Kenneth Dodge of Falls Optical Inc. is SBA’s Minnesota Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year
In recognition of National Small Business Week, SBA’s Minnesota District will recognize its 2023 state winners at local events in the weeks ahead.
LITTLE FALLS — A Little Falls business owner and veteran was recognized by the Small Business Administration.
“Veterans give so much to our country both during their active-duty, reserve, and National Guard times and, in the case of veteran small business owner like Dr. Kenneth Dodge, in their civilian endeavors as well,” stated Brian McDonald, SBA’s Minnesota District director, in a news release. “This award recognizes Veteran’s achievement in the business world is just one small way we make sure they know our country’s gratitude for their sacrifices. Dr. Dodge and his team have demonstrated they are not afraid of hard work and the dedication it takes to become successful.”
Dodge was born and raised in Cold Spring and received his education from Pacific University College of Optometry. Dodge and his wife Heike founded Falls Optical Inc., in 2011 in Little Falls. Through the success of opening Falls Optical, in 2012 Dodge opened his second location, Pierz Eyecare in Pierz.
Both Falls Optical Inc. and Pierz Eyecare offer eye exams, corrective eyewear, and treatment of ocular disease to ensure quality eye care and affordable eyewear to their patients.
Dodge currently serves as a major in the 133rd Medical Group of the Minnesota Air National Guard.
“It is through his continued service, he exhibits excellent leadership and commitment to his community,” the SBA stated.
Dodge received assistance from Julie Anderholm, a consultant with the Small Business Development Center in Brainerd. Through this assistance, Dodge was able to use the SBA 504 Loan Program through MBFC in St. Cloud, partnered with Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Pierz to purchase land and construct a new commercial building to house the operations of Falls Optical. Community Development of Morrison County also provided an important gap loan as part of the borrower contribution to the project.
National Small Business Week is April 30-May 6. Registration for the 2023 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit is now open. The two-day online event will take place from May 2-3. Attendance is free of charge, but registration is required. To register, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw .
In addition, National Small Business Week recognitions and educational sessions will occur throughout each of the SBA’s 10 regions and 68 district offices. Here in Minnesota, the SBA will be honoring local Small Business Week winners at an invitation only event for the winners, resource partners and guests.
For more information, go to www.sba.gov/updates and choose the Minnesota Newsletter.
About the SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/mn .