The Grand Forks Jobs Development Authority has approved a $160,000 loan to the owner of a business to locate and buy equipment for manufacturing operations in the city's Industrial Park.
The company, Krampade, owned by Eric Murphy of Grand Forks, received the loan from the Grand Forks Growth Fund.
Founded in 2015, Krampade is an early-stage firm which produces sports drink products that prevent and relieve cramping.
"Expanding the manufacturing facility will allow us to reach markets we haven't been able to reach before, including large industrial customers," Murphy said.
The product has tested well with members of the NHL, he said. "The guys in the NHL want the product."
Fifteen NHL teams tried it last year, he said.
But they, and other potential large customers, want the powdered product in single-serving packets. That requires a production facility equipped with specially designed mixers and other equipment.
In addition to the athletic market, other potential customers are the elderly, those who experience nighttime leg and foot cramps, and those who work physically demanding occupations, such as baggage-handlers, firefighter and package deliverers.
The product also is useful in treating menstrual and postpartum cramping, Murphy said.
The loan, which also was approved by the Economic Development Corp., will be repaid to the city in monthly installments over five years at a rate of 3.56 percent.
The equipment the company is investing in is valued at $277,000, according to the jobs authority staff report.
After equipment is installed at 675 S. 48th St., the business is expected to add 11 jobs there, Murphy said.
"Hopefully, within four to six months, we can start hiring," he said. "It all depends on sales; that drives it."
The jobs will pay an average hourly rate of $14.68, plus $5.87 in benefits, or $20.55 an hour total, Murphy said.
The company also has received loans from other sources including Gate City Bank, the North Dakota Development Fund and the Bank of North Dakota, as well as a grant from the "Innovate ND" program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce.
It makes sense to establish the business and expand manufacturing operations in Grand Forks, Murphy said, because "the climate for small, innovative companies in North Dakota is very positive."
Also, it is near the largest raw ingredient-beet sugar-needed to produce Krampade, he said.
And it is close to the "quality schools," such as UND and NDSU, which educate the mechanical engineers, accountants and other employees he plans to employ.
The company has two paid employees and a location in Nebraska. Murphy is an unpaid employee, he said.
Expansion in Grand Forks "will be good for the town," he said.
Progress is achieved step by step, he said.
"We're at the beginning of a long road," he said.
PetSmart has opened in Grand Forks.
The store, managed by Tony Kelley, has 18 full- and part-time employees and is the third PetSmart in North Dakota, following locations in Bismarck and Fargo.
It offers hundreds of products, and pet-grooming, in a pet-friendly environment.
Kelley, who has been with the company for a year-and-a-half, transferred from the Fargo store to the Grand Forks branch at 2450 S. Columbia Road, he said.
Special events are planned starting at noon Saturday and Aug. 4.
On Saturday, everyone is welcome to participate in the tour-the-store scavenger hunt with coloring books, giveaways, pet food demonstrations, product sampling and coupons.
On Aug. 4, events include on-site pet adoption, in partnership with the Circle of Friends Humane Society. Children can cuddle guinea pigs, hold bearded dragons and feed fish. They also can receive free activity kits and finger puppets, while supplies last, according to the store.
"I'm glad we're finally here in Grand Forks," Kelley said.