The city of Woodbury has kept a unique partnership to become attractive to new businesses looking to relocate or expand in the community.

To do so, Woodbury began a revolving loan fund that was established around 1989.

"It is sponsored and funded by the Economic Development Authority," said Julie Lehr, city communications coordinator.

The city decided to team up with Western Life, which later became Assurant, to match funds for small businesses. Both the EDA and Western Life decided to contribute $500,000 each to the fund to encourage businesses to move to the community or expand within Woodbury.

"It was a pretty unique situation, other communities have funds as well but to have a business partner is unique," Lehr said.

The city's Economic Development Administration runs the program which accepts applications for the loans. The applications are then forwarded on to Assurant which can decide to participate.

"The funds aren't mingled up front, we both agree to allocate that money," Lehr said. "The funds that go out to the business aren't assembled until an application has been submitted. We were getting quite a bit of bang for our buck. The EDA loan committee was getting a million in loan capacity from the $500,000 they put in."

The loans are meant to be gap financing to fill any holes businesses may have when starting up or expanding.

The loans can not be used for retail or service oriented businesses. The loans are supposed to be manufacturing oriented.

"In other words we didn't want any business to be competing with established business," Lehr said.

Companies who have benefited in the past include DuraTek, Medical Concepts for Development, Harvey Vogel Manufacturing and Computer Integrated Technologies.

The city is working on other loans including a new program called the Twin Cities Community Capital Fund.

The Twin Cities Community Capital Fund is very similar to the revolving loan fund but it is open to all communities in the metropolitan area and then any business that is planning to locate in your community can go there and get a loan.

"We felt that it was another way to leverage our funds," Lehr said. "So now we have two very similar tools that we can use depending on the situation and what might be right for that particular project."

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