East Grand Forks fares well in Grow Minnesota report

As announced last May, the Chamber and the East Grand Forks EDA partnered with Grow Minnesota!, a distinctive business retention and assistance program led by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Barry Wilfahrt of the Chamber and Paul Gorte of the EDA visited 13 EGF businesses during the summer.  The businesses reflect a cross-section of employers with a business focus that expands beyond the local area.  They are pleased to announce their findings.

In general the findings are highly favorable to East Grand Forks but express reservations about the business climate, tax structure, and regulatory environment in Minnesota on a statewide level.

East Grand Forks is a stable, locally controlled business environment.  In general there is room to meet the current need and to expand.

Local companies are diversifying and doing quite well. The report showed that nine out of the 13 companies had plans for new investments and expansion, with seven of those investing in their current location.

Workforce demand continues to grow, which Wilfahrt highlighted at Tuesday’s EDA meeting. He also highlighted the ned to invest in the industrial park in EGF, which has already been integrated as part of the capital improvement plan for the city.

Workforce development must be a priority for future growth and expansion. EGF companies are in a growth mode and have plans for new investments.

The companies shared their thoughts about the State and local area. They are concerned with the business climate in Minnesota. The companies talked about Minnesota taxes, Workers’ Compensation rates, minimum wage, State mandates, higher taxes resulting from the reassessments in Polk County, and the regulatory climate, specifically MCPA. In contrast, EGF fared well.

The companies talked about the need for another bridge. Council member Mike Pokzwynski highlighted that need at the EDA meeting Tuesday afternoon. “If anybody wants to know the future of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks without adequate river crossings, all you have to do is look at what happened this weekend when the Kennedy Bridge was closed…The transportation system failed,” stated Pokzwynski.

They praised employee and community loyalty. They noted City Hall is responsive. The companies said East Grand Forks is a solid community to do business in. They also noted the challenges of the weather. In short, they look favorably on East Grand Forks.

The report will also be presented to the City Council to consider. For more information, contact the Chamber directly at 701-772-7271 or barry@gochamber.org.

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