Fairmont, Minnesota: Growing Side By Side

Agribusiness, manufacturing and distribution are thriving shoulder-to-shoulder in Fairmont, a rural gem in south central Minnesota.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2019 Issue

The City of Fairmont is located in south central Minnesota, right on I-90, which provides access to Interstate 35, Des Moines, Sioux Falls and Chicago. Powered by a mix of agricultural and industrial businesses like 3M, CHS, Green Plains Renewables, Advanced Drainage Systems, Kahler Automation and Avery Weigh Tronix; Fairmont has become one of the state’s leading agricultural communities. “The City has a strong history of manufacturing and distribution, which has continued to grow with large expansions of Fairmont Foods and Zierke Built Manufacturing in the last year,” says Linsey Preuss, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Fairmont.

Fairmont, Minnesota
Zierke Built Manufacturing (fuel tank welding, pictured) opened in 2017 in a former US Foods warehouse. (Photo: Fairmont Sentinel)

Fairmont is positioned to offer competitive incentives and as a rural community, Fairmont can extend additional opportunities such as customized training opportunities and workforce attraction programs. “We believe that strong partnerships strengthen our community and allow us the privilege of doing things no other community can do,” says Preuss. “An example of this is the recent reinvigoration of our high school’s welding and agricultural academies as many organizations and businesses helped to make it happen,” she added. The Fairmont Economic Development Authority (FEDA) and Fairmont Area Chamber oversee a program helping young people and their parents understand that careers and financial assistance for training is available locally in fields students are interested in.

The City of Fairmont owns a 75,000-square-foot virtual spec building which is expandable to 100,000 square feet; it has been through all the building plan reviews and is ready for construction. These building plans have already been used and have saved expanding companies thousands of dollars.

Fairmont has an established industrial park of which 18 acres are certified shovel ready by the State of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. Another option coming soon will be a 40-acre site right off Interstate 90. The City owns an option to purchase and is currently working on making the site shovel ready. Fairmont offers project based land grants, as well as TIF and tax abatement incentives.

Fairmont’s target industries are agribusiness, metal fabrication, manufacturing and distribution. “Agribusiness is one of our targets because we are the state’s largest producer of hogs and corn and in the top ten for soybeans and cattle,” Preuss says. “We have a number of metal fabricators that have been able to take advantage of our current workforce skill sets and our distribution companies capitalize on Fairmont’s immediate access to I-90 and being in close proximity to I-35 and I-29.”

The community driven Fairmont Area Life campaign is actively recruiting workforce to our area through its online and social media presence. Its approach includes a team of professionals to help those who are interested in relocating to Martin County get connected with local schools, employers and realtors to answer any questions newcomers or potential newcomers might have.

As far as qualify of life goes, many communities tout it, but Fairmont lives it by featuring five lakes, over 500 acres of parkland including an aquatic park, a dog park, and two 18-hole golf courses, 36 holes of disc golf and breathtaking trail systems. We also present great ways to take in arts and culture with the Fairmont Opera House and Red Rock Center for the Arts, both offer a variety of art, music, local and professional entertainment.

In 2018, not only did FEDA work with a total of 80 businesses, we have also moved the needle on very important topics such as child care, workforce and housing, and will continue to do so. Significant investments were made in both commercial and residential real estate which speaks volumes about he continued strength and confidence in the economy in the Fairmont area.

Looking forward, 2019 promises to be another strong year of growth in both community and economic development with construction of the new Adventure Playground (an all-inclusive playground), renovation of the old Lincoln School by Southern Plains Educational Cooperative and other significant investments expected to be made by Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center, Great Plains Transportation Services and Hawkins Chevrolet.