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Interest rising in starting new businesses in Cass County

BACKUS – Cass County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) has seen an increase since the first of this year in people interested in starting new businesses, Director Gail Leverson reported to Cass County Board April 17.

She reported 110 requests for assistance received in March. She helped some to obtain a federal tax identification number, provided information about various business structures and helped one set up a limited liability corporation business.

Four prospective businesses obtained help with site selection in March. One obtained help for a new purchase. Three businesses got help to expand. Leverson provided demographic data to two new business prospects and helped another business obtain a grant.

Leverson said she has been encouraged to see people starting businesses during the economic downturn, so they can remain in their home community. This also has helped other local people find a job near their home.

Craig Anderson was favorably enough impressed with the help CCEDC provided to help him start his business in 2006 that he went back to the EDC this year to help him expand his services.

Anderson manufactures building trusses in Pine River at Trussworthy Components. His expansion plan included purchasing two delivery trucks and three trailers, which will result in his hiring one additional full time and one part time additional employee.

It also saved him money over the cost of hiring transportation services for his finished products.

Jason Trout of JT Industries in Pine River is another businessman who has used CCEDC services to start and to expand his business. He started his high precision machine shop in January 2011.

In November, he returned to CCEDC to obtain a $15,000 loan from the CCEDC revolving loan fund to purchase a CNC lathe machine and the Optical Comparator Inspection machine for his business expansion. He has employed two people.

The new equipment enables him to add one full time and one part time employee.

Travis and Jennifer Kelley of Backus developed a tool in 2010 to simplify, increase speed and ensure accuracy for installing doors on residential and commercial buildings. CCEDC helped them develop their business plan and obtain financing in 2011 to now begin having a manufacturer make the mold to produce it. They are starting to market their Cheatah tool at local lumber yards.

Nate Sauvageau met with Leverson 23 times to develop his business plan and create a financing package before he began building his new Pine River Laundromat this year. He expects to open by June west of Highway 371.

Besides helping businesses, the EDC has obtained a housing rehabilitation grant to help people living inside the cities of Hackensack and Walker to obtain financial help to replace their roof, windows, furnace or other essential part of their owner-occupied homes.

The EDC also coordinates with Central Lakes College to offer college classes to adults at the Pine River School, as well as computer classes.

For more information about any of these services, contact Leverson at (218) 947-7522 or by email at CCEDC is a nonprofit corporation supported by memberships and donations.