By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2021 Issue
A community of nearly 41,000, Hutchinson, KS is affectionately known as “Hutch” or the “Salt City.” Hutchinson has a longstanding reputation as the home to salt mines in the center of Kansas. Hutchinson is proud to be the place where Hollywood and businesses worldwide send their film and records to be safely stored underground with Underground Vaults & Storage. These mines 650 feet under the Kansas prairie are a one-of-a-kind tourist destination, where thousands of annual visitors explore the once bustling active salt mines at the world-renowned Strataca Underground Salt Museum.
Nearby, the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum is the only Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Kansas and is the proud home to flown U.S. spacecraft from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, including the Apollo 13 Command Module, Odyssey.
As the home to the Kansas State Fair for 108 years, Hutchinson becomes the annual mecca for all things fair, food and fun. As a Kansas Main Street community, Downtown Hutch is filled with unique boutiques, restaurants, antique stores and professional offices, in a mixed-use setting that includes historic charm and art deco high-rise and upper-floor loft living.
AN ECONOMICALLY DIVERSE KANSAS COUNTY
The most economically diverse county in Kansas is a place where wind nacelles are being produced at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy; pizza toppings and packaged meats are made at Tyson Foods; and plant-based protein is produced at Kansas Protein Foods under brands such as Kansas Kitchen, Imagic and Ultra-Soy. Agriculture is one of the area’s top industries, including beef, dairy, wheat, sorghum, corn and soybeans.
Warehousing and distribution is a natural fit for the 100 acres of certified shovel-ready sites in the Kansas Enterprise Industrial Park, where nearby commercial grocery giant Kroger’s warehouse operates alongside niche distribution companies such as BOLD 3PL and KMS, and packaging companies like Lawrence Paper Company’s American Packaging division and Sonoco Hutchinson Paper Mill producing packaging products and paper goods.
The area remains home to large equipment producers like Kuhn Krause and Superior Boiler; salt continues to be produced by Cargill Salt, Morton Salt and Hutchinson Salt Company. Proximity to the nearby Wichita aerospace hub means that aviation suppliers abound as well.
Technology and software innovators like Data Center Inc, AgTrax and NMGI have also found their niche in Hutch. Workforce development remains a top priority at Hutchinson Community College (HCC), with over 40 degrees and certifications.
Regional healthcare is the top employment sector in Hutch. In response to the need for mobile testing and vaccine distribution, PrairieStar Health Center CEO Bryant Anderson reached out to Collins Bus Corporation, a maker of school buses in South Hutchinson, to produce a mobile health clinic. The Collins Mobile Clinic features a 7,000-watt generator with battery backup, refrigerators, phlebotomy chair, restroom and exam room for patients.
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