MEDC Helps Local Businesses With Loans

AREA News, News - 04.18.16

Jeremy Bain first experienced McCook when he was part of a welding crew that came to town for a job.

The Colorado native was impressed with the town, its recreational opportunities and the people.

“I just really liked the area,” he said. “Everybody waves. I thought I had a headlight out for three weeks.”

When he was offered a job in the area, he gladly accepted.

In 2010, Bain decided to start his own welding business with just him, his welding talents and a truck. His business quickly grew, and he needed to expand.

As a new business owner who knew his craft but not so much about operating a business, he turned to the McCook Economic Development Corporation, whose staff provided him with business advice and eventually the tools to expand JLB Welding.

When eye doctors Dirk Gray and Robert Stamm wanted to construct a new eye clinic building and bring new technology to treat McCook area patients, they also turned to the McCook MEDC.

And, so did the investors of Willow Creek Meats.

With the help of the community development block grants and local LB840 sales tax funds, the MEDC has been able to provide gap-financing loans and other tools to help these and businesses with succession plans, new business start-ups and expansions during the past decade.

McCook voters will decide on May 10 whether to continue allocating a portion of the city’s sales tax funds to similar projects to continue economic development in the area.

In 2012, Bain needed to expand his welding business and hire employees to keep up with the growing demand for his products and services.

“We were a young growing business, and we didn’t have the cash on hand to throw at the project,” Bain said.

But, a low-interest gap-financing loan made both the land purchase the construction of new building possible.

“They were able to help fill that gap for me,” Bain said of the MEDC’s loan help. “Without it, we wouldn’t have built, which in turn means we wouldn’t have as many employees as we have.”

Besides himself, he currently employs three other welders and an office manager.

In addition to the loan help, Bain also turned to the MEDC for advice.

“They helped me way more than just building the shop,” Bain said, as he also received valuable advice from MEDC staff on how to run a business.

Dr. Dirk Gray said that when he and Dr. Stamm decided to construct the new Lifetime Eye Care clinic nearly a decade ago, the MEDC provided crucial funding to help purchase new equipment featuring the latest technology in eye care.

“MEDC was very helpful in the sense of getting a loan to update our equipment and basically help us reach our goal of providing the level of eye care that we wanted to provide,” he said.

Lifetime Eye Care now serves patients from across southwest Nebraska and beyond and provides jobs for 10 employees.

Cal Siegfried, an investor in Willow Creek Meats, said a gap-financing loan helped he and Scott Carlin and Leigh Hoyt purchase and expand the custom slaughter operation, previously under the name Butler’s Beef Acres.

In addition to the slaughter operation, the business now includes sales of high-end beef, chicken and pork to area customers.

“The loan facilitated the purchase of the business,” Siegfried said. “It allowed the business to transition to new ownership.”

For more information about MEDC loans and programs or the upcoming vote, please visit the MEDC web site at www.mccookne.org or call the MEDC at (308) 345-1200. The mission of the MEDC is to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction and expansion of businesses in McCook and the surrounding area.