ROCHESTER, Minn. - "We want to continue to see rochester grow and thrive and we're happy being a part of that effort so that people stay in rochester and people come and visit rochester and there's things to do here," says Dawn Finnie, one half of the husband-wife duo that own Little Thistle Brewing.
"I think that smaller businesses have a personal attachment and relationship to the community, so they understand the needs of the community better and more intimately," explains Rebekkah Frunzac, one of four co-owners at Rochester Gymnastics Academy, or ROGA.
What ROGA and Little Thistle have in common, is they both received financial help from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation in 2018. SMIF is a regional development and philanthropic organization that helps out businesses with grants, loans, and programming. In 2018, they invested more than $1.2 million in 31 Southern Minnesota businesses, 10 of them in Southeastern Minnesota.
After building a new gym this summer, ROGA turned to SMIF to help pay for new gymnastics equipment to fill the new facility. Little Thistle used SMIF's help to train their staff before they opened their doors in late summer, and plan to use the rest of their funding to develop other projects at the brewery, such as an outdoor area.
For a full list of businesses that received financial assistance from SMIF in 2018, click here.