January - June 2012 Newsletter


 Director-Greg Krantz 715-635-8242 (Phone)
Administrative Coordinator-Margie Quinn 715-635-8236 (Fax)


On March 21st, the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors conducted interviews for the position of Economic Development Director for Washburn County. At the April 12th meeting the Board of Directors agreed to offer the position to Greg Krantz, with the starting date of May 1, 2012. I start this position with a huge advantage because I have lived and worked here all my life. My private business, the nine and half years that I worked for Northwest Regional Planning Commission and nine plus years served on the County Board has allowed me to meet and work for a wide and diverse number of businesses and people that visit, reside and work in Washburn County.


Due to budget constraints and a slower economy than in the past years, the WCEDC Board of Directors decided that rather than continue with the Directors position remaining open any longer, the Board decided to offer the position to myself on a three day per week basis. The three day per week work schedule will be re-evaluated at a future date, increasing this schedule will depend on memberships and donations increasing, Washburn County’s contribution remaining steady and our contract for services with WCIDA continuing in the coming years. As you can see, there are three funding sources that need to occur on a regular basis and all three are dependant on each other to happen in order for the WCEDC office to remain open. The WCEDC Board of Directors wants to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to this organization to work for the good of all businesses in our community and Washburn County. Again, Thank You. !!!


A goal that I have set for myself when accepting this position, was to make a concerted effort to reconnect WCEDC with all the businesses that call Washburn County home. This effort involves a meet and greet session with every business owner at their place of business to discuss how their business is doing and if WCEDC can assist them with any improvements or expansions that their particular business might require. I also explain that Washburn County Industrial Development Agency manages a revolving loan fund that is available to Washburn  County businesses for job retention, business expansion or new business start up ventures. WCEDC and WCIDA work cooperatively to sustain and grow a healthy business climate in Washburn County. It will take time to meet every business owner in Washburn County, but that is a goal I intend to pursue as Director of WCEDC. If you read this newsletter and need assistance sooner than just by a chance visit, please call Marge or myself at the Spooner Office at 715-635-8242.


Since the first of May I have met with approximately thirty different business owners in Washburn County. In my conversations with these business owners, at least sixty percent stated that even though the overall economy is slow and sluggish, their own personal business in 2011 and 2012 has shown an increase compared to 2010 income totals. They attribute this growth to the observation that more local people are shopping closer to home rather than rather than traveling out of town or possibly out of state. Of the sixty percent that have stated an increase in business, at least twenty five percent of these businesses would like to expand their business or product line. The one common theme that they all express is they are holding back until some of the business tax issues are resolved or possibly until the November elections are over and they have a clearer idea of what the business industry can expect in the form of governmental regulations.       


Beginning January of 2012 until the end June 2012 WCEDC Administrative Coordinator and interim WCEDC Director Marge Quinn worked with four  business owners and closed four loans totaling $250,000.00. These four business loans had an immediate effect on the retention of 20 jobs and the creation of 35+ new jobs. Also during the past month, Marge has been working with Spooner’s Bank of the West on receiving a $2,500.00 Charitable Contribution Grant. Each year Bank of the West’s Charitable Investment Program selects a local non-profit business entity to award this grant to. This grant award will be used to promote WCEDC’s mission statement to expand the tax base, create new jobs and retain existing businesses in Washburn County. The WCEDC Board of Director’s thank Marge for her effort and thank Spooner Bank of the West for their generous donation!      


Washburn County Tourism Director Michelle Voight sent out a new tourism advertising promotion brochure to 3000+ non-residents that have second homes in Washburn County. Washburn County Tourism’s brochure’s title was WHAT IS THERE TO DO IN WASHBURN COUNTY? WCEDC purchased an ad in this brochure stating that Washburn County is a great place to start or relocate your business! This ad is the beginning of a new advertising program that WCEDC is about to release titled Want To Work Where You Play?


This new advertising brochure features the following.                                                                                                 


Want To Work Where You Play???


Washburn County Economic Development Corporation has several reasons why you should consider starting a new business, expanding or possibly relocating your present business to Washburn County!!!


Many of you have second homes in Washburn County, and you already vacation here. Have you ever thought of just staying? Washburn County Economic Development Corporation and Washburn County Industrial Development Agency can help you make that possible. WCEDC works with WCIDA to promote new business growth and the expansion of existing businesses.


WCEDC is able to provide funds for technical assistance for the development of business plans as well as marketing and managing your business. WCIDA manages a portfolio of six different loan funds that are available for the financing of new and existing business ventures. The interest rates of these loans vary depending on the program they originate from but are generally below market rates and terms.      


1.     Washburn County is the perfect location with the major highways 53,  63, 70 and 77 passing through Washburn County. Rail access is also available in two areas of Washburn County. Our close proximity to the Twin Cities, Twin Ports and Eau Claire makes Washburn County the ideal business location.

2.     There are (TIF), Tax Increment Financing Districts established in Birchwood, Minong, Shell Lake, Spooner and Stone Lake. Most of these TIF Districts have commercial lots available in them. Several of the lots have sewer and water with 3-phase power already on site. All TIF Districts are served with long standing reliable Utility Companies.

3.     The Villages and Cities have storefront buildings and space available for rent or possible sale in the downtown business districts. These business buildings are available for viewing and contract review with our local realtors who work in close relationship with the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation.

4.     Washburn County has excellent K-12 education systems in Birchwood, Minong, Shell Lake and Spooner. Washburn County also has five post secondary schools with-in 30-90 minutes of any City or Village in the County. Access to the most reliable family health care is also located within minutes of these areas in Washburn County. 


WCEDC also listed the top twenty + business employers in Washburn County believing that some second homeowners might want to relocate here permanently and will apply for employment at one of Washburn County’s established businesses. This will be good for the retail health of our area businesses as it will provide permanent customers for our local economy. 


During the first six months of 2012, Marge has been busy with inquires about loans, applications being processed and four loans closed, along with the daily business of loan payments and banking requirements. As I stated previously, in the past two months I have met with several business owners,  City and Village organizations that are optimistic about the future and the success of their businesses and municipality’s. I like that, optimism!!