Elevating Communities Through Architecture
*This article is reposted from The Entrepreneur Fund's Blog. Original story can be found here.
A “community development firm” is how owner, Tim Meyer, describes Meyer Group Architecture. Meyer started his business in the summer of 2009 after transitioning from his previous position due to the 2008 recession. It’s been twelve years since he closed on his first business loan from the Entrepreneur Fund and throughout that time his business has helped elevate communities across the region.
A community development firm focuses on taking on projects that help meet unique needs in a community. Meyer Group has strong relationships and a history of working with tribal and rural communities. Meyer described previous projects as community centers, schools, childcare centers, housing access, historical preservation, and tribal ceremonial structures. He has seen firsthand the way a new building and gathering space in a community can inspire hope and pride in local kids and their families.
Meyer had completed a childcare center in Grand Portage and years later the director of the new facility gave him a call. “She said to me, ‘Tim, you have no idea how much your project has changed our community.” When Meyer asked in what ways she replied that since the facility was completed there was a noticeable decrease in cases of abuse, chemical dependency, and teen pregnancy because their kids were now able to thrive in a safe environment. “Hearing those kinds of stories reminds me why we focus on this kind of work, because of the genuine impact it has on communities,” said Meyer.
Over a Decade of Partnership
As Meyer Group has grown and evolved over the years, he has always stayed connected with the Entrepreneur Fund. “EF has been there for us since I got started and has never left. They have always been involved and helped us whenever we needed to work through things. The assistance EF has provided has helped me learn how to be an architect, and become a businessman.”
Most recently Meyer worked closely with the EF team during the pandemic to access a COVID-19 EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) that provided economic relief to small businesses that were experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Meyer submitted the application but was initially denied. He reached out to EF team, who closely with him over the next six months to submit an accepted application. Meyer shared, “Without the Entrepreneur Fund’s help we would not have gotten an EIDL loan, and it has helped our business immensely.”
Tapping into the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Meyer is grateful to have built a business in the Twin Ports. Throughout the years he has connecting with many of the other organizations that support small businesses in the area such as Northland SBDC, NRDC and LISC. Through conversations with colleagues from other areas of the state and country, he has come to recognize that the northeast Minnesota region is unique in its abundance of support available for entrepreneurs. “It’s amazing to me. Anyone who wants to start a business could because there are enough resources locally that if you really want to do something and you’re willing to work hard, a network is in place to support you.”
When asked what is next, Meyer says, “I look at the stuff we’ve done and been involved in and we’ve done some pretty amazing things that I know have had a positive impact in a lot of different communities. I hope we can continue to provide that value.