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Client Success Stories

Owners of Twig Bakery, Martin Hinz and Rob Hargraves looked to the Center for Economic Development, Northeast Minnesota's Small Business Development Center (MnSBDC) for help as they considered relocation. Richard E. (Dick) Braun, Assistant Director and professional business consultant assisted with the two-year search for a new location. "It's unbelievable how much Dick and the MnSBDC have helped," Hinz said, "Dick is a vault of knowledge. He gave us information on traffic counts and demographics, and helped as we looked at sites with agents in surrounding communities." More recently, Braun helped Hinz and Hargraves refinance an equipment loan saving them $600 a month in the process. Braun also checks on their projections. Hinz and Hargraves have doubled their revenue and the restaurant side of the business has more than tripled its sales. They have grown from 28 to 52 employees in the last year.

"I don't know why other businesses wouldn't want to get on board. I wish we would have done it sooner." said Hinz, "Working with Dick forces me to sit down every month to keep me on course; he keeps me honest and true to the business."

Read more of Twig Bakery's story in the
MN Small Business Development Centers 2011 Annual Report


With just one year of working with the Northeast Minnesota SBDC , UMD Center for Economic Development, and business consultant Jennifer Pontinen, the outcome for NTS , Inc. has been transformative. “Jennifer’s assistance with our organizational changes and expansion plans really helped us as a management team to focus.”

Read more of NTS's story in the
MN Small Business Development Centers 2009 Annual Report


“My business, Precision Testing, Inc. and I have received technical consultation assistance from the Center for Economic Development from time to time over the past 6 years and hope to continue the relationship in the future. This is a wonderful program that provides great business assistance for small, limited budget companies like mine. Without their aid, I would not have known how to start and update my website and QuickBooks program, which office equipment would work best, apply and obtain approval for MNDOT Consultant Pre-Qualification, etc. They also encouraged me to bid on and get the largest job my company has ever been awarded, a $445,000 contract. Thank you CED.”
Connie Pearson, Owner/President
Precision Testing, Inc., Mt. Iron, MN

Read more of Connie's story in the
MN Small Business Development Centers 2006 Annual Report

More Comments from other Businesses about help received from UMD CED:

"In the mid 90's Fraboni's Wholesale Distributors received its first assistance from the Center for Economic Development's Hibbing office. The consultant helped us prepare our first business plan and financial projections. In 2006 we returned to the CED for assistance in development of our new expansion plan. In addition, we received an addendum full of market research done by a student which was highly professional and of great help in our pursuit to grow our company."
Mark and Wayne Thune, Owners
Fraboni's Sausage Co., Hibbing, MN

"Thank you CED for all your help! You really helped open our eyes to all we need to know. We couldn't have done it without you. The Center for Economic Development is such an amzing resource in our community. Thanks again for your time and patience."
Ben Olson and Jack Boyd, Owners
Damage Inc., Duluth, MN

“The UMD Center for Economic Development has helped Lloyd’s, Inc tremendously. With their expertise, Lloyd’s now has a completely new website. Web sales have doubled and the help we received from the UMD Center for Economic Development will create a much stronger and more productive Lloyd’s Inc. An Undergraduate Lloyd Luke, Lloyd's Inc.Research Assistant, produced cashflow and sales projection reports that I used to reflect sales increase projections to a potential financial support organization. It’s comforting to know that caliber of expertise and professionalism is available and so easily accessible.”
Lloyd Luke, President
Lloyd's Inc., Duluth, MN

"Small businesses now have a secret weapon to help them compete on the Internet, the Center for Economic Development. The Center does a fantastic job of serving small businesses. They have a direct impact on local economies by helping small businesses compete in the global marketplace."
Lee Kerfoot, Owner
Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais, MN

“The help, advice and technical support I have received from the Center for Economic Development has allowed me to open two new businesses in three years. They have helped me enhance my existing business websites. I have started numerous small businesses with little or no money available. One of my clothing lines will soon go national because of the help I have received from the Center for Economic Development.”
Sarah Hamilton, Owner
Trail Center Lodge LLC, Grand Marais, MN
My Sisters Place LLC, Gunflint Candy Co., Gunflint Clothing Co, Dorkclothing.com, e-doggiestyle.com

“Thanks to the UMD Center for Economic Development, Wayside Corner opened it’s doors. We feel it is important for entrepreneurs to research every possible aspect of their business operation and the UMD Center for Economic Development helped us fill in the blanks. Their assistance with business plan development, including detailed financial projections, prepared us to seek and obtain the financing we needed. We were told by several financial institutions that it was the best presentation they had seen. Thank you CED!”
John Engen and Steve Watkins, Owners
Wayside Corner, Culver, MN

MN Small Business Development Centers 2012 Annual Report

MN Small Business Development Centers 2011 Annual Report

Previous reports (2003-2010)