Some of the more commonly asked questions relating to the EDA (along with answers!)

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 the 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?
1.) Take care of our existing business base
2.) Maintain a strong downtown
3.) 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.)
4.) Exploit technology – maximize use of the internet for marketing
5.) Reinforce success – take advantage of the fact that we are a center of high-tech precision manufacturing.
6.) Be progressive & proactive
7.) Capitalize on emerging trends – renewable energy & the biosciences
8.) Emphasize our strengths:

a. Ridgewater College
b. Outstanding workforce
c. Existing business base
d. Proximity to Twin Cities
e. Outstanding park system
f. Progressive community



Why is Hutchinson “Minnesota’s Manufacturing City?”

Hutchinson is Minnesota’s manufacturing city because nearly 45% of our local workforce is engaged in manufacturing occupations, virtually the highest percentage of any city in the state. Combine that with the fact that we have an “industry cluster” of precision, high-tech manufacturers, and it becomes clear that Hutchinson really is Minnesota’s manufacturing city – it’s 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 program – taking care of our existing businesses
• Recruit new business to the community
• Promote & facilitate Downtown Redevelopment
• Grant writing
• Clean-up & Redevelopment projects
• Marketing the city
• Internship Program
• Provide staff support for restoration of the Herrington-Merrill House
• Provide staff support for the Hutchinson Downtown Association

° Assist with downtown promotions
° Coordinate the Farmer’s Market
° Coordinate operation of the Popcorn Wagon

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 $2,871,000 in grants for the city
• Recruited Warrior Manufacturing
• Recruited Customer Elation
• Established EDA web-page
• Obtained JOBZ designation for the city
• Redevelopment of old Cenex fertilizer plant
• Removal & redevelopment of old Pet Clinic site downtown
• Recruited NuCrane Manufacturing
• Industrial Park Expansion
• Many more!
What is the HCDC and how is it connected to the EDA?
The Hutchinson Community Development Commission (HCDC) is the predecessor to the Economic Development Authority (EDA). The HCDC no longer exists in any formal fashion.
Why can’t we get a Kohl’s or Herberger’s?
We’ve had conversations with both Kohl’s and Herberger’s to try to get them to locate to Hutchinson. In both cases 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.
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 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. Our top priority is taking care of our existing business community.
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 doesn’t the EDA get the former Office Max & Cub Foods building filled?
There are multiple reasons:

• First, more than anything else, it is population (which we have limited control over) that brings retailers to town.
• Second, the economic development incentives we have are primarily geared towards manufacturing and related areas. We just don’t have that much available for retail-type businesses.
• Third, there are certain restrictions on the buildings themselves that limits what type of businesses can locate there.
• Fourth, there is a long-term lease in place on the Cub Foods building, so the owner has no real incentive to get it filled. They are already getting rent each month.
• Fifth, the owner of the Office Max building and the current tenant of the Cub Foods building (they rent it but don’t occupy it) have contracted with national-level commercial real-estate firms in an effort to find tenants. Over 100 regional and national retailers have been contacted thus far – without success.
• Having said all that,

° The EDA does market both buildings and is doing everything in its power to find tenants – we’re just limited in what we can add to the overall effort.
° Hopefully the arrival of Best Buy will spark renewed interest in one or both of those buildings. There are a lot of retailers that would love to be next door to Best Buy.

Why did Best Buy opt to build new rather than occupy one of the existing buildings next to Target?
Best Buy wanted to have a completely state-of-the-art, energy-efficient & environmentally friendly building.



Why the emphasis on business retention & expansion?
There are two reasons:
1. The number one source of new job creation in any community is its existing business base.
2. We feel that the best “marketing campaign” of all is a well satisfied customer!



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: 1) Companies in the cluster enjoy increased productivity; there are higher levels of innovation within the cluster, and; 3) new business creation is stimulated.