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Wadena County business retention and expansion strategies program

Wadena County scenic view

Key findings and results

  • The Wadena County BRE leadership team and task force surveyed 98 businesses at 97 locations from February to April 2019.
    • Out of the 97 businesses included in the data set, 90 percent were locally owned. Only 28 percent of the businesses reported having another location outside of Wadena County.
    • More than a quarter of the surveyed businesses (28 percent) classify themselves in retail, 14 percent in manufacturing, 11 percent in accommodations/food, and 9 percent in health care/social service.
    • Surveyed businesses estimate that 93 percent of their workers travel no longer than 30 minutes to their jobs in Wadena County.
  • The Wadena County BRE task force developed five priority projects:
    • Improving community promotions
    • Cultivating entrepreneurship
    • Employee cooperative training
    • Entrepreneur business planning
    • Promoting “out of the box” childcare solutions

About this report

Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) is an essential element of local economic development efforts. BRE strategy focuses on the retention and expansion of existing businesses to assist them in navigating today’s global economy.  Economic development leaders and community volunteers have worked together since the summer of 2018 to make the BRE program happen in Wadena County.  Several sponsoring organizations and cities contributed resources to the program.

Wadena County, in launching this BRE program, has the potential to improve the climate for existing businesses and, therefore, benefit from the continued presence and growth of these businesses. They may also benefit from a survey that provides information on their community’s strengths and weaknesses. Further, the process may enhance the team of local leaders. The Wadena County BRE program has three objectives:

  • Enhance communication
  • Demonstrate support for local businesses and solve immediate business concerns
  • Identify priorities for economic development

The data, analysis, and findings described in this report are specific to the geography, time frame, and project requirements of Wadena County, Minnesota. Findings are not transferable to other jurisdictions. 

Read full report (PDF)

Author(s)

Michael Darger

Reviewed in 2020

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