Resources available to area businesses

by April Scheinoha

Take heed business owners and future business owners. Resources are available. That was the message at the Thief River Falls City Council meeting Tuesday, July 2.

Christine Anderson, former Pennington County economic development director, returned to Thief River Falls to provide information about the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center. Anderson is employed as a small business specialist and consultant based out of the center’s satellite office in Crookston.

Over the past year, Anderson has worked with up to 13 retail and service businesses in Thief River Falls and St. Hilaire. She provides free consultations and assists people ranging from the future business owner to the soon-to-be retired business owner who needs to create a succession plan. Anderson provides help with such things as business plans and storefront renovation loans.

For more information, go to or call Christine Anderson at 218-281-8318.

The Northwest Minnesota SBDC, Northwest Minnesota Foundation and the University of Minnesota Crookston recently collaborated to write a request for proposals to keep the Northwest Minnesota SBDC here. Currently, it is under the advisement of the University of Minnesota Duluth, according to Michelle Christopherson, director of outreach and engagement at UMC. Christopherson said they should learn more in a couple of months.

The Northwest Minnesota SBDC, Christopherson’s office and the UMC Economic Development Administration Center want to expand their services.

They are creating internships for local students to learn about careers and thereby potentially staying in the area after graduation. Christopherson noted that students could learn about financial analysis, social media and/or marketing. The internships could be paid or unpaid. Besides UMC, the groups are working with Northland Community and Technical College in both Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks.

If a business weren’t able to provide an internship, Christopherson suggested that the business could assist a student in another way. She noted that the owner or a staff member could meet with the student for lunch or coffee to provide a business perspective.
For more information, go to

Mayor Brian Holmer thanked the Minnesota Timberwolves and U.S. Bank for refurbishing the Bill LaFave Park basketball court. The city was the North Division winner of the Timberwolves’ “Our Courts. Our Future” court refurbishment program presented by U.S. Bank. The court was then refurbished at no cost to the city.

During the unveiling ceremony, Holmer accepted a plaque on behalf of the city for the court. At their meeting, council members noted that better park signage is needed. They also referred to the need for fencing to prevent snowmobilers from driving over the court in the winter.

Thief River Falls defeated Grand Rapids and Erskine in online voting to have its basketball court refurbished. Bill LaFave Park is also home to the city’s beach. It is located near the intersection of Crocker Avenue and Taft Street.

Other winners included Central Division – Lindbergh Elementary in Little Falls; South Division – Independence Park in Marshall; and Twin Cities – Madsen Park in Fridley.

The council accepted the lowest qualified bids for chemicals for the Water Treatment Plant effective from July 1, 2019, through June 30. 2020. The total estimated cost was $334,632.

The next council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.


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