Some of the more commonly asked questions relating to the EDA…
What actually is economic development?
Economic Development essentially is just maintaining and growing our local economy. Ultimately, businesses pay all the bills. Not only do they pay taxes, but they create jobs that allow every individual to pay their taxes as well – along with their mortgage, transportation, medical care, grocery bill and so forth. Because of this, we put a lot of effort into taking care of our business community and helping it to grow.
What is Hutchinson’s economic development strategy?
- Take care of our existing business base
- Maintain a strong downtown
- Be ready for opportunities when they present themselves – i.e. have readily available what companies are looking for. (industrial park space, building space, project financing, trained workforce, and so forth.)
- Exploit technology – maximize use of the internet for marketing
- Reinforce success – take advantage of the fact that we are a center of high-tech precision manufacturing.
- Be progressive & proactive
- Capitalize on emerging trends – renewable energy & the biosciences
- Emphasize our strengths:
- Skilled workforce development
- Ridgewater College
- Outstanding workforce
- Existing business base
- Proximity to Twin Cities
- Outstanding park system
- Progressive community
- Awesome collaboration between the EDA, Chamber, College, school district, business community & City.
Why is Hutchinson “Minnesota’s Manufacturing City?”
Hutchinson is Minnesota’s manufacturing city for three reasons:
- We’re home to the largest 3M manufacturing plant in the USA!
- About one-third of our local workforce is engaged in manufacturing occupations. To the best of our knowledge, that’s the highest ratio of any city in Minnesota.
- Hutchinson is home to an “industry cluster” (Porter, 1990) of precision, high-tech manufacturing, with nearly 30 companies producing goods that are shipped all over the world. Manufacturing is what we do, it’s our heritage, and it’s our future!
What does the Hutchinson EDA do?
At its most basic level, our goal is to create jobs, raise incomes and expand the city’s tax base. To achieve those goals, we are engaged in the following activities:
- Business Retention & Expansion: taking care of our existing businesses
- Grow new companies in our small business incubator
- Recruit new manufacturers to our community
- Promote & facilitate Downtown Redevelopment
- Grant writing
- Market the city for economic development
- Provide staff support for the Hutchinson Downtown Association
What are some of the projects the EDA has worked on?
- State Theatre restoration
- Jorgensen Hotel restoration
- Cornerstone Commons redevelopment
- Downtown Streetscape
- Liquor Hutch Expansion
- Obtained over $5 million in grants for the city
- Recruited Warrior Manufacturing
- Recruited Customer Elation
- Recruited NuCrane Manufacturing
- Recruited Laser Dynamics
- Recruited UPONOR
- Recruited FireLake Manufacturing
- Recruited Zephyr Wind Services
- Recruited Rite-Way Conveyors
- Built the Hutchinson Enterprise Center, our small business incubator
- Established EDA web-page to market the city for economic development
- Redevelopment of old Cenex fertilizer plant on 3rd Ave. NW
- Removal & redevelopment of old Pet Clinic site downtown (now Gateway Park)
- Redevelopment of the old Medical Clinic site on Franklin Street
- Redeveloped the old rail Depot site (now Depot Marketplace)
- Built the Farmer’s Market pavilion
- Established the Farmer’s Market as its own non-profit organization
- Added 40+ acres to the Hutchinson Industrial Park
- And more!
Why can’t we get a Kohl’s?
We’ve had conversations with Kohl’s to try to get them to locate to Hutchinson and they feel strongly that their customers will come to them (in St. Cloud, Willmar or the Twin Cities), so they don’t see a need to locate here. (We don’t like that answer either!)
Why doesn’t the EDA recruit a (pick any retail chain)?
Retail stores almost exclusively make their location decisions based on demographics. For them it’s about population. Each time Hutchinson crosses another population threshold, a new wave of retailers will come to town. When we cross 15,000 population a new group of retailers will arrive. To get an idea of what’s coming to Hutchinson in the future, take a look at Willmar (population 18,000 +) and note what retailers they have that we don’t. This will give you an idea of what retailers will arrive in our community as the population grows from where we are now to 18,000.
Can I get free money?
No – we don’t have any free money available.
How is the EDA organized?
The EDA is governed by a 7-member Board of Directors that is appointed by the City Council. The Board of Directors is comprised of two city council members and five people from our business community. The General Manager of Hutchinson Utilities serves as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Board. The EDA is considered part of the city, although it is a separate legal entity and has its own source of revenue.
Where do I go to get help starting a business?
Give us a call at 320.234.4223 and we’ll get you on your way.
What do you do for existing businesses?
We provide technical assistance and have a variety of financial assistance programs available. Taking care of our existing business community is our top priority!
What is the difference between the EDA and the Chamber of Commerce?
The Chamber emphasizes providing services (such as seminars, networking & marketing) to our existing business community as well as marketing the community and promoting tourism in our area. The Hutchinson Area Chamber works with the city and EDA to help promote a better economic climate for existing and start-up businesses.
The EDA is much more project oriented – focusing on growing the city’s overall economy.
How are you funded?
The Hutchinson EDA is funded through a city-wide tax levy that is authorized each year by the City Council. The EDA tax rate is 1.525%, which, for a typical house, works out to about $16 per year.
Why the emphasis on business retention & expansion?
There are two reasons:
- The number one source of new job creation in any community is its existing business base.
- We feel the best way to market the city and attract new manufacturers is to have a very happy set of well-satisfied customers – making our existing companies partners with us in promoting the community.
What is an “industry cluster?”
Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter popularized the concept of “industry clusters” in his 1990 book The Competitive Advantage of Nations. An industry cluster forms when sufficient resources and knowledge amass in a particular location (like Hutchinson!) that it gains a sustainable, decisive competitive advantage over other locations. According to Dr. Porter, industry clusters yield three distinct advantages:
- Companies in the cluster enjoy increased productivity
- There are higher levels of innovation within the cluster
- New business creation is stimulated.