FEDA board looks at child care

The Fairmont Economic Development Authority Monday heard a report on the child care shortage in Martin County from Landon McKay, business development specialist with First Children’s Finance, an organization funded by the Department of Human Services that provides loans and business development assistance to build and maintain child care services. First Children’s Finance has been working with Linsey Preuss, city economic development coordinator, and a core group of stakeholders to identify any underlying problems causing the child care shortage and to remedy those problems.

“Looking at all of Martin County, there’s 172 missing child care slots,” McKay said. “If parents can’t find child care, they can’t go to work.”

His analysis identified a shortage of 81 slots in Fairmont, with no openings available for infants or toddlers. In addition, about 6 percent of child care providers in rural Minnesota are lost each year. Mr. McKay also addressed the Fairmont Rotary Club and the Fairmont City Council on Monday.

He will facilitate a town hall meeting from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Fairmont Holiday Inn.

Anyone who would like to take part in the discussion may RSVP at fairmonttownhall.eventbrite.com

A $35,000 loan approved by the Fairmont Economic Development Authority on Monday will assist with the opening of Last Touch, a Benjamin Moore paint store, at 219 N. State St., the former Moore Medical building next to Subway.

Reggie and Lea Heinrichs own and operate Benjamin Moore stores in Jackson and Spirit Lake and want to open a store in Fairmont to fill the opening left by the closing of the retail portion of Whitmore’s Painting and More on Downtown Plaza. They have hired Lori Bartels, who previously worked for Whitmore’s.

The cost of the project is $109,000, which includes inventory, operating capital, machinery and equipment. The Henrichses are putting $15,000 into the project, with the remaining $59,000 to be financed by Benjamin Moore. FEDA approved the loan over a two-year period at 4.5 percent interest.

The new business will create one new job immediately upon opening, with another job added in two or three years.