Success Stories

Lee Gregory, owner of Sir Lines-A-Lot

When Lee Gregory and his wife Meggin started Sir Lines-A-Lot in 2004 with a single pick-up truck and a used striping machine, they believed that if they provided excellent customer service and a quality product, the business would grow.  And it did, but slowly.  With stagnant or slow growth for three or four years, their banker recommended Lee participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders Program.

The Emerging Leaders Program focuses on small, poised-for-growth companies with potential for job creation.  The seven-month intensive, executive entrepreneurship education series includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and financial communities.

Nearly 70 percent of the graduates have achieved revenue growth and more than 80 percent created new jobs or retained... Read More

Bernie and Chantelle Merchlewitz, Technical Die-Casting

Technical Die-Casting, Inc. (TD) is a small business providing parts for some big names, such as Polaris, Articat, Regal Beloit, Tolomatic, Graco and Shur-Co just to name a few. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has helped it grow to employ 86 people in southeast Minnesota and remain a strong locally-owned  and operated firm for 41 years.

In 1975, Richard Green established the machining company in Homer, Minn., with three small hot chambered zinc machines producing and selling window hardware. Because TD earned a reputation for customer satisfaction it quickly grew and by 1981 acquired 12 acres in Stockton, Minn., to construct a 7,660-square-foot building. Additional production machines were purchased and soon the original building was expanded to accommodate even more business growth.

In 1985, the present Chief Executive Officer and President Bernie Merchlewitz joined the company. The building size doubled that year, and another expansion came the following... Read More

Photo of Andrew Peralta

Andrew Peralta, owner of the Thief River Falls and Roseau Dairy Queens, was chosen as Minnesota’s 2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  Peralta’s drive and ambition, along with the help of his local Small Business Development Center, has resulted in him owning a $1.5 million business at age 26.

Peralta has been a business owner since age 13 when he and a friend started A&P Lawn Service to earn money after school and on weekends. Not much later, he began working at the Dairy Queen at age 15 and was always willing to do whatever it took to get the job done.  Former owner Marty Johnson says of Peralta, “I knew early on that Andrew was different than the rest of the young people I had employed.  He was always willing to learn and help out wherever he was needed.”

Peralta left the Dairy Queen a few different times to go to school and take advantage of different opportunities but he always made his way back.  In 2013 he had worked his way up to general manager. At that... Read More

Urban Growler Owners with Eugene Cornelius, SBA Deputy Associate Administrator

SBA Guaranteed Loan Helps Ensure Hard Work Pays Off

In 2008, Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak dreamed of starting the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. Five years later when they founded Urban Growler© Brewing Company, they added those years of hard work, a wealth of experience and SBA financing to make the dream a reality. The Urban Growler’s taproom and restaurant is a hub for friends and families to share more than just a pint together in Saint Paul. They live their mission - to bring people together through beer – and the community is richer for it.

Prior to starting Urban Growler, Deb was a biomedical engineer by day and a homebrewer by night with every spare moment going to brew new recipes or designing new equipment for the process. That led her to quit her successful career in corporate America, become an assistant brewer at Minocqua Brewing Company in Wisconsin during the week and retail associate at Northern Brewer in St. Paul on the weekends.

While Deb... Read More

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