News & Events

Development director asks Wadena institutions to promote each other

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mark Hanson has a unique plan to promote Wadena. The director of the West Central Economic Development Alliance - a Sebeka-based organization dedicated to improving the region’s business climate - is asking area restaurants, service providers, stores, schools and non-profit organizations to harness the power of social media to promote each other. Hanson will explain the specifics of his plan during informational meetings at 7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Pizza Ranch. He’s hoping to get 32 entities to show up.   In order to succeed, “businesses need to work together,” Hanson said, . The idea is straightforward: Each week, all...
The Everywhere Economy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Everywhere Economy The growth of e-commerce connects Central Minnesota with revenue from around the world When Tom Smude registered the internet domain name for the start-up sunflower oil operation he and his wife launched in 2010, the Pierz farmer knew far more about tractor engine tuning than search engine optimization. “Computers weren’t really my thing,” said Smude, a life-long family farmer, cattle rancher and John Deere dealer. “Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—I didn’t know much about any of that.” But with the first batch of his family’s bottled cold-pressed sunflower oil about to go to market, Smude knew they needed an online calling card where...
Economic Development in Wadena County

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

County Economic Development Wadena County Townships, as stated by Wadena County Assessor, Lee Brekke, have a total of 137 commercial properties with a total market value of $5,912,500.   Each of these 137 commercial properties pays property tax, and to lose even one business would increase the tax burden to everyone in Wadena County.  Conversely, any new business choosing to locate within the boundaries of Wadena County would lower the tax burden.    Rural communities throughout Wadena County and Aldrich Township to Wing River Township have many distinctive assets that can provide a basis for economic development activities. Natural amenities such as lakes, rivers, forests, wildlife...
'Made in Minnesota' Directory Showcases Local Manufacturers

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Article By: Fridley Patch  |  James Warden Patch’s interactive map highlights Minnesota companies featured in a database that connects companies with neighboring businesses. Those “Made in the U.S.A.” tags just got a little more local. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has put together a Made in Minnesota directory that showcases manufacturers in the Land of 10,000 Lakes “who make everything from food products and textiles to fabricated metals, machinery, computers and electronics,” according to DEED. The goal of the supply chain database is to help companies get together with other businesses in their own communities, regions and state. The map above...
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Smart Rural Community

Monday, November 04, 2013

      NTCA Recognizes Smart Rural Communities Contributing to Vitality of Small-Town America Broadband providers honored for efforts to deliver advanced technologies that enable innovations in agriculture, health care, public safety and education CHICAGO, Ill. (September 16, 2013) – NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier national association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies, today recognized seven communities in rural areas of the United States that have earned the title Smart Rural Community as part of a first-of-its-kind initiative to highlight efforts that make rural hometowns vibrant places in which to live and do business.   The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to...
DEED unveils Made in Minnesota directory

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has released a Made in Minnesota Directory. The directory is a free, online database of products and supplies made in Minnesota. DEED launched the database to encourage Minnesota companies to do business with each other, rather than with out-of-state or foreign companies. About 600 firms are in the database. I ran a quick search of "plastic injection molding" in the database and came up with 39 listings, each with a contact name, number and email as well as a description of the company, list of its top products, when it was founded and how many...
Forbes: MN Ranks No. 8 in "Best States for Business"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Article By: CBS Minnesota  |  WCCO   MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota has been ranked eighth on the “Forbes 2013 List of the Best States for Business,” which is a jump of 12 spots from last year, according to the publication. Forbes says Minnesota’s overall 2013 ranking was the biggest improvement of any state in the eighth-annual study. The study looks at six key metrics: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. In those metrics, Minnesota ranked fifth in quality of life, ninth in economic climate, 13th in growth prospects, 18th in labor supply, 22nd in regulatory environment...
Job Vacancies Hit 12-Year High in Second Quarter

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Article By: Positively Minnesota   Minnesota employers report 72,570 openings, up 15.3 percent from a year ago   ST. PAUL – Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed to their highest level in 12 years in the second quarter, with employers reporting 72,570 openings, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Vacancies were up 15.3 percent from the same period a year ago, when employers reported nearly 63,000 openings. There were 2.1 unemployed people for each vacancy during the quarter, compared with 2.6 unemployed people per vacancy a year earlier. “This increase in job vacancy numbers offers fresh evidence that the...
County Board Approves WCEDA as its Economic Development Alliance

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Article by: Review Messenger-Matthew Johnson The Wadena County Board of Commissioners has chosen West Central Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) to represent county interests related to economic development. Mark Hanson, economic development director for WCEDA, requested the county’s support following his presentation about WCEDA during the board’s Tuesday, August 6, regular monthly meeting. Commissioner Rodney Bounds had spoken with Hanson at an economic development meeting in Sebeka and invited him to address the county board. “So, today, what I’m really looking for is an endorsement, saying we are your economic development alliance for the county,” Hanson said. He said he could help collaborate on...
Growers & Consumers Seek Better Market for Produce

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Article By: Wadena Pioneer Journal   |   John R. Stone   Would having a hub that better linked local produce growers and consumers provide a better market for producers and better service for consumers?
Minnesota Destinations: Park Rapids - Governor's Fishing Opener

Monday, May 06, 2013

Article By: Echo Press   |   Douglas County The 66th Annual Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held in the Park Rapids Lakes Area Friday and Saturday, May 10-11. Governor Mark Dayton, his staff and Explore Minnesota chose the Park Rapids Lakes Area to host the 2013 Governor’s Fishing Opener.   Travel: Explore the 500+ clean, clear lakes of the Park Rapids area Park Rapids is the ultimate tourist destination with its endless recreational opportunities and lakes, friendly people and outdoors activities. It is known as the Gateway to Itasca State Park because of its proximity to the park, located 19 miles north on Highway...
Businesses Are Invited!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Menahga Business Retention and Expansion team will sponsor a series of morning roundtable discussions on the third Wednesday of each month, beginning on Wednesday, April 17th. The discussions will be at 10 am at the Cottage House Café. Local residents and businesses are invited to share thoughts and ideas about enhancing Menahga’s business community. What role should business take in our community, and how can we help? What kinds of new businesses would you support? With spring and summer around the corner, now is a good time to hear your new ideas. Mark Hanson, a Wadena County Small Business Development...
School cafeterias may switch to locally grown foods

Monday, March 04, 2013

By: Zach Kayser   |   Wadena Pioneer Journal   During lunchtime, kids at area schools may soon be eating food grown on nearby farms. That’s because school officials have met with Arlene Jones, owner of foods distribution company Sprout, LLC. Jones, who also owns her own farm, “The Farm on St. Mathias,” visited Wadena on Feb. 22 to meet with both the food service supervisor and school nurse from Sebeka Schools, as well as the dean of M State, to discuss the possibility of bringing food from local farms to serve on campus. The project would involve either an expansion of Sprout to cover the...
In Rural Minnesota, a 70-Acre Lab for Sustainable Living

Monday, January 14, 2013

By BRYN NELSON A view from a lower window of the Old Main building, constructed from straw bales and cob, toward two energy-efficient rental units on the Hunt Utilities Group campus.   Paul Hunt still remembers the dilemma that he and his wife, Lynn, faced in early January 2010 at their home in rural north-central Minnesota. The couple had just moved into their ultra-efficient house, on the outskirts of Pine River, population 944, but still lacked a thermostat and were about to go out of town for more than two days. It was bitterly cold, and an exterior sensor, one of the many dotting...
Wadena County Welcomes New EDA Director

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wadena County Welcomes New Economic Development Director Sebeka, MN – Businesses looking to start, relocate, or expand in the Wadena county area now have a new full-time dedicated resource to assist in the process.   Mark Hanson, Economic Development Director for the West Central Economic Development Alliance, has recently relocated to the area and has quickly taken on several business and community projects, ranging from a dynamic regional web portal for attracting new businesses, to one-on-one consulting with existing area businesses.  He is also collaborating with other economic developers throughout West Central Minnesota to create a more vibrant and economically resilient region. In addition,...
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CLC is a Partner in $3 Million Grant to Train Manufacturing Technicians

Sunday, July 01, 2012

CLC and Center of Excellence partners receive $3 million grant Goal: Highly trained manufacturing technicians. Central Lakes College (CLC), Brainerd and Staples, is a partner in a regional center of excellence receiving nearly $3 million to educate and train manufacturing technicians. The National Science Foundation is awarding a grant to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence. Since the creation of the Center in 2005, Central Lakes College has been a partnering institution in the 10-school consortium. Business, industry, and higher education leaders were behind the concept to combine resources of strong programs at each of...
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Wadena marks two years since tornado strike

Friday, June 15, 2012

By Renee Richardson Senior reporter It’s been two years to the day since a tornado cut a path through Wadena neighborhoods, destroying homes, devastating parks and dealing a mortal blow to the high school. The community continues to move forward in its recovery. Just after 5 p.m. on June 17, 2010, an EF4 tornado, the second-strongest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, ripped a path of destruction across Wadena. To read the full article from the Brainerd Dispatch click here »
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

  Entrepreneur workshops learn how to effectively market your business on the Web Location: Hub 71 Restaurant 3 US HWY 71 South, Sebeka, MN 56477 Time: 10:00-2:30pm Cost:  Free Cost:  FREE     WORKSHOP 1 - April 13th Learn the basic components of website design and what should be included in your website in order to attract customers.  Participants will also learn the basics of search engine marketing and how to optimize their website to achieve higher rankings on search engines, such as Google.   WORKSHOP 2 - April 27th Learn how to use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and other valuable social media to market your business.           
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1st in 5-Year Business Survival Rate (Bureau of Labor Analysis, 2012-2017)

Business Survival Rate
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Best-Run State in America (24/7 Wall Street/USA Today, 2017)

Best-Run State
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Happiest State in the U.S. (MagnifyMoney, 2018)

Happiest State
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2nd Best State Overall (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)

Best State Overall
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1st Best State for Women (WalletHub, 2017; Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2015)

Best State for Women
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Happiest – and Least Stressed – State in the Country (WalletHub, 2017)

Least Stressed
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1st in Quality of Life (Forbes, 2017)

Quality of Life