noted.

The marketing event for businesses would focus on use of social media to promote local businesses.

“At the beginning of COVID many businesses, especially restaurants, were posting daily,” Nichols said. “But since then it has slowed significantly.”

Nichols said she has contact with a media consultant who would speak at no charge. She could also contact other marketing companies to come to the event and share a short summary of their services.

EDA board chair John Herman suggested contacting businesses to see if there was interest in such an event. Nichols said she would create a survey.

The board members suggested ideas for locations and discussed streaming the event on social media.

The other idea of a countywide job fair was also discussed in depth.

Nichols explained that employers had been struggling to find workers prior to COVID and the pandemic only increased the issue.

“I contacted CareerForce in Fairmont and they suggested waiting until after the $300 unemployment benefit expires this fall,” Nichols said. “So the event could be held in late summer or early fall.”

Nichols added she will bring a project outline to the next meeting.

In other business at the meeting, the EDA board:

• Authorized an additional time of eight hours every other week on Nichols’ CEDA contract with the EDA for the summer.

The cost would be $25 per hour and not to exceed $2,800. The extra time would be used to organize the County EDA files from past years.

• Received a loan update that included information on a 2019 Bevcomm loan being paid in full, and a 2020 loan soon will be also; payments have also been made on a Courier Sentinel loan.

• Heard an update of the EDA priority plan, which is based on the list of items and goals that were discussed at a previous meeting.

Nichols stated the next task was for the board members to assign priority levels to the tasks, including high, medium and low. The board discussed each goal and assigned a priority level to each one.

• Nichols also presented a community information update. It included some information on the progress of trying to help with a sale of the Makotah Veterinary Clinic in Blue Earth, a gas station closing in Frost, Greenfield Global in Winnebago opening the closed ethanol plant and Nasinec Funeral Home in Wells building a new funeral home in the Wells Business Park.