economic development

Willmar joins Highway 23 Coalition seeking funds to close four-lane gaps

August 30, 2017

Willmar joins Highway 23 Coalition seeking funds to close four-lane gaps
WILLMAR—The city of Willmar has officially joined the Highway 23 Coalition. “This has been a long-term project,” said Councilor Kathy Schwantes. While the coalition has been in existence for several years now, there has been a recent push to become more formally organized in an attempt to persuade the state to approve money for state Highway 23 projects. “The coalition has been seeking state funding to complete the two four-lane gaps on Highway 23 between Willmar and I-94,”

Two more Kwik Trips possible in Willmar

August 28, 2017

Two more Kwik Trips possible in Willmar
WILLMAR—Kwik Trip is continuing its planned expansion into Willmar. The Willmar Planning Commission last week conducted three public hearings tied to two new gas station and convenience stores. The commission approved conditional use permits for gas sales, but some further actions are still required. Both of the planned stores would be on redeveloped land left vacant after Mills Auto moved to the south side of Willmar. One Kwik Trip is planned on property located along the west side of First Street

Simply Shrimp: Blomkest farmer raises saltwater shrimp in former dairy calving barn

August 14, 2017

Simply Shrimp: Blomkest farmer raises saltwater shrimp in former dairy calving barn
BLOMKEST—When the Damhof family of Blomkest retired from the dairy business after 50 years of milking cows earlier this year, they didn’t retire from raising livestock completely. Today, instead of Holstein dairy cows filling the barns, there are now tens of thousands of Pacific white shrimp being raised in what was once a calving barn. “It has been very rewarding, very successful,” said Paul Damhof, who founded and is running Simply Shrimp LLC. Assisting him are members of his

Industrial Park land write-down policy amended

August 9, 2017

Industrial Park land write-down policy amended
WILLMAR—Those interested in purchasing land in the Willmar Industrial Park 3rd and 4th Additions, and using the city’s Industrial Land Pricing Write-Down policy to reduce the purchase price, will have to put a little more money into their land purchase starting Jan. 1. The Willmar City Council amended the policy Monday and set the maximum allowed write-down credit at 75 percent of the stated price of the property. The existing policy had no such cap and said only that the write-down could

Survey provides picture of ethnic businesses in Willmar

August 8, 2017

Survey provides picture of ethnic businesses in Willmar
WILLMAR—A recent survey indicates about 12 percent of all the businesses in Willmar are owned by minorities. The survey also indicates that the new Americans who own nearly 70 businesses currently operating in Willmar view the town favorably—calling it safe and quiet. Conducted by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Authority and funded with a grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation, the survey provides the community’s first solid look at diverse businesses

Construction begins at Kandi Mall in Willmar

June 19, 2017

Construction begins at Kandi Mall in Willmar
WILLMAR—There is movement at the Kandi Mall, as a construction crew has begun digging into the parking lot, to make room for a new retail building. This additional building is part of the larger renovation project being planned by mall owner RockStep Capital. This new retail space will be located between Tires Plus and the former Pizza Hut. It will have three units for tenants. The end caps will be 3,500 square feet and 1,800 feet, with the middle unit coming in at 1,200 square feet. Willmar Planning

Schwieters Chevrolet building new dealership in Willmar

June 17, 2017

Schwieters Chevrolet building new dealership in Willmar
WILLMAR—Schwieters Chevrolet in Willmar is planning to build a new dealership along the south side of Willmar Avenue adjacent to Lakeland Drive Southeast. The dealership will be relocating to the new site from its present location on First Street South. “It is going to give us better opportunity,” Schwieters Managing Partner Bill Zastrow said. The dealership’s current site is very cramped, so the new location will allow the business to spread out. Schwieters has seen consistent

Industrial Park business agreements approved

June 15, 2017

Industrial Park business agreements approved
WILLMAR—Public hearings regarding land sales and business agreements were held during last Monday’s city council Monday, as the final steps before two development projects can begin in the Industrial Park. ISCO Inc., a parent company of Buhler-Versatile is purchasing a 5.9 acre plot of land located directly south of the Bühler manufacturing facility in the Industrial Park. The company plans to build a warehouse on the lot. The starting sale price of the land was set at $322,807. However,

1000 Degrees fires up pizza in Willmar

June 13, 2017

1000 Degrees fires up pizza in Willmar
WILLMAR—Not only does the oven at 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria actually cook the pies at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, there are literally thousands of pizza combinations possible—between 33,000 and 34,000 to be exact. “There is no shortage of pizza,” owner Carl Lindblad said. Carl owns the restaurant with his wife, Courtney Lindblad, and the two are excited to be opening the first 1000 Degree franchise in Minnesota in Willmar, only a short distance from their native Benson. “That

Clock is ticking on broadband sign-ups in Kandiyohi County

June 12, 2017

Clock is ticking on broadband sign-ups in Kandiyohi County
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Commissioners had an urgent message Tuesday for property owners in a Consolidated Telecommunications Co. broadband project zone: The clock is ticking. Customer sign-ups reached 72 percent of the goal this week. But another 220 or so are needed before Consolidated Telecommunications can start construction of a fiber line poised to bring high-speed internet to rural north central Kandiyohi County. The longer it takes to reach the sign-up goal, the greater the likelihood