Pins fall into place for bowling alley owner thanks to this partnership

Jan. 13, 2020

This paid piece is sponsored by The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

The new owner of Dell Rapids’ bowling alley didn’t bowl growing up, and she still doesn’t.

But when the Dells Bowl & Cafe went up for sale, Steph Bittner had a dream and a passion for bringing a small-town community together. So she took the leap as an entrepreneur, got a loan and started on her business journey with PINZ. Since then, the rest of the pins have fallen into place.

“I personally needed a change in my life,” she said. “I just kind of went, ‘Gosh, there just has to more to life than working Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.’ This had been for sale for quite a while, and we talked about it a couple times … and so now we’re here.”

In August 2019, Bittner received a business loan through a unique partnership between The First National Bank in Sioux Falls and the South Eastern Development Foundation. The partnership allows lending institutions like FNB to collaboratively finance small-business loans and reduce the amount of risk associated with small-business lending. These loans are financed through a combination of funds from the borrower, the lending institution and SEDF. The flexibility of not having a specific down payment requirement from the borrower allows for a unique financing package.

“Banks have a lot of access to capital, but they also have a lot of regulations they must comply with,” said Jessica Evans, the development foundation’s associate director. “FNB may have a project they believe in, but they’re unable to assist because of banking regulations or because it does not fit traditional funding sources. This is where SEDF can step in and provide financing for the ‘gap’ that may exist to make the project viable.”

For a growing community like Dell Rapids, a local entertainment option makes for a vibrant quality of life and generates economic activity that helps build not only Dell Rapids but also other cities and the state of South Dakota.

“The city of Sioux Falls receives a lot in tax dollars from the smaller communities around it when they come to shop here, and a lot of its workforce commutes from outside of Sioux Falls,” Evans said. “Some people prefer to live in smaller communities, so investing in them is a win for everyone.”

Reinvesting in communities like Dell Rapids is core to the lending mind-set of The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

“When Steph came to us with this project, her passion was evident from the start,” FNB business banker and Dell Rapids native Weston Hansen said. “The benefit of PINZ to the Dell Rapids community always seemed to be her driving force, and that’s what we love to see.”

As South Dakota continues to be one of the best states in the country for doing business, FNB has led the way. Dakota BUSINESS Finance named FNB its Lender of the Year for having the most Small Business Administration 504 loans in the 2018-19 federal fiscal year.

“We are a locally owned community bank built on relationships that often start in small communities,” Hansen said. “As one of the few locally owned banks in these small towns, FNB makes investments where our customers live and work, which helps small businesses and communities flourish.”

Whether your business is still in the “dream” phase or you’re ready to take the next step, contact FNB’s Business Banking team.

Pins fall into place for bowling alley owner thanks to this partnership

She wasn’t a bowler, but she was a prospective small-business owner who dreamed of buying a bowling alley. Here’s how the deal got done.

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