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Dave Olson, Published May 14 2013

SBA official: Fargo company Branick a bright spot in small manufacturing

FARGO – Small manufacturing is helping lead America’s economic recovery, and Fargo’s Branick Industries is one of the brighter spots in the country, a top U.S. Small Business Administration official said Tuesday.

Marie Johns, deputy SBA administrator, toured Branick on Tuesday.

“Small business manufacturing is what it’s all about, bringing business back to the U.S.,” Johns said.

She said Branick, a machinery manufacturer that was founded 96 years ago, has kept refining itself over the years to remain a state-of-the-art manufacturing concern.

“They’re staying competitive, and they’re creating jobs here in Fargo,” Johns said. The company’s estimated 50 workers run shifts around the clock. “It’s just a great story of American manufacturing.”

She said she likes to travel across the country to see how SBA’s services make a difference for businesses.

Branick officials showed Johns a laser-cutting machine the company purchased with the help of an SBA-backed loan.

Because of the machine, which can cut steel up to an inch thick and is valued at between $650,000 and $700,000, Branick can do some tasks it previously farmed out to other companies, said Duane Brasch, chairman of Branick.

“The efficiency of it (the machine) is such we’re more competitive with our products,” Brasch said, adding that an example of that was a recent order from Costco for 20 products Costco previously purchased from companies in China.

The loan Branick received for the laser machine was made possible with support from the Dakota Certified Development Corp., as well as Alerus Financial, which provided the loan.

Sarah Larson, vice president of Dakota Certified Development, said the private not-for-profit helps businesses find the best loan packages available.

The agency secures about 40 SBA loans a year for businesses like Branick, said Larson, who joined Johns on Tuesday’s tour of Branick.

The group also included Matt Varilek, who was recently appointed regional administrator for SBA Region VIII, which encompasses Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Varilek said the SBA helps entrepreneurs transform good ideas into successful businesses and new jobs.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555