BUFFALO LAKE, Minn. — Lifelong seamstress Rhonda Dobberstein is opening Nine Patch Quilting on Buffalo Lake’s Main Street with the help of Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program.
Dobberstein is an Emergency Medical Technician for the Buffalo Lake Ambulance Service and works part-time for McLeod County Driver and Vehicle Services. She started sewing in 1979 and sewed professionally for Hancock Fabrics in St. Cloud, as well as completing projects for family.
“I’ve taken numerous quilting classes, and it’s become my passion,” she said.
While there are several custom quilting services the area, Dobberstein noted there’s often a months-long wait to get a quilt finished because of demand. Dobberstein operates a long arm quilting machine, which holds the quilt top, batting and backing while it stitches them together.
In addition to offering quilting, Dobberstein plans to sell finished quilts and potentially host classes and quilt retreats. She used financing from SWIF for computer equipment for the quilting machine and working capital.
“We’re happy to help Rhonda take this exciting step forward and see where her experience and passion take her as a business owner,” 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 $78 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs. Learn more at swifoundation.org.
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