“A win-win-win.” SBA 504 Loan program allows Recycle North Dakota to expand, meet demand.

It started in 2008 with collecting old electronic equipment. One year later it became a site for individuals to drop off their pre-sorted recycling. Today, Recycle North Dakota, has evolved into one of the fastest growing recycling companies in the region.

Two years ago, the Jamestown-based small business secured financing through the SBA 504 Loan program. Tracy Whitney, Lewis & Clark Development Group SBA 504 loan officer, calls the project “a textbook example of how the SBA 504 program works.”

Recycle North Dakota owner Ralph Friebel received financing from American Bank Center, which then engaged Lewis & Clark Development Group in securing the remainder of the financing through the SBA 504 program. Friebel was able to purchase and transform Jamestown’s former Coca-Cola plant into a recycling processing center.

Today, the company’s 32,000 square foot facility, and the acre it sits on, includes drop-off, tipping, sorting, bailing, and storage. Friebel says early on it was clear the property was ideal for his business.

“It’s as close to a perfect a property you’ll find. Building a new facility was never financially possible. But converting the old Coke plant was thanks to the SBA 504 program,” adds Friebel.

The SBA 504 Loan provides businesses with fixed-rate financing for the purchase of long-term assets. Proceeds can be used for the purchase of land, building, and equipment as well as to finance eligible closing costs.

“Recycle North Dakota is an example of why the SBA 504 program works so well,” observes Whitney. “We enjoy a good relationship with lenders across the state. In this specific case American Bank Center, out of Dickinson, was able to provide a first mortgage of 50 percent of the project cost. They then brought us in where we secured an SBA 504 loan that covers the remaining purchase costs. Like all SBA 504 projects, this is a win-win-win for the client, the lender, and for us.”

Friebel credits American Bank Center for connecting him to Lewis & Clark Development Group. He praises for the SBA 504 program for enabling him to purchase the property and necessary equipment. According to Friebel, Recycle North Dakota is now able to expand its reach beyond serving the Jamestown area.

“We have room to expand our operations. With our trucks and sorting and bailing equipment we are competitively competing for contracts with other communities,” Friebel said.

The company has also started to take in materials from other collection companies but don’t have the capacity to process recycling, giving more work to its 19 full- and part-time employees.

According to Friebel, Recycle North Dakota produced and processed over 1,400 bails last year, which came out to more than two million pounds of material. Around 70 percent of material was in paper and cardboard, which is sent to mills in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Plastics are sent to facilities across the United States.

Like all industries, recycling has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Friebel says many mills have been closed due to localized outbreaks and out of the need to implement health and safety practices. “You work in confined spaces in those mills,” he notes.

As to the long-term future of recycling, Friebel observes that while North Dakota was one of the last states to embrace recycling, a majority of residents and many communities are seeing it as a value.

“We work in a commodity price-driven industry. That’s a big challenge for us. But people are convinced of the benefits of recycling. The demand is there. Thanks to Lewis and Clark Development Group, Recycle North Dakota is able to meet the demand. I don’t know what we would have done without them.”

Visit www.recyclenorthdakota.com for more information about the company and its services.

To learn more about the SBA 504 program, contact Tracy Whitney at (701) 667-7602 or at tracy@lcdgroup.org.