ST. PETER, Minn., May 23, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the St. Peter Food Co-op today to officially sign closing documents on a $1.28 million loan guarantee through Wells Federal Bank that helped finance the purchase and renovation of a building off Mulberry St. to serve as the co-op’s new location.
The new store, which opened on April 14, is twice as large as the previous location, has expanded hours, additional parking, larger indoor and outdoor seating areas, a staffed wellness desk and a broader selection fresh local foods and products.
“This project meets President Obama’s goals for rural communities in several areas,” Landkamer said. “It increases access to quality locally grown foods, it saves and creates jobs and it increases the flow of private capital in rural areas. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project and the city of St. Peter.”
Through its Business & Industry loan guarantee program, Rural Development guarantees loans from private lending institutions to rural businesses. The program plays a key role in creating local jobs and increasing access to private capital in rural communities.
Since 2009, Rural Development has guaranteed over $60 million in loans from private lending institutions to rural businesses. Wells Federal Bank in Wells, Minn. is the lender on the St. Peter Food Co-op project.
“The St Peter Food Co-op relocation and expansion was an exciting project and Wells Federal Bank was pleased to have been a part of it,” said Matt Zebro, vice president of Wells Federal Bank. “The Co-op and its members did a tremendous job in their own capital drive and fundraising efforts. Their efforts, together with bank financing, guaranteed by the USDA and financing from both the City of St Peter and Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, demonstrated a great example of federal, local and private dollars, coming together in the name of business growth and the strengthening of our local economy.”
For over 31 years, the member-owned St. Peter Food Co-op has offered personalized customer service and natural, organic, Fair Trade and locally produced food and wellness products. The new facility also features a larger deli, the largest and freshest salad bar in town, a classroom area, and hot sandwich and burrito bars.
“We feel the USDA loan guarantee gave Wells Federal confidence in our expansion project in a time when banks were forced to be extremely conservative in their lending,” said co-op General Manager Margo O’Brien. “The entire project was an exercise in creating partnerships and the USDA loan guarantee was definitely a cornerstone.”
To learn more about USDA Rural Development, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or call the local office in Cambridge at (763) 689-3354, ext. 4, or Faribault at (507) 332-7418. To learn more about the St. Peter Food co-op, visit www.stpeterfood.coop.