EDA visits area businesses with business networking group

By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

The Rushford Economic Development Authority (EDA) talked about future opportunities and looked back at some of its recent accomplishments when the board met on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The Community Venture Network (CVN) was the main topic of conversation, as Justin Erickson of CVN appeared before the board to deliver a report on his conversations with various Rushford businesses.

The EDA also reviewed some of last year’s accomplishments, according to Rushford City Administrator Tony Chladek.

CVN business tour

The Community Venture Network (CVN) is a business that contracts with cities, counties, electrical co-ops, and others that have their own EDA organizations. CVN rep Erickson makes contacts with either new businesses, or businesses that need to be ramped-up, and finds funds to help them take a step forward with their business plans.

“Justin (Erickson) covers a seven-state area, where he visits with businesses looking for investment and relocation opportunities. He came to visit some of our businesses here in town,” Chladek explained.

Erickson appeared before the EDA board after having spent time visiting a handful of Rushford businesses earlier in the day. It’s a new approach for Erickson, who usually invites businesses from his seven-state area to come to one location in the Twin Cities for a conference.

“Going out to visit businesses in different locations is something new that he’s experimenting with,” Chladek added. “He’s just as eager to see that method be successful. He came out to meet our EDA and take a look at how Rushford does things. Erickson spoke with the board about our approach and the visits with area businesses. He’ll go back and take a look at his portfolio while keeping us in mind.

“We were able to spend about 45 minutes with each of the businesses we visited. We took tours of each and had great conversations. It was a good experience for him to take in some information and see if he can possibly make some things work for us.”

 EDA’s 2018  accomplishments

The EDA hadn’t met in January so Chladek said it was time to do a recap of some accomplishments in the local Economic Development Plan.

The City of Rushford and the EDA have four main goals set for in the plan, with the memo from Chladek highlights several of the sub-topics under those four goals, which are:

1. Increasing Downtown Vitality

2. Increase local workforce by 2025

3. Fill Housing Demand by 2025

4. More effectively market the community.

Accomplishments in the Downtown Vitality category include hosting the first ever music event downtown, the Root River Jams, in August of 2018. The Rushford City Engineer also hosted meetings for local residents to give input on the downtown portion of the Highway 30 reconstruction project.

Under the workforce goal are plans in place to hold a series of business transition planning courses in Rushford.

Under the Housing Development goal, EDA members met with officials from SEMCAC to begin exploring housing programs that would be most beneficial for Rushford.

Included in the Marketing the Community goal, Facebook usage continues to grow and helps market the community. The Public Access Channel Programming continues to grow as well.

Schedule

The next meeting for the EDA is on Wednesday, March 13, starting at 5:30 p.m. in Rushford City Hall.