When Tim and Claire Sullivan began their transition from the Pacific Northwest to Burlington, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) provided financial and technical assistance to support their business development needs.
Tim is a professional beermaker who studied under some of the West Coast’s most prominent crafters, and Claire is a retail-wiz with broad experience to manage most of the organizational aspects of the business. Together, with their son Flynn, they returned to Burlington, where Tim grew up.
“I think people are willing to support local business here, which feels really nice,” Claire said. “People have gone out of their way to be supportive in any way they can.”
Tim and Claire lived in San Diego, before heading to Portland. After several years of incredible beermaking tutelage, Tim gained the confidence to go out and start on his own.
“When we were thinking about locations, Burlington was always the number one spot,” Tim said. “We wanted to come back and build something in this community.”
In August 2019, RCEDC met with Tim and Claire – through the City of Burlington – to understand their dream and help present a plan to make it a reality.
“We wanted to make sure they were tapping into the technical assistance that was available to them,” said Laura Million, RCEDC’s Business Development Manager. “And then we were also able to work with the City of Burlington to access a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and two fixed-rate, low-interest loans through RCEDC for this project.”
The grant Million is referring to is the WEDC Community Development Investment Grant, designed to financially support downtown community development in the state of Wisconsin. According to the WEDC website, “Funded activities should lead to measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values and/or leveraged investment by local and private partners.”
The Downtown Burlington property Tim and Claire renovated was built in the 1920’s as a railroad terminal, and then served as the headquarters for a local news publication, the Burlington Standard Press. Now, with assistance from the WEDC Grant, the City of Burlington Revolving Loan Fund, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program, the property serves as a stylish brewery and taproom experience.
The SBA 504 program, in partnership with Community State Bank, provided Tim and Claire an avenue to borrow enough money for the renovations while also keeping enough working capital to get the business going.
“We want to see that the business can sustain and grow, so that’s a key factor – being that we’re in Wisconsin and this is beer, that was pretty easy for this one,” said Thomas Van Gent, Loan Officer for Business Lending Partners, RCEDC’s small business lending division. “The job creation and rural development that this is bringing, really aligns with our key goals, so it was kind of a no-brainer.”
The City of Burlington’s strategic plan includes redevelopment of the downtown area into an attractive district that provides a vibrant and inviting atmosphere. Low Daily, along with several other nearby businesses, used RCEDC’s technical and financial resources to open in downtown Burlington.
For more information about the programs and assistance provided by RCEDC, please contact one of our expert staff members. For more information about Low Daily, please visit their website (www.lowdailybeer.com) or their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lowdailybeer).