The Red Lake Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota has opened a shopping center on its land north of Bemidji.

“It’s finally a reality” after years of planning, Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki told Lakeland PBS TV in Bemidji.

The Red Lake Trading Post is three times the size of the previous grocery store and includes a laundromat and gas station.

“Our new bakery will actually bake breads, rather than just having commercial pre-made bakery and sweets, so we’ll actually have choices like sourdough, wild rice bread, rye bread and we’ll make it fresh daily,” said general manager Allen Retz.

Tribal officials have tied the availability of fresh groceries to helping solve high diabetes rates among American Indians, who suffer from the disease at twice the rates of white residents.

The new center has created 20 jobs so far. The $10.6 million project was financed by the Native American Bank in Denver, a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution owned by 31 tribes.

“Native American communities have long had unequal access to crucial development lending and financial tools,” Native American Bank CEO Tom Ogaard said in an e-mail statement to the Star Tribune. “Tribal lands held in trust can make for complex financing, but we and our partners believed in this project. It’s already created 20 new jobs in the community and cut a 76-mile round trip for fresh groceries.

“We worked with the Red Lake Band to use New Markets Tax Credits and a USDA guarantee. We believe it’s the first time those have been combined with tribal trust land anywhere in the U.S.”

Neal St. Anthony

Wind energy

Xcel picks Mortenson for Colorado wind farm

Golden Valley-based Mortenson has been selected by Xcel Energy to build a $740 million wind farm in Colorado, one of Mortenson’s largest renewable-energy projects to date.

Mortenson will build the Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project, a 500-megawatt capacity wind farm on about 100,000 acres in eastern Colorado.

One of the nation’s largest wind-energy construction firms, Mortenson’s projects also include U.S. Bank Stadium and Target Field.

Mortenson also built Xcel’s 600-megawatt Rush Creek wind farm in Colorado, which is both Minneapolis-based Xcel’s and Mortenson’s largest completed wind project. Rush Creek went online late last year.

In Minnesota, privately held Mortenson has constructed several wind farms and is currently working on Xcel’s Blazing Star I, a 200-megawatt project near Hendricks in southwestern Minnesota. Colorado and Minnesota are Xcel’s two largest service areas and both states are national leaders in wind power production.

A megawatt is 1 million watts, and 500 megawatts of generation capacity ­— Cheyenne Ridge’s size — is on par with the size of a coal or large gas-fired power plant, except that wind farms can only produce power intermittently.

The Cheyenne Ridge wind farm is expected to be completed by December 2020.

Turbines for the project will be supplied by Vestas, a major wind-power equipment maker based in Denmark.

Mike Hughlett

USB acquisition

California’s Talech joins U.S. Bancorp

U.S. Bancorp has acquired Talech, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based software company that provides point-of-sale services for small- and medium-size companies. Terms were not disclosed.

Talech’s point-of-sale system is primarily for restaurateurs, retailers and service businesses. The software can develop a digital map of a restaurant’s tables to aid in ordering and payments, manage a retailer’s inventory or schedule guests at salons and other service companies.

“Small businesses are a focal point for us as we transform how U.S. Bank engages with customers and how our customers interact with their money, making it easy for them to make decisions at the moment they come into contact with our technology,” said Derek White, chief digital officer at U.S. Bank in a statement.

Talech, which was founded in 2012, has 86 employees, serves more than 8,000 clients and processes approximately $2.3 billion worth of transactions. It is a business that U.S. Bancorp is familiar with.

Elavon, a U.S. Bank subsidiary, has sold Talech’s services for the past five years.

Talech will join USB’s newly formed digital team led by White. The team provides digital services for small and medium sized companies including software that helps process payments, provides other e-commerce functions and runs customer loyalty and gift card programs.

U.S. Bancorp hired White in April to lead its digital strategies.

Before joining U.S. Bancorp, White was the global head of client solutions with BBVA, a multinational banking group based in Spain. The Talech acquisition is the first deal under White for the new digital team.

Patrick Kennedy