Red Wing’s Entrepreneur Loan Puts Money in the Hands of Exciting Business Owners

Red Wing’s Entrepreneur Loan Puts Money in the Hands of Exciting Business Owners Main Photo

19 Feb 2024

Minnesota’s Red Wing Port Authority is loaning money to entrepreneurs who identify as BIPOC, veterans, or women who have plans to start a business or have recently started one. Through the Advancing Entrepreneurs Loan Program, several Red Wing business owners have received loans up to $20,000 to help further their enterprises and indirectly elevate the community. 

The program aims to intentionally connect entrepreneurs with the right resources at the right time based on their application content, business structure, and immediate needs. Financial assistance is only one aspect of the program. Entrepreneurs who apply and are accepted for the loan work with a business coach to understand the necessities of small business operations, such as developing a business plan, navigating community resources and more. Participants receive the loans at a 3% interest rate, at a maximum term of six years amortized over ten years. The loan balance is forgiven if the original business is operational after six years.

Dr. LaTiya Stone Starts a Business While Supporting Other Entrepreneurs

Celeste Beauty Max, a local business created by Dr. LaTiya Stone, exists to fill the lack of African-American beauty and hair products in Red Wing. The local African-American community in Red Wing routinely could not find the hair products they needed, even in big box stores. Hairstyling and braiding services were nearly non-existent, with women driving for hours to find a city with an experienced braider.

Dr. Stone spent more than three years laying the foundation for Celeste Beauty Max before Councilwoman Becky Norton encouraged her to apply for the loan. With the help of Shari Chorney, Red Wing Port Authority’s Manager, Dr. Stone secured the loan that allowed her to purchase inventory for the store, which opened in August of 2023.

In addition to providing much-needed hair products for the community, Dr. Stone has chosen to use her entrepreneurial gifts to empower others, providing a dedicated space in her store for local braiders to offer styling services. By renting out a chair in her store, African-American hairstylists can capitalize on their talents while exploring what it means to run their businesses.

Kylie Balaun Expands ABA Therapy Access

When Kylie Balaun, M.S., BCBA, was brainstorming ways to expand her applied behavioral analysis center, the Red Wing Port Authority reached out to her immediately. Kylie’s clinic, River City Therapy Center, needed significant updates, but she didn’t have the budget to make many renovations. After presenting two equally impressive ideas to the Port Authority, she was granted $20,000 to start renovating.

To save money and help the local community, Kylie chose to forgo the traditional route of hiring an external corporation to complete the renovations. Instead, she hired a recently retired local looking for extra work. Together, they built a new employee lounge, conference room, game room, and playroom – and the loan hasn’t been used up yet. Soon, they’ll be renovating their offices and building a brand-new bathroom. For the 18 staff members and 11 children they serve, these changes will create a bigger, more beautiful space where they can thrive.

Cara Sadler Serves the Best of Red Wing

Cara Sadler grew up in Red Wing but moved to Austin, TX, at the age of 19. After 20 years of business ownership there, she has returned to start Gather & Graze Kitchen.

“I love to cook and wanted to find a small town to move to and start a business with healthy food. Nowhere sparked my interest like Red Wing with its wonderful sense of community and support for local small businesses,” she said. “I have been to many places and am happy to re-discover a town with a bustling downtown life of storefronts and will be a proud small business owner of Red Wing.”

In preparation for her business, Sadler conducted market research on Red Wing’s dining habits and learned people wanted fresh, healthy food in a comfortable space. That is precisely what they will find at Gather & Graze, located in the back of the local health food store, Simple Abundance. Sadler is utilizing the loan funding to upgrade the commercial kitchen to create quality, flavorful food with local organic fresh ingredients from area farmers. Her focus so far has been on Grab-n-Go meals, fresh juices made in-house, and small catering gigs.
“I want to start small, see what sells well and keep my mind open to whatever comes organically from the customers and the community,” she said. “I know the support is there; seeing people excited about a simple quinoa salad is wild!”

Advancing Representation in Red Wing

Women, veterans, and BIPOC people in Minnesota are creating groundbreaking ideas that deserve investment. Through Red Wing’s Advancing Entrepreneurs Loan Program, these community members can get the representation they deserve and give back to the Red Wing community. Contact us today to see how we can help you, too!

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