Commercial Water Distributing is expanding and adding more jobs in Zumbrota after catching a last-minute wave of government funding.
It's a classic scenario. The city of Zumbrota had access to financing for economic development, but the Tax Increment Financing money stemming from the U.S. Jobs Stimulus package would disappear after the deadline of June 30.
To qualify, a business needed to have a project that would create jobs and be shovel-ready before the deadline.
That's where the online water filter seller, also known as WaterFilters.NET, comes into the story.
Commercial Water Distributing opened in Zumbrota in 2008. From the beginning, the firm's long-term goal was to add to its facility in the city's industrial park.
"We contacted them, and we were able to leverage those dollars to help them expand sooner than later," said Daniel J. King, community development director for the city of Zumbrota.
The city council OK'd the plan on June 21 to grant $258,900 in excess TIF money to Commercial Water Distributing, says John Daniels of Commercial Water Distributing.
Daniels says $150,000 of the money is being used to add a new loading dock and more parking as well as for reconstruction projects inside the warehouse. The additional loading dock will allow the company to expand its international exports, he says.
The company is using the rest of the money — $108,900 — to buy an acre of land next door from the city for future expansion. The deal also included a two-year option to purchase another acre and a half.
To qualify for the money, Commercial Water Distributing has agreed to add six full-time jobs before the end of the year. It has already hired three additional full-time workers, says Daniels.
That brings the business' work force to 31. When the firm opened its Zumbrota facility in 2008, it had just six employees. It also has a location in North Carolina.
"This puts us in a better position to keep them here and to get future employees here," says King.
Another company, Zumbrota Bearing and Gear, also is using leftover TIF money to expand. I'll have more on that project later.