Local entrepreneurs benefit from Southwest Initiative Foundation loan program
Roxanne Landers and Christopher Daniels have started a new brewpub in an abandoned Grove City gas station with help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program. Minnesota Beer Company opened to the public in May and is located at at 510 West Atlantic Avenue.
Husband-and-wife business partners Landers and Daniels are avid beer fans and beer tourists. Daniels is the brew master for Minnesota Beer Company, distilling 30 years of experience brewing. Landers will manage the financials for the brewpub.
Landers and Daniels live nearby in Litchfield but decided to open their business in Grove City to take advantage of an abandoned convenience store on US Highway 12.
“The building is uniquely suited to becoming a brewery. It is one story with a large open floor plan and a high ceiling, plus a walk-in cooler that is perfect,” Landers said.
Minnesota Beer Company has indoor and outdoor stages for live entertainment and a large, grassy child and pet friendly section in a fenced-in outdoor seating area.
Inside, a self-serve tap wall allows customers to pour their own drinks using pre-programmed cards that charge by the ounce. In addition to beer, drinks include pop, wine and cider made by other Minnesota craft beverage companies. There are also hot and cold food menu items, snacks and the option to get takeout from local restaurants.
For its entrepreneurial owners, Minnesota Beer Company is about making beer fun again in a family friendly atmosphere.
“Too many breweries try to be wineries — too stuffy, too pompous, too full of themselves,” Daniels said. “Beer should be about sharing laughs and telling stories, not worrying about what region the hops came from in your West Coast IPA. Your concern should be that the beer tastes good while you sit in the sun enjoying conversation or throwing bean bags.”
Loan funds from SWIF provided working capital and helped Landers and Daniels pay for real estate improvements and purchase machinery and equipment. 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.
“Small towns in our region really benefit from entrepreneurs like Chris and Roxanne who not only add amenities but also reimagine spaces that have fallen out of use. We’re proud to support them and be part of this project.”SWIF Economic Development Officer Jackie Turner
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 send us an email.