LAKE BENTON, Minn. — Bill and Kelly Bolt are the new owners of the grocery store in Lake Benton that’s been serving the community for more than 45 years. Financing from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program, First Security Bank and Lake Benton Economic Development Authority helped Bolts purchase the business, which they’ve named Bolt’s Lake Benton Grocery Store. The full-service store on main street includes a bakery, floral, produce, meat, and deli.
The grocery store has been locally owned and operated by three different families in its history and has a loyal base of customers despite the growth in big box stores and online sales. In 2018, the store joined the Super Valu chain, offering the advantage of bulk pricing and business services.
“Our goal is to be competitive while maintaining a family-friendly, customer service-based business,” Kelly Bolt said. “Lake Benton is a summer destination and we plan to market to the local campgrounds and grab the seasonal customers who come to Lake Benton.”
Kelly is the chief operations officer for Bolt’s Lake Benton Grocery Store. She has 15 years of retail experience including working at Walmart, Hy-Vee and Brad’s Market in nearby Minneota. Bill currently serves as Chief of Police for Minneota full time, while also helping at the grocery store. The Bolts’ daughter Cora is also helping with the business while juggling a full-time PSEO course load at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Bill and Kelly also have a son, Hunter, who is currently in the U.S. Air Force in Arizona.
Loan funds helped Bill and Kelly purchase the commercial real estate, equipment and inventory of the business.
“We’re excited to support Bill and Kelly as new business owners and thrilled to see this local business keep serving the community of Lake Benton,” said SWIF Economic Development Officer Jackie Turner.
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and financials analysis, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or [email protected].
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $82 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs..