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Business Finance Program News

$153,000 in financing to three organizations in region

The Northland Foundation's Business Finance Program has recently closed $153,000 in business loans. These investments will assist the following two for-profit businesses and one nonprofit organization located in northeastern Minnesota to start up or expand, as well as contribute to job growth.

To learn more about the Business Finance Program and the tools available, please email Michael Colclough or Alex Bastien, or call the Northland Foundation at (218) 723-4040.


Entrepreneurs bring change and new ventures to Duluth's trending Lincoln Park District

“It's inspiring to see an older area that struggled with blight gain some new momentum resulting in more jobs and an economic boost that benefits the whole city.” —Michael Colclough, Business Finance DirectorIt used to be called the West End, one of Duluth's storied neighborhoods stretching roughly from Garfield Avenue to Wheeler Field. In the late 1990s, the local business group launched a rebranding, choosing the name Lincoln Park after the lush greenspace and creek at the heart of the neighborhood. Today, Lincoln Park is undergoing another revival. Start-ups join long established businesses in an up-and-coming part of town. The Northland Foundation has provided financing for a host of projects.

2008: Duluth Heritage Center

A good case can be made that the massive undertaking on the former Clyde Iron industrial site paved the way for revitalization in Lincoln Park. Duluth entrepreneur Alex Giuliani had a bold vision for the shuttered 100-year-old factory and brownfield on West Michigan Street. Other leaders and youth advocates collaborated with Guiliani to create a unique multi-use complex. In 2008, the Northland Foundation lent $500,000 toward the project. The original 36,000 square foot building with additions now house the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center, the Lincoln Park branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland, and Clyde Iron Works Restaurant, Bar and Event Center.

2011: Frost River Trading Company

In 2011, Christian Benson bought out a struggling local soft goods manufacturer. Northland Foundation played a key role in Benson financing the purchase of a commercial building (the former Minnesota Surplus store) at 1901 West Superior Street. Two later loans assisted Chris with improvements and online sales. Frost River Trading is not just a successful business but has also served as a prime example of Lincoln Park's development potential.

2014-2017: ALTA Land Survey and OMC Smokehouse

Nearby on South 21st Avenue West is ALTA Land Survey Company. In 2014 Dave Evanson, then an ALTA employee, secured a Northland Foundation loan to help him purchase the business. In 2017, ALTA became a two-time loan client.

Tom and Jaima Hanson, owners of the Duluth Grill, opened a new restaurant business in early 2017, across the street from Frost River, with Northland a participant in the financing. The couple refurbished and added onto a tired building to create the popular OMC Smokehouse restaurant.

2018: Autobahn Service and Repair, Duluth Cider, and Ursa Minor Brewing

At 2204 West Michigan Street, owner Mike Centa turned to the Northland Foundation, along with his bank, to purchase the building he had been renting. Autobahn Service and Repair specializes in German automobiles.

A couple blocks west on Superior Street are two of the latest entrants into the craft brewing trend. Valerie and Jacob Scott's Duluth Cider taproom in the 2300 block - once the post office stables - debuted in late 2018. It is the city's first cidery.

In the 2400 block, Ursa Minor Brewing, owned by Ben and Mark Hugus, is crafting a selection of beers on the premises and serving them up with housemade pizza. A loan from the Northland Foundation helped finance Ursa's equipment.

New faces and places of business, large and small, are sparking fresh energy in one Duluth neighborhood. The Northland Foundation has been pleased to support redevelopment in Lincoln Park. What's next? We can't wait to find out.