A long-time local manufacturing facility, one with international business ties, got the approval of the Great Bend City Council for its part in an effort to secure its place in the 21st Century business model.
In a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the council approved application for a state grant and a local loan to secure part of the funding for a million dollar project that will help to make the company more in tune with new consumers.
The council was told that the company is working on improvements to its Internet site to help connect with younger consumers who will undoubtedly like the Fuller products, but who are not currently connected with them through the older style marketing that the century-old firm has utilized.
Great Plains Development representative Faye Trent told the council that the company is involved in a major project to “rebrand” its image, so that it can appeal to younger consumers, especially over the Web.
Funding will involve a variety of sources, including private lenders.
The city’s part includes it applying for $568,340 in Community Development Block Grant funds through the Department of Commerce. That money would be granted to the city, if it is successful, and then loaned at 4 percent interest for five years, to Fuller.
Also, the city would loan $147,490 from its Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund.
Trent explained that before the DoC will approve a CDBG, the applying city needs to have loaned down any EDRLF that it holds.
The local EDRLF originated with CDBG funds. They have been loaned out by the city and repaid several times over, since they were first used locally.
The EDRLF loan is dependent on the city getting the grant, it was noted. That should be know by about mid August.
If these efforts are successful, the city will stipulate that the loan will be fully due if the business were to leave town.
Also, the council is encouraging Fuller to work on building back the pay concessions that Fuller employees have made in recent years.
City Administrator Howard Partington noted that Great Bend is home to a number of long-term Fuller workers who have helped keep the firm moving by making pay concessions and now would be a good time to begin to turn that around.