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Harmony Foods preparing for move; Bemidji City Council approves loan

A new building project for Harmony Foods will result in about 10-14 new jobs.

The project fits the criteria for applying for gap financing through Bemidji's revolving loan funds. The Bemidji City Council on Monday approved a $125,200 loan for Harmony Foods.

Harmony Foods now is located along Third Street Northwest, but will move into the former TruStar Bank building at 302 Irvine Ave. N.W.

The move will triple its retail space. It is expected to open June 10.

"This is such an important expansion for downtown," said Councilor Roger Hellquist. "It helps with a number of initiatives the city hopes to go ahead and have down there."

"It's pretty exciting," agreed Councilor Ron Johnson, noted that the project will probably result in even more than 10-14 jobs, as the building is also going to house a radio station.

Councilor Rita Albrecht, the former assistant city planning and community development director, said the council has not used its revolving loan funds since 2005, when it assisted with the expansion of North Central Door.

"Six years is a long time to go between loans, and I think this is a real positive step," she said.

The city has about $1 million available in revolving loan funds for use as gap financing for Bemidji projects.

For Harmony Foods, the loan will be issued at 5.5 percent interest and as a 15-year amortization. Payments will be just over $1,000 a month although the company will pay interest only for five months.

The Joint Economic Development Commission Investment Committee reviews the applications for city loan funds.

Tiffany Fettig, business loan consultant with Headwaters Regional Development Commission, presented the terms of the loan to the council.