The Faribault Economic Development Authority has moved forward with a plan to bring hot sauce manufacturer Cry Baby Craig’s to town.

The State Bank of Faribault agreed Wednesday to loan Cry Baby Craig’s $250,000, an increase of $50,000 from what had been proposed previously. The loan will help fund the company’s move to Faribault, as well as the purchase of new bottling equipment that will enable the company to increase its bottling capacity from 2,000 bottles a day to 2,000 bottles an hour. The remaining $100,000 loan needed to complete the project will be split between the EDA and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

Cry Baby Craig’s uses a one-of-a-kind process and recipe to produce its nationally renowned hot sauce. Chef and co-owner Craig Kaiser began making the sauce with pickled habanero peppers and garlic after his restaurant accidentally received habaneros instead of jalapenos. With no immediate use for the habaneros, Kaiser used his background in French cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu to pickle them. Several months later, Kaiser used them to make some hot sauce for a work party.

The sauce became an immediate hit and can now be found and hundreds of stores and restaurants throughout the area, as well as at Allianz Field, Target Field and the Minnesota State Fair. With the new facility and equipment, Cry Baby Craig’s co-owners Kaiser and Sam Bonin believe they will be able to greatly expand their business. Thanks to the company’s unique cold process method, the manufacturing process doesn’t produce a decipherable smell like many hot sauces.

After working with the State Bank of Faribault and SMIF to reduce the EDA’s share from $150,000, EDA members felt assured that a $50,000 loan was reasonable. EDA President Rodney Gramse and Community and Economic Development Director Deanna Kuennen expressed confidence that Cry Baby Craig’s inventory would be more than enough to insulate the EDA from risk of a default.

EDA members expressed optimism that Cry Baby Craig’s presence could be a cornerstone of the city’s Journey to 2040 Downtown Revitalization plan, attracting more traffic and other businesses to the historic district.

“The EDA is excited to be a funding partner in order to allow Cry Baby Craig’s to relocate to Faribault and become part of our downtown fabric,” Kuennen said.

In other business

The EDA revisited the guidelines of the Downtown Exterior Program. Since the program’s inception in late 2017, more than $625,000 has been provided by downtown business owners to help preserve historic buildings throughout the Central Business District. The EDA has had limited input in the process, with awards being provided on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible projects.

In order to ensure the money is being used efficiently and as intended, the EDA approved a package of reforms to the program. The EDA's reforms include giving itself the power to approve or deny projects based on impact to the historic downtown, requiring a project impact statement to help distinguish between historic preservation and general maintenance, and limiting eligibility to buildings that were built before 1950 and are located on Central Avenue or immediate side streets.

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew.

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