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MAGIC Fund committee supports interest buydown for Stevens Welding and Machine, Glenburn

MAGIC Fund committee supports interest buydown

Submitted Photo This drone photo of Stevens Welding and Machine in Glenburn shows the long-time company as it exists today.

A long-time Glenburn business has a new owner and looks to grow.

On Friday, Minot’s MAGIC Fund Screening Committee approved a $128,571 interest buydown to match a Bank of North Dakota $300,000 interest buydown on a state PACE loan for Stevens Welding and Machine.

Steve Farden purchased the welding and fabrication business assets last May from a previous owner in bankruptcy and has seven employees working at the shop.

Farden, who also runs the long-time business, Farden Construction, told the committee that he felt it was important to retain jobs and avoid a large, empty building in the small town.

“So we decided — my brother and I — that we would take on the risk of getting the purchase done,” he said. “I’m very involved in the Glenburn community. My children all go to school there, and I’ve been with the Stevens family, working in and out of that shop, all my life. So I couldn’t not try to get it done.”

Farden aspires to grow the business to 15 employees by the end of 2022 and 25 employees by the end of 2023. The massive building still would have room to additionally expand the business, which at one time had 30-50 workers, according to recollections shared at the meeting.

Farden said the business originally thrived with support from Canadian customers. He would like to see some of that patronage return but also sees potential with local industry.

“We want to go back to the maintenance and repair work for the drilling rigs out in the oil fields. That’s primarily what the shop was built for,” he said, adding that serving farmers remains a strong component of the business, too. “We are on the same business plan my friend, Lynn Stevens, ran, back in his day.”

Roy Stevens founded Stevens Welding in Glenburn after World War II. In 1985, his sons, Lynn and Rodney, began operating the business. Lynn Stevens became sole owner after his brother retired in the early 1990s.

In 2008, DoAll Industries USA purchased and renamed the company. Bankruptcy proceedings against the company, based in Alberta, Canada, started in 2014. Farden restored the Stevens name to the business with his purchase in May.

According to the business history, the common focus of all owners has been to be an industry leader utilizing cutting-edge technology for hydraulic, fabrication, welding and repair services. This has included acquiring various equipment to create parts and supplies to repair oilfield and farm items, build new drilling rigs, create customer specific parts for their manufacturing needs and maintain a full-service hydraulic repair service.

John MacMartin, president of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce EDC, said MAGIC Fund support for businesses in the area’s small communities is important to maintain Minot as a trade center. In this case, it is retention of jobs, he said.

“That was what was most important for us as we looked at it,” MacMartin said. “It’s saving those jobs that we are interested in.”

The screening committee’s recommendation for approval now goes to the Minot City Council for consideration.

Friday’s action was the first for the screening committee since recommending grant approval to the Minot State University Foundation in September 2020 for purchase of a Trinity Health building for a career and technical education center. That purchase was finalized Oct. 15, 2021.

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