The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $1.5 million loan to Stearns Electric Association, one of Great River Energy’s 27 member-owner cooperatives, to support the expansion of the Berkon Outdoors manufacturing facility.
Berkon Industries, LLC was established in 2001 as an all-cedar dock manufacturing company owned and operated by entrepreneur Eric Berscheid. Berkon Industries added aluminum frames and other decking options to its product offerings in 2004 and began building trailer frames in 2007. Today, trailers are the company’s primary product offering and they are sold under the brand name Berkon Outdoors.
As Berkon continues to grow, the company is investing in new equipment and will construct a 32,000-square-foot building addition at its headquarters in Holdingford, Minnesota. Nine new full-time jobs will be created as a result of this expansion, including welders, powder coaters, CNC operators and warehouse staff. The expansion will have an immediate impact on increasing the company’s production capacity and the number of trailers it can manufacture each year.
The USDA loan facilitated through Stearns Electric will provide critical gap financing that will allow the company to realize its full expansion plans and invest more in the business in years to come. Stearns Electric’s involvement in the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program is a continuation of its multi-faceted support for the commercial and industrial member-businesses it serves.