On Friday, May 12, members from Northwest Communications, Aureon’s Ripple Effect Program, and Country Maid CEO Darin Messner met in West Bend to close on two economic development loans totaling $100,000. These low-interest loan funds, provided by Northwest Communications and Aureon, will be combined with loan funding from Iowa Lakes Electric, Midland Power, and Corn Belt Power to help Country Maid buy new equipment and expand operations. What started as a small operation in 1991 out of the basement of Ken and Marlene Banwart, Country Maid, has since grown exponentially. The company has eighty full-time employees and distributes products to over forty-five states. Headquartered out of West Bend, Country Maid attributes its success to excellent customer service and unique problem-solving abilities, allowing the company to become a leader in the frozen food manufacturing industry. Country Maid sells several baked products, including Danish pastries, cake rolls, cookie dough, and braided bread. Although they have expanded into the retail market, many of their products are only available through local fundraisers, a tradition that Ken and Marlene started. Over seventy-five independent dealerships across the United States represent Country Maid fundraising products. Each dealer services a different territory and carries unique products and flavor line-ups. Country Maid and its dealer network have helped thousands of groups raise over $280 million for local causes.