Last week, I stopped in to talk to Terri Eisenbrener, owner of “Terri the Tailor.” She recently opened for business in a new location at 313 3rd Street East in downtown Thief River Falls.

When she first came to Thief River Falls, she leased space on LaBree Avenue. Although the space was suitable, she wanted to own her own space. After knocking on a few doors and exploring various downtown locations, she found the perfect spot for her business, one that had enough square footage and that was in a high traffic area, right along U.S. Highway 59.

The sales price was just $13,000, but the building was in a bad state of repair. Terri needed to borrow money for renovations and turned to Thief River Fall’s Community Development financing programs.

Before she was able to get financing, she had to work up a business plan. “I knew I could do it,” Terri said, “but I needed help with the business planning. A lot of people start and fail. Too much overhead can be a real problem.”  Terri received business planning help from Grant Oppegaard, a consultant who works with the Northwest Small Business Development Center. “Grant was great to work with,” Terri said.

With a winning business plan in hand, Terri was able to secure two loans through Thief River Fall’s Community Development finance programs, a “Storefront Renovation Loan” and a “Commercial Energy Renovation Loan.”  Thanks to these two loans, Terri was able to turn an old vacant building into a bright, inviting space. “It’s basically a new building,” she said. “Everything is energy efficient.”

Terri does clothing alterations and operates the “Tip Top Tux” franchise. During the short time I visited with her, customers were coming and going, evidence to the demand for her products and services, as well as the customer relationships she is already building within the area.

For more on Community Development Finance Loans, click here. 

Click here to visit Terri’s Facebook page.

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