economic development

Reel-Lux is looking forward to bringing a luxury movie experience to Willmar

February 14, 2018

Reel-Lux is looking forward to bringing a luxury movie experience to Willmar
WILLMAR—Reel-Lux Cinemas, once it reopens and renovates the Kandi Mall movie theater, will offer movie goers a luxury theater experience while keeping prices at their current levels. “We will not raise them,” said Reel-Lux Chief Information Officer Joseph Morelli told the West Central Tribune Wednesday. Reel-Lux Cinemas, a new venture in the growing luxury movie theater business, wants to bring theaters with expanded menus and higher-end seating to mid-level markets across the nation,

Aeroponics farm near New London will produce leafy greens year-round

February 13, 2018

Aeroponics farm near New London will produce leafy greens year-round
NEW LONDON—What had been a large, empty pole barn on a farm in rural New London last year is now becoming a climate-controlled maze of computer-operated, high-powered lights and a water misting system housed on a dozen massive stainless steel frames. By early spring, the building will be filled with lush, fresh lettuce and other leafy greens. Grown without soil, pesticides or herbicides, the greens will taste “like a treat,” said Kevin Ortenblad, who along with his wife, Julie, and

Shopping center fills old Willmar furniture store

February 6, 2018

Shopping center fills old Willmar furniture store
WILLMAR—The vision Sahra Gure and Abdirizak “Zack” Mahboub had for a former furniture store is taking shape as the newly opened Midtown Plaza in downtown Willmar. The first two businesses have moved into the building at 313 Litchfield Ave. S.W. Several others have signed leases and are preparing to move. The developer of the small shopping center in the former Erickson Furniture building is New Minnesota Realty of Willmar. Gure and Mahboub, a husband and wife team, own New Minnesota

Creating a Model Citizen: New London brewery expansion includes farm-to-table restaurant

January 29, 2018

Creating a Model Citizen: New London brewery expansion includes farm-to-table restaurant
NEW LONDON—There’s more than just beer brewing at the Goat Ridge Brewing Co. in New London. After 2½ years in business—and following an expansion last year—Goat Ridge is adding another 1,600 square feet onto the business. The addition will create space for an expanded taproom, a bigger brewhouse and a bigger dance floor for their frequent live music shows and space for a farm-to-table restaurant. “It’s a nice fit,” said Josh Reed, who owns Goat Ridge with his wife,

Magnum grows as economy does

January 23, 2018

Magnum grows as economy does
WILLMAR—Over the past several years Fargo, North Dakota-based Magnum, which has had a trucking terminal in Willmar for 15 years, has seen a steady uptick in its local business. As the economy has improved, the number of companies needing shipping assistance has grown. Magnum’s business has increased so much that its building needed to grow along with it. “We’ve grown from six routes a day to 13,” said Kerry Kummrow, Willmar terminal manager. “There was a need for more

Willmar council begins discussion on new city hall

January 18, 2018

Willmar council begins discussion on new city hall
WILLMAR—One of the major projects in the 2018 capital budget for the city of Willmar is a new city hall to replace the current building on Sixth Street Southwest. The 2018 capital plan has $8.5 million for a new city hall, though no actual money has been set aside. There has been discussion about bonding or even using city reserves to pay for it. “All of this is very preliminary. We can’t make a decision on this tonight,” said Councilor Ron Christianson during Tuesday’s

Bonding committee hears ‘the ask’: Willmar area officials request funds for roads, college maintenance projects

January 9, 2018

Bonding committee hears ‘the ask’: Willmar area officials request funds for roads, college maintenance projects
WILLMAR—With millions of state bonding money on the line when the Legislature reconvenes next month, local officials made the case Monday that several area projects should be funded. Members of the Senate Capital Investment Committee began a 12-day tour of the state Monday to hear pitches for projects seeking state funding. During an hour-long stop at Ridgewater College in Willmar, committee members heard about the nuts and bolts of two major road and bridge projects and maintenance projects at

Highlighting Diversity in Kandiyohi County

December 6, 2017

Highlighting Diversity in Kandiyohi County
Willmar is a diverse community with a large Latino and Somali/East African population that is increasingly represented in the business world.  Members of these communities own and operate approximately 12% of businesses in Willmar, as evidenced by a recent Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Survey of diverse businesses undertaken by the EDC. Last fall, the Southwest Initiative Foundation awarded a grant to the EDC to design and implement a BRE program for diverse businesses in the Willmar area.

15th Street Affordable Flats Approved by MN Housing Finance Agency

December 6, 2017

15th Street Affordable Flats Approved by MN Housing Finance Agency
MHFA Approves $15.8 million in Affordable Housing for Willmar On October 19, 2017, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency announced it approved funding for two multi-family affordable housing projects in Willmar—15th Street Flats and Hanson Apartments. The former is a $9.3 million project that involves new construction of a building with 47 rental units on the southeast side of Willmar. The latter is a $6.5 million project that includes acquisition and rehabilitation of 56 rental units in two buildings

West Central Steel’s growth continues: Latest expansion to house parts production

November 28, 2017

West Central Steel’s growth continues: Latest expansion to house parts production
WILLMAR—West Central Steel of Willmar is expanding for the ninth time in its nearly 40-year history, bringing more services to its customers and more jobs to the region. “It has been quite a project,” said Jeff Pattison, president of West Central Steel. The latest project has been in planning for several years, but officially kicked off in fall 2016, when the company obtained over five acres of land next to its current location on U.S. Highway 12 near the Willmar Industrial Park. This