Home NewsBusiness Recruitment & Expansion RCEDC resources spur Waterford development activity

WATERFORD, WI – The mission of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) is to grow the local property tax base and create jobs by facilitating business expansion projects in Racine County.

With infrastructure improvements completed and development plans in place, the Village of Waterford and a few of its local businesses are utilizing RCEDC resources to spur recent development activity.

mercury groundbreaking
Village officials and other partners celebrate groundbreaking of Waterford's Mercury Business Park.

“The businesses in our community benefit tremendously from RCEDC’s technical and financial resources,” said Zeke Jackson, Village of Waterford Administrator. “They are an amazing partner, and their entire staff is committed to helping our communities thrive and local businesses grow.”


Bill and Bob Kulesa, owners of Waterford’s new Dairy Queen Grill & Chill – located at 330 S 6th Street – worked with RCEDC’s finance team, Business Lending Partners (BLP), to access a Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan for the construction of a new facility and refinancing of their existing DQ Grill & Chill facility, located in Stillwater, MN.

By using the SBA 504 loan program, in partnership with Community State Bank, Bill and Bob reduced their down payment to 10%, allowing them to retain cash for marketing their new business. As a result of the new development, 40 jobs – a vast majority of which are full-time – were created at the Waterford location.

“We were really impressed with the pro-business climate in Waterford – from the Village to Racine County, they were super helpful to make this project happen for my brother and me,” said Bill. “The SBA 504 program, along with the incredible partnerships of Community State Bank and Business Lending Partners, helped make the financing process much easier and we had great service to handle the details and keep us on track. We were so grateful this option was available to us and would recommend them to any business looking to get started or expand their operation. We couldn’t have done it without them.”


Waterford Stillhouse is a microdistillery located at 228 E Main Street in downtown Waterford. It is the first legal distillery in Racine County since Prohibition. While the tasting room is not yet open, production is underway. Owners Tammie and Brandon Begotka utilized RCEDC’s Zero Loan Program to finance the purchase of equipment, start-up costs and working capital.

The Zero Loan Program, a 0% loan program, was capitalized through a grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) to RCEDC with the goal to stabilize businesses impacted by the pandemic. The program required no money down from the Begotkas and no principal payments due until July 2022.

Brandon and Tammie Begotka, owners of Waterford Stillhouse, used part of their ZERO Loan to purchase new equipment.

“Not having a whole lot of experience in the lending space, the staff at RCEDC made this program very easy to understand and it was the perfect option for our new business,” said Tammie. “With the money we received from the Zero Loan Program, we were able to finance the holding tanks needed to blend and store spirits, wages for our employees at startup, and other elements needed to make the Waterford Stillhouse a destination for residents and visitors.”


Waterford Economic Development is a business recruitment initiative designed to promote available properties to interested developers and business owners.

In addition to the new Dairy Queen Grill & Chill and the Waterford Stillhouse, RCEDC and the Village of Waterford are working together to attract developers and businesses to fill their local business parks with projects aligned with the Village’s strategic plan.

For commercial lenders or local businesses interested in accessing RCEDC’s financial resources, you can visit blp504.org or contact BLP’s Loan Officer Wesley Walsh at wesley@blp504.org. For developers interested in learning more about the Village of Waterford, please contact RCEDC’s Deputy Director, Laura Million at lmillion@rcedc.org.


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