3 MN Cos. Recognized by SBA for Job Creation

Great Clips, Tastefully Simple, and Shield Services were included on the SBA 100 list, which features businesses from across the country that created at least 100 jobs after receiving support from the Small Business Administration.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is showcasing 100 companies that have seen significant success after receiving assistance from the SBA-and it's touting the success of three Minnesota companies that have each gone on to create at least 100 jobs.

The SBA 100 list features 100 businesses from across the country and in a variety of industries that have received SBA support in the form of capital, contracting, counseling, or investment.

Edina-based Great Clips, Inc., was recognized for significantly growing its salon chain. CEO Ray Barton in 1997 received a $9 million loan through RFE Investments, an SBA Small Business Investment Company program, which allowed him to buyout existing investors and pursue his plan for growth, the SBA said. He grew the company from 800 salons to a network of more than 3,000 franchises. During the 10 years that RFE was an investor in the company, Great Clips added about 15,000 jobs, according to the SBA.

U.S. Small Business Regional Administrator Marianne Markowitz will visit Great Clips' headquarters on Tuesday.

Alexandria-based Tastefully Simple, a direct sales company offering easy-to-prepare food and gifts, also made the list. The company, founded by Jill Blashack Strahan in 1995, received a $20,000 SBA loan and has grown to a $100 million company with more than 22,000 consultants throughout the country and more than 340 employees at its headquarters, according to the SBA.

The third Minnesota company, Shield Services, LLC, is a Princeton-based provider of administrative support, security, and facility support services. It was founded in 2004 by Gary Dorr, who had a background in law enforcement. The company was accepted into an SBA development program in 2005 and received its first SBA-assisted contract in 2007. The company now employs more than 130 people and has gone on to secure more contracts, including a five-year deal worth more than $10 million., the SBA said.

In addition to the three Minnesota-based companies, another business on the list has a strong connection to the state: the DQ Grill and Chill franchise. Greg Todd worked with Dairy Queen corporate headquarters in Edina to put a business plan together and bring the chain to Anchorage, Alaska. His new store broke Dairy Queen's all-time day, week, and month sales records, according to the SBA. Todd now employs more than 100 workers at four DQ Grill and Chill restaurants in Alaska.