LAKE BENTON, Minn.— The lake views are beautiful and the fish are biting at the newly remodeled Benck’s Lakeview Lodge in Lake Benton. New owners Tami and Chad Benck reopened the roadside motel with help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program.
Formerly the Highway 75 Motel, the lodge is located just across the road from Lake Benton. It had been closed for about a decade when Tami and Chad discovered it in their search for a resort or hotel to purchase. With the help of family, Bencks updated the space and got its nine units ready for rent. The doors opened to guests in July.
Home to the Lake Benton Opera House regional performing arts center, the surrounding area is known for its arts and culture scene, drawing visitors from all over the United States. Another nearby attraction is Hole in the Mountain County Park, 800 acres of woodland and prairie dotted with historical sites along five miles of trails. Benck’s Lakeview Lodge boasts a beautiful view of the lake with easy public access, and it’s within walking distance of town. Find the lodge on Facebook.
By adding affordable lodging, Tami and Chad want to increase the amount of time visitors are in town, and provide housing for workers completing area construction and energy project scheduled over the next two years. Drawing on a background in hospitality and customer service, Tami will run the motel with the help of the Bencks’ children. Chad — who has experience in building, remodeling and maintenance — will cover maintenance and grounds keeping while working an additional full-time job.
Financing from SWIF helped the Bencks make building improvements at the motel.
“SWIF is happy to assist Tami and Chad with this exciting opportunity, fulfilling a long-held dream of theirs while strengthening the tourism economy in the area,” said SWIF Program 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 by providing market-rate loans.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff — who all have personal business experience — to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and reading financials, 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].
The Southwest Initiative Foundation is a single connection offering unlimited possibilities to grow and promote kids, families, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities in rural southwest Minnesota. As a regional community foundation, SWIF has contributed more than $75 million through its grant and loan programs. Through its business finance programs, SWIF has helped start or expand more than 700 businesses, which have created or retained more than 8,600 jobs. SWIF also established 26 community affiliates and more than 100 school, donor-advised and other funds, as well as 16 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions to support young children. SWIF has received 1,650 acres of farmland through our Keep It Growing℠ farmland giving program. The Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.
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