Annual Report To WREDC Memebrs

Dear WREDC supporter:                                                                                            November 30 th , 2017


I want to share with you some of the things we have been working on and ask for your continued support of WREDC efforts in 2018.


WREDC provided almost $1.1 million dollars in total revolving loan funds to 22 businesses saving them over $71,000 in interest cost since 2012. Total jobs created as a direct result of WREDC loan program alone is 72. The majority of WREDC loans or fifteen (15) were in Worthington, five (5) in Adrian, one in Round Lake, and one in Lismore. Currently, the total number of active loans is nine (9) assisting small businesses throughout Nobles County with a portfolio balance of $745,000. Gap financing balance available for lending is $225,000 locally with access to $50,000 more from WREDC's State of Minnesota program for Emerging Entrepreneurs. In addition, WREDC has a micro loan program designed to assist with store front and signage improvements.


WREDC has been a leader in advocating for public and private support for housing developments and amenities in Nobles county. The Nobles Home Initiative (NHI) tax abatement program has proved to be an effective tool in boosting number of housing starts from around 4/year to almost 16/year county wide. Total number of applications received was 64 with 61 new housing units built since summer 2014. The program was recently renewed for an additional five years. The WREDC's Housing Challenge Fund supported by $110,000 gift from JBS and First State Bank Southwest was another tool used to assist South Lake Development to start construction on 24 housing units near Prairie Elementary School.


WREDC's total operating budget for 2017 is $235,620, or a cumulative of about $60,000 in savings over the last three years. WREDC Board consists of volunteers and community leaders who over the history of the organization have shown tremendous altruism and care for the community at large and for business growth in particular. WREDC is a consortium of willing partners who have early on (see attached Oct. 1992 history of WREDC from Ross Rickers archives) recognized the fact that if local leaders do not roll up their sleeves that no one else will. That realization almost (60 years ago) formed the start of WREDC. That same realization continues to guide our policies today which embodies the simple fact that economic growth is local and real-world solutions are also local.


We are looking forward to unavailing WREDC's economic development plan at the February 15th 2018 annual membership meeting. In 2018 WREDC will host the 14th annual Worthington Bio Conference - April 5th and 6th This event has proven to be useful in highlighting one of the region's core economic competencies in animal health and ag bio sectors. We are also pursuing the establishment of a regional venture network, and a private investment group that is Southwest Minnesota based and Worthington focused to help us fill gaps within retail, service and entertainment sectors.


In 2018 we will begin to see the fruits of our collective labor on the old mall site redevelopment, the theater, and other businesses that have been in the works for some time. We are grateful for your support and seek your continued engagement in 2018.





By Russ Rickers



In 1954, a group of interested people in the City of Worthington met in answer to a need for an organization to promote industry in Worthington and    the surrounding area.   It was at  this time that  Worthington Industries, Inc. was organized, selling 119 shares of stock at $100.00 each for a total of $11,900.00.    At its inception, the organization was considered profit making with shareholders as investors.  The By-laws stated no annual dues nor dividends.  Membership required a $100 paper share of stock.  Shares may be sold on an individual basis but not redeemed if a member should move out of the area.   The principle objective  of  Worthington  Industries  is to promote industry--to facilitate business places getting started, versus using funds to buy or loan to prospective businesses.


In 1956, the first tract of land was purchased-68.5 acres in what is currently termed "the Bedford area" on Rowe Avenue. The funds were borrowed from a Worthington financial institution at 4% interest with four persons signing the loan agreement.

One Hundred Forty (140) acres of farmland in the area was purchased in 1961. The purchase            price was

$40,000.00 with money borrowed on 100% signatures.   Members  of Worthington  industries and Armour Packing management achieved the beginnings of an  important  industrial site.  It is evident very dedicated  people and    financial  institutions  helped  Worthington Industries meet their objectives.

In .1983 ,  another 13    acres were purchased at what is now the Hubbard Milling location.   History has shown what has happened to that property.


Over the  years, Worthington  Industries  has helped businesses  and financial institutions with financial arrangements.  One spec building was built in the Industrial Park area close to Bedford Industries.     The 1980s was a period of ''changes..••high interest rates made it very difficult for a small organization to exist due to lack of capital.


In 1884, Worthington Industries changed to a non-profit organization to legally cooperate with the City, County and area with the sole purpose of facilitating industry growth in the Worthington area. The name was then changed to Worthington Area Industries, Inc. (WAI!)

A campaign titled "Project Growth" was initiated in 1984 to raise capital for the organization.  $122,000.00 was raised in pledges to be paid     over a  period of three years.   A match from the City of Worthington in the amount of $100,000 was used to purchase 35 acres which      is now      in the northwest  industrial tract located near the Assembly of God Church and Super 8 Motel.

WAI! has conducted an inventory of vacant buildings in Nobles County. Prospective business places may contact the WAII Office for further information.


By Russ Rickers & Shirl Held




Page 2


In the mid 80s as WAI I activities grew, it became evident that there was a need for a part-time staff person; Shirl Held offered to fill the position        and  look  into the. Twin City area   to procure industry to Worthington.  WAII soon determined that a full time staff person would be needed and a cooperative agreement was reached with the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce for the executive vice president to work in this field.  WAI! then went full time with an Executive Di rector for a number of years; presently we are fortunate to have Jerry Sandstrom serve as President/CEO of Worthington Area Industries, Inc.

WAII members met with Jim Vance, who at the time was retiring from the Worthington Daily Globe. Mr. Vance had wanted to express his thanks to the community and contribute to the industrial development by donating

$100,000 and establishing the Vance Fund. The monies in this fund have been invested and are currently drawing interest.      This fund will be used to enhance industry in this area.

WAII  is an   organization    formed with volunteers and carried on with volunteers working with local businesses who are considering expansion. THe of the missions of WAII is to promote economic development.    Today Worthington  Area  Industries>    Inc. is   not    just city wide, but    county wide  as  well.                  Members continue to be a  catalyst bringing  all    area expansion to the regional community; to target, screen and facilitate new or exis ting industry growth in Nobles County.









Wgtn Reg. Econ. Dev. Corp. 1121 3rd Avenue

Worthington, MN 56187