Author Archives: Andy Albarado

Jump River Electric

Jump River Electric Cooperative (JREC) is a non-profit electric service provider for rural communities across six Wisconsin counties, including: Barron, Chippewa, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, and Taylor. Their mission is to provide reliable, safe, sustainable, and affordable utility services to the communities they serve. JREC supports economic development in their service territory, and they partner on projects that benefit the local communities.

JREC invites you to discover the Cooperative Difference where their customers – business, residential, and agricultural – are their member-owners. From grassroots development initiatives to existing business expansion, entreprenurial development, and new business attraction, their team is here to assist you in applying for a rural economic development loan.


Low interest rate gap-financing may be available through Jump River Electric Cooperative to support qualifying business or community development projects.

Eligible Projects and Applicants

  • Business/Organizations (for profit, non-profit, commercial, industrial, retail, distribution, agricultural processing, land, buildings, machinery & equipment)
  • Community Facilities (infrastructure (sewer, water, streets, rail), business/industrial parks, fire/EMS buildings & equipment, libraries, community centers)
  • Health Care & Education (hospitals, clinics, assisted living, child care)

Financing Terms

  • Amount – determined on a case-by-case basis by the cooperative board of directors; based on the project and specific loan program requirements
  • Rate – typically ranging from 0% to below prime interest rates
  • Term – maximum of 10 years
  • Security – adequate security as determined by the cooperative board of directors

Application Process

  • Contact Jump River Electric Cooperative at 715-532-5524 to discuss your project and begin the loan application process.

Financial Packaging Assistance

  • Based on the unique attributes and needs of your project, we will also work to connect you with the right mix of resource providers, including: local financial institutions, local, state & federal economic development incentives, and local, state & federal loans and loan guarantees.

JREC is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

PPP Direct Forgiveness Application Portal

Last week the Small Business Administration notified banks that the agency has setup and is in the process of testing its own online, consumer-facing PPP Loan forgiveness portal. Rather than forcing borrowers to apply for forgiveness through banks, the SBA forgiveness portal will accept applications from small borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less directly in a format that officials estimate will take businesses just a few minutes to go through. Banks have to alert the SBA that they want to “opt-in” and allow their PPP loan borrowers to use the SBA PPP loan forgiveness portal. If a bank does not opt-in to utilize the portal, then borrowers with PPP loans from that bank need to go directly to that bank and follow the banks process to get their PPP loan forgiven. 

The PPP Direct Forgiveness Application portal is open starting Wednesday, August 4th. As of August 2nd, the SBA has identified over 26,000 borrowers in Wisconsin whose lenders have opted into the direct forgiveness portal. We were told that as of August 1st, about 25 Wisconsin banks and credit unions have opted in. These have been mostly small banks and credit unions. We expect the list will grow quickly with more banks opting in. While the SBA provides a list of the banks that have opted in on its website at the link below, as of August 3rd, the link just lists bank names and no other information as to the state or location of the bank.

There is no need to “rush” to use the portal as the SBA PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal will remain open for as long as needed until the PPP loan forgiveness period expires some time next year. You can apply for both First Draw and Second Draw PPP loan forgiveness through the portal as long as your lender has “opted in”.

Other Links to PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal Info-

Link to PPP Loan Forgiveness Process details:

Link to Banks that Have Opted In to participate:

Link to the SBA direct forgiveness knowledge base that is continually updated:

Borrower FAQs on Direct Forgiveness – SBA Forgiveness (

Link to the SBA PPP Loan Direct Forgiveness Portal:

Wisconsin Main Street Bounceback Program

This new program helps provide one-time assistance to new and existing businesses opening a new location or expanding their existing footprint into additional previously vacant commercial space as of 1/1/21 and on or before 6/30/22. $10,000 grants will be awarded to eligible businesses to assist with costs associated with leases, mortgages, operational expenses and other business costs related to the newly opened location. The more businesses that fill these vacant spaces around the state, the stronger our economy will be. If you’re interested in applying, check out the Main Street Bounceback Grants Program detail page on This is where businesses can learn more about the grant, and more importantly, connect with the regional organization administering the grant in their area by filling out the contact form. To get more acquainted with this program, here is a map listing the local contact who is handling grant applications for businesses in that region, and an informational overview sheet.

Another important resource is the Economic Well-Being section on, where businesses can learn about the importance of programs like the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program. Here, we outline our vision for a comprehensive approach to economic development focused on economic well-being for all Wisconsin residents.

Applicants for this program will need a letter to verify their occupancy or expanded footprint for eligibility.  Rusk County Development can provide a letter for you. To request a letter, please email to request one. To create this letter, we will need to have the following information:
-the name of the business
-the business mailing address
-the date the lease contract was entered
To see an example of the letter, click here (updated version). 


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) made a few changes to the contract to administer the program, providing some additional flexibility for businesses that may have signed a lease or purchase agreement prior to 2021, but the lease commences, or sales contract closes, on or after January 1, 2021. Prior to this change, any documents submitted would have had to been executed between 1/1/21 and 6/30/22. The new guidance states, “it is commercially responsible that leases or purchase agreements could be signed as early as 9/1/20 for occupancy or closing in 2021”. Also, the guidance had originally said that a business could not relocate under any circumstance to become eligible for this grant. The updated guidance states that a business can relocate if their other lease has expired and if they are expanding their existing footprint into additional previously vacant commercial space. They cannot break a current lease to become eligible for this opportunity.

As a requirement of the application process, businesses must submit an acknowledgement letter from an economic development organization, including but not limited to: regional economic development organization, local municipality, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District, Main Street or Connect Community organization. Please note, the application and letter template have been revised and can be found on the website. Any applications submitted prior to today (8-13-21) will be processed as submitted – future applications will require the updated acknowledgement letter and application.


(LADYSMITH, WI) — Rusk County Development, Zoning, and Public Health will be offering a one hour webinar on operating a Vacation Rental, on Tuesday, February 2 at noon.

In recent years Vacation Rental accommodations (Tourist Rooming Houses) have been growing at a tremendous rate, including in Rusk County. Vacation Rentals are generally privately-owned residential properties (houses, cabins, lake property) that are made available for short term rental. They can be entire properties, a cabin, or a room in a larger property. These properties are typically rented through a number of online websites. Existing accommodation providers are also utilizing these vacation rental channels to market and book their properties.

The webinar will discuss various aspects property owners should consider when choosing to operate a vacation rental, including annual licensing and the permitting process. Also, Rusk County Tourism will participate in the webinar to discuss rental marketing and provide additional assistance. Anybody considering a vacation rental or already operating a property is encouraged to participate.

Those interested in the topic can participate online or by phone. To sign-up call 715.532.2257 or email and log-in information will be provided.

‘We’re All In’ grant program

It has been announced that the WEDC is rolling out the ‘We’re All In’ grant program which will take effect on June 15th. We have included the press release as it includes beneficial information regarding the application, eligibility, and process of the program. This program is designed to aid small businesses in getting back on their feet by helping with the cost of business interruption, health and safety advancements, wages and salaries, rent, and other aspects that the COVID-19 has affected. There are a specific set of documents that businesses should have available to upload for the grant application. It will be beneficial to have these documents electronically available as quickly as possible since submissions will be electronic only. In addition, this makes it easier to quickly send in your submission when the site starts accepting the applications. Please share this information as we want to spread it to as many small businesses as possible.

We, Rusk County Development, will provide the required letter verifying that the business was in operation prior to February 2020. Verification requests can be emailed to

Click this link to view the press release:

6-1-20 We’re All In Dates set


Guidance from State on reopening procedures

Governor Tony Evers announced small retailers can now reopen, the latest relaxation of his stay-at-home order dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some small shops had balked at seeing big-box retailers continue to operate while they had been forced to shut down since March 25. The new order allows all standalone or strip-mall retail stores to offer in-person shopping, but with a limit of five customers in the store at a time. The new order, which goes into effect immediately, also allows drive-in movie theaters to open.

See the release:


The Evers administration released best practices and safety tips to minimize the spread of COVID-19 once businesses are allowed to reopen.

The general advice included making sure employees who are sick stay home, ensuring workers have access to sanitizes and personal protection equipment when appropriate, and curtailing business travel. The guidelines also included industry-specific recommendations:

*bars should leave two stools empty between customers who aren’t in the same party.

*companies should consider suspending coffee service.

*gyms should keep closed basketball courts and other areas where physical contact sports occur.

*movie theaters should leave at least two empty seats between groups, while limiting household groups to no more than six people.

Guidelines for outdoor recreation and gatherings were marked “coming soon.”

See the release:

Travel safer with some guidance for Rusk County residents and visitors.


COVID-19 Press Release 05.15.2020

Rusk County Public Health Department is offering guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will not be issuing any orders at this time. We acknowledge that this situation is ever changing and may require future orders to control the transmission of the virus throughout our community. Rusk County Public Health will continue to monitor the situation. As always, the health and safety of all residents in Rusk County is our highest priority so please remember, “the order is gone, the virus is not”.

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Health Department asks that community members voluntarily follow the same guidance that has been given over the past two….. Covid-19 Press Release Guidance 05.15.2020

Preparing to Reopen Safely, Responsibly and Confidently

Revised May 15, 2020

Business-Toolkit Second Addition

Below are resources for general businesses including how to protect your staff, patrons and how to best control your environment.

Keep Safe from COVID-19 

“Subscribe to Focus Forward updates to stay in-the-know about important Wisconsin economic and business news, as well as new programs and resources available for your business and community.”

Focus Forward

Blue Bordered Veteran Day Greeting Facebook Post (1)

“Relief and recovery resources for your business.”

Reopen Guidelines

Focus Forward


WEDC is pleased to announce a new digital platform with resources, information and inspiration to help Wisconsin businesses and communities facing economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Focus Forward serves as an online one-stop shop for state, federal and other funding and operational assistance programs, while also providing up-to-date information through multimedia formats.

Focus Forward will provide:

-Up-to-date information on financial and operational assistance programs from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and other state and federal partners

-Livestream events and videos that break down complex topics to help you understand and overcome the challenges the pandemic poses for you, your business and your community

-Podcast episodes that connect business and community leaders and other Wisconsin “doers” in conversations featuring actionable advice and valuable perspectives

-Answers to your questions about the evolving guidance related to COVID-19, such as essential and non-essential business designations, best practices for virtual operations, and parameters for safely reopening

WEDC is here to help. They created Focus Forward to streamline and simplify the flow of information on COVID-19 recovery, while delving deep into complex topics that require more explanation and featuring the stories of real Wisconsin business owners so you can learn from their ideas and experiences. They hope you’ll engage with Focus Forward and subscribe to receive updates as new resources are posted.

SBDC Cashflow Webinar


SBDC Cashflow Webinars 

Working through cashflow projections can be hard to understand. It is encouraged that you attend this webinar below.  This will be a tool you can use now and in the future.  

How will you restart your business after the threat posed by the coronavirus is diminished? Recovery After COVID-19: Planning and Managing Cash Flow is a free interactive webinar for small business owners. The program is designed to provide tools to help you forecast and plan your business cash flow and is geared toward small retail shops, bars, restaurants, hair salon small service and retail business in Northwest Wisconsin.

Attendees will be provided simple tools prior to the webinar. Although no advance preparation is needed, it may be helpful to review these tools before the webinar.  The program instructors will walk you through how to use these tools. They will explain the process of forecasting and maximizing cash inflow and forecasting and minimizing cash outflow. You will be able to use these tools to gather necessary information and prepare a cash flow forecast on your own or with the assistance of the SBDC. You will also learn how the SBDC can assist with recovery after concerns regarding COVID-19 have subsided.

This webinar is FREE, but registration is required. To allow for optimal interaction, attendance is limited to 20 people per webinar session.  You can choose to attend one of the following webinar sessions:

2:00 PM on Tuesday, May 12   almost full!

6:00 PM on Tuesday, May 12

2:00 PM on Tuesday, May 14

To learn more and register for the event, please click on the link below:

Recovery After COVID-19

For additional information about these webinars, please email

Updates on EIDL and PPP



As of 5 pm today the SBA is still only accepting SBA EIDL program applications from agricultural related businesses (farmers). If you are a farmer and have not submitted an application, it is recommended you do it as soon as possible. While it can’t be said for sure, it would be suspected the EIDL application process will soon be reopened for all businesses and the pool of money is limited.

PPP Loan Forgiveness and Employee Rehire Attempt Clarification

Yesterday the SBA and Treasury clarified that a PPP loan forgiveness amount will still be forgiven if the borrower laid off an employee, offered to rehire the same employee, but the employee declined the offer.    SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.”    

This is a question that has been asked many times over the last three weeks. The conventional thought and response was you needed to pay at least the same payroll dollars and maintain the same employee count that you indicated when you submitted the PPP loan application even if the employee chose not to come back.  Now it appears from this guidance above that you would not need to do that if you can meet the demonstration test described above. I suspect many of you who got the PPP loans a while back already had to make a decision and may have hired alternate staff to replace the employee that did not return.