The United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary, Lisa Mensah, along with various other public and company officials, gathered at the site of Avantech’s future facility in Baxter, MN, to announce $1 million in federal loans the company will receive for their expansion efforts.
According to the Brainerd Dispatch, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Crosby, and local mayors Darrel Olson of Baxter and Ed Menk of Brainerd also attended the event. The announcement was held as construction took place in the background at the site of the future 48,200-square-foot building.
Avantech is a manufacturer in the rotational molding industry. Rotomolding is a unique four-stage process that utilizes heat and resin in a closed mold to create a variety of plastic products. The new facility, which is expected to be completed at the end of May, will contain the company’s engineering and administrative services, in addition to some manufacturing processes.
The $1 million loan, which is subsidized at no interest, will cover about 25% of the project’s costs, according to co-owner Tom Haglin.
“It’s a huge deal for us,” he said. “The less interest we pay, it allows us to get into more equipment, expansion of jobs.”
The loan funding comes from the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. As a federal program, the loans are considered highly competitive and sought after by businesses across the country.
“There’s always more worthy projects than there is money to go around,” said Rep. Nolan, who has seen $430 million in federal funding awarded to businesses in his congressional district. “I can be pretty shameless in pressing for projects in my district, because it’s my district, and because I’m trying to even the score.”
While the new building won’t create a great deal of new jobs — 12 according to the USDA — it will help them retain 82 others that could have been in question.