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Local businesswoman recognized by SBA

On May 10, during the 56th annual Minnesota Small Business Awards reception, the Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Darcy Johnson of Conger Meat Market, according to a press release.

Johnson was nominated by 504 Corporation, a company that facilitates SBA 504 loans. Farmers State Bank of Hartland was also recognized as the local bank lender that coordinated with 504 Corporation to obtain SBA 504 loans used to renovate the old Conger Creamery into a state of the art USDA slaughter facility.

Conger Meat Market was one of 11 Small Business Excellence awards presented in 2019 by Nancy Libersky, the Minnesota district director of SBA.

Each year, SBA recognizes successful entrepreneurs or small business champions. Both those chosen by SBA and those nominated for a Lenders Small Business Excellence Award by their bank have utilized SBA programs or received critical help from resource partners. It is the hard work, dedication and success in their respective businesses that is making Minnesota’s economy shine and providing good jobs in its communities, the release states.

Since 1935, Conger Meat Market, with locations in Conger and Albert Lea, has provided quality processing of beef, hog and wild game to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, the release said.

Purchasing the business in 2004, Johnson and her husband, Jeremy, continue the tradition of an old-fashioned meat market, utilizing award-winning original Czechoslovakian recipes and creating new ones of their own. They have significantly grown the business, adding USDA-certified slaughter service and expanding into a second larger location, which they were able to renovate and finance with the help of Farmers State Bank, the SBA 504 program and assistance from the state of Minnesota with a Minnesota Grown grant.

“Darcy and Jeremy Johnson have made a significant impact in their community and Freeborn County with their progressive entrepreneurship,” said Farmers State Bank CEO Daniel Otten. “Having another USDA-certified meat processing plant in the area opens the door for more farm to table opportunities for local businesses, such as grocers and restaurants as well as another option for local livestock producers.”

504 Corporation is a private, not-for-profit company head-quartered in Rochester with the purpose to promote and assist in the growth and development of small businesses located within the state of Minnesota and six counties in western Wisconsin, the release states.