News

A tangled web of trade and tariffs: Speakers in Willmar discuss Minnesota impact, especially on agriculture

September 21, 2018

A tangled web of trade and tariffs: Speakers in Willmar discuss Minnesota impact, especially on agriculture
WILLMAR — Minnesota is a major player in both domestic and international trade. For businesses, producers, manufacturers and consumers, the recent trade disputes with many of the United States’ trading partners have caused questions and concerns to arise. “There have been a lot of questions about what all this means,” said Ken Warner, president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. In hopes of answering some of those queries and providing education on a very complex

Spurs Grill & Bar opens in downtown Willmar: Dream come true for owner

September 19, 2018

Spurs Grill & Bar opens in downtown Willmar: Dream come true for owner
The opening of Spurs Grill & Bar in downtown Willmar took about three years longer than expected, but the wait has been worth it for owner and operator Esperanza Aydee Lopez. “It’s a dream come true,” said Lopez. “I’m very excited to bring unique dishes to Willmar.” Lopez, 41, has worked in food service most of her life but this is her first venture as a restaurant owner. Located at 313 Fourth St. S.W. in a 1937-era Art Deco building known as Historic 313

15th Street Flats expected to break ground next month

August 24, 2018

15th Street Flats expected to break ground next month
WILLMAR—The way is clear for Commonwealth Development to break ground 15th Street Flats, the new multi-unit housing project which will offer 47 apartments for a wide range of Willmar renters. The Willmar City Council this week approved the tax increment financing development agreement between the city and developer, the last step before construction. “They hope to break ground next month,” said Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development Services director, speaking at Monday’s

Lack of child care a barrier to economic development

August 21, 2018

Lack of child care a barrier to economic development
WILLMAR—Not having enough safe, affordable and accessible child care facilities is being tagged as a growing barrier to economic development in west central Minnesota, including Kandiyohi County where it’s estimated another 776 child care slots are currently needed. Businesses that struggle to find workers because potential employees are unable to find child care—and child care providers who struggle to stay in business because of regulations and employee pay—are major components of a growing

Greater Minnesota cities struggle to sustain their oldest homes—but loans and education are helping

August 20, 2018

Greater Minnesota cities struggle to sustain their oldest homes—but loans and education are helping
On a hot August morning, in one of Willmar’s oldest neighborhoods, stucco bungalows, ramblers and an American Foursquare here and there stand under the shade of massive trees, set close together, bordered by sidewalks. It’s a charming scene, at first glance, yet many of these homes clearly need repair. “It’s the oldest housing stock in town,” said Jill Bengtson, the executive director of the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Many of the homes are owned by low-income

Major Willmar Industrial Park development proposed, possible package sorting and distribution center

August 20, 2018

Major Willmar Industrial Park development proposed, possible package sorting and distribution center
WILLMAR—A yet-to-be named business is interested in constructing a package sorting and distribution center in the Willmar Industrial Park, a business which could bring dozens of new jobs. “They haven’t released the name, but you have heard of it. It is not going to be a secret; they are a big player,” said Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development Services director, addressing Monday’s meeting of the Willmar City Council. “They will be running loads of product

That #KanDo Mentality That Can Only Mean Success

August 14, 2018

That #KanDo Mentality That Can Only Mean Success
For almost 15 years, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) has been working hard to serve as a catalyst for economic growth in its region.  In 2017, Business in Focus took a closer look at this dynamic organization and all of the great initiatives the EDC was working on in partnership with other sectors to make the City and County a vibrant and attractive place to live and do business.  Read the entire article on the EDC and Kandiyohi County featured in

Crews make headway on Glacial Lakes Trail

August 10, 2018

NEW LONDON—Construction and development of the Glacial Lakes Trail and it’s 6.5 mile extension from New London into Sibley State Park continues to progress as scheduled with several key milestones recently reached. Last week construction crews installed a box culvert (a concrete tunnel) at the intersection of Highway 71 and County Road 40, which will allow those using the trail to pass safely beneath the roadway rather than risk crossing the heavily trafficked roadway. The tunnel runs diagonally

Workshop: Talent & Technology for the Progressive Farm Manager

August 9, 2018

Workshop: Talent & Technology for the Progressive Farm Manager
This two-part workshop brought to you by the EDC’s Ag and Renewable Energy Development Committee to help our progressive farm managers grow smarter and stronger. This workshop features two dynamic sessions on talent and technology. SCHEDULE: 7:30 – 9:30AM | Attracting, retaining and managing your ag labor workforce. Plus, the latest changes to the employment regulatory environment. Speakers | Mike Henke, Mike Henke Inc. and Kristie Haefner, Firm Administrator & Lead HR Consultant

Willmar council OKs steps to accept $1.2M rehab grant

August 6, 2018

Willmar council OKs steps to accept $1.2M rehab grant
WILLMAR—Homes located on the northside of downtown Willmar and businesses within the downtown business district will soon be able to apply for no-interest, deferred loans for eligible rehabilitation projects. The city’s application for a Small Cities block grant of $1,205,177 was approved earlier this summer by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “This project is for assisting homeowners and business in the downtown area on district heat, to help them with