GRANITE FALLS, Minn. – More than five years in the making, Taste in Time soda fountain and sandwich shop opened its doors in downtown Granite Falls this month with help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program. The vintage eatery is owned by El Nido Birth and Family Ministries and managed by Debbie Eakes and Karina Eakes.
Debbie, a doula and midwife, is president of El Nido. The nonprofit works with women and their families educating them about birth, parenting and life skills. Taste in Time is a social enterprise, with its business profits benefitting the community through partnering with local service organizations, attending and contributing to community functions, increasing employment opportunities and serving young families.
“We’re a family-focused and fun-filled gathering place with great food. This business will not only provide a fun place for the community of Granite Falls but will also serve as job training for the mothers and young families we serve,” said Debbie, who first came up with the idea in 2015 with her husband, Mark, a family physician.
Taste in Time’s menu has hand-dipped ice cream items, soups, salads and sandwiches. The shop also sells penny candy and carries gluten free, sugar free and dairy free items, including baked goods from Carl’s Bakery. The space is available for birthday parties, meetings and other private events.
It took six years for El Nido to raise the funds and renovate the building at 667 Prentice Street in Granite Falls, now home to both El Nido Birth and Family Ministries and Taste in Time. Updates included adding a classic black-and-white checkered floor and a counter with red-topped swivel stools.
Loan funds from SWIF helped pay for the expense of renovating the building. The funds are part of the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program from the United States Department of Agriculture.
“While it took a lot of patience and persistence, Debbie and Mark didn’t give up on their dream of opening this business for the benefit of the community; we’re proud of being part of their success by helping them secure funding to make it happen,” said Jackie Turner, SWIF Economic Development Officer.
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 $88 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs.