Las Delicias Closing Points to Economic Challenge

As reported in today’s Northfield News, Las Delicias, a family owned and operated restaurant that has served Northfield for seven years, is closing.

According to the article, the Barrientos would like to stay in Northfield and open a new restaurant. However, there are not many spaces available and none have a kitchen, a costly addition to any space.

I have heard rumors that for both of the spaces available in downtown Northfield, the old Bagel Brothers and the old Art + Framing, there were would-be restauranteurs hoping to expand the local eating options. Unfortunately, the cost of adding a kitchen, between $75,000 and $150,000, and the sharing of that cost between landlord and tenant, caused negotiations to break down and the spaces to remain vacant.

The Northfield EDA has a Downtown Revolving Loan Fund that is available for loans up to $75,000, with sufficient collateral or equity match by the borrower. Once again, I heard rumors that both the Rueb-N-Stein and Bierman’s Furniture, long-standing and successful local businesses, found the process and requirements of this loan fund to be somewhat onerous.

For emerging entrepreneurs, financial assistance from a group established for and committed to economic development should have more flexibility and fewer requirements than a for-profit bank. For the possibility of the long-term rewards of economic vitality, there must be some willingness to take on risk.