April 16, 2007

Economic Development Partnership promotes Wright County to businesses

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Economic Development Partnership of Wright County offers assistance to businesses interested in locating in Wright County.

The county and its 16 cities are organized to offer financing assistance, workforce development, site location, and other resources for businesses. Janice Severson of Cokato is on the board of directors for the partnership, as well as Wright County Commissioner Pat Sawatzke.

The expansion of Olsen Chain & Cable in Cokato, and the growth of Dura Supreme in Howard Lake, are examples of the strength of manufacturing in Wright County, according to the partnership’s executive director, Noel LaBine. They are thriving despite weaknesses in the housing and auto sectors nationwide, he said.

Olsen Chain & Cable, which employs 50 people, moved into a new and bigger building at 310 1st St., in December in the industrial park on the north side of Cokato, according to company president, Dave Camp. The partnership intends to set up a tour in Olsen Chain & Cable after the move is complete.

Camp said the company, which manufactures hoists and tools, has been moving gradually so not to disrupt or delay its customers’ orders. He expects the move will be complete from its former location at 300 1st St. E., in mid-May, he said.

Dura Supreme, which employs 700, builds cabinets primarily used in residences.

“Apparently, their product is in demand for remodeling jobs, because with the large decrease in new home construction, how else could you explain expansion in the demand for their product?” said LaBine in the partnership’s April newsletter.

The partnership has 345 individuals involved in networking with community leaders from Wright County, developers, contractors, Realtors, and city representatives.

Upcoming events sponsored by the partnership are a “Retail Analysis of Wright County,” Wednesday, April 25 at 11:30 a.m. at the Cinemagic Theater of St. Michael; and “The Status of Industrial Park Properties in Wright County and the Region,” on Wednesday, May 16, at 11:30 a.m. in Rockwoods of Otsego.

Recent partnership events were a 2007 Area Job Fair March 20 at the Monticello High School, and a “Transportation Plans for Wright County” seminar at the Silver Springs Golf Course in Monticello.

The partnership achieved one of its goals March 27, to have the Wright County Board of Commissioners raise the cap on the enterprise loan fund. Eligible businesses can receive up to $50,000 for use of this fund, which include uses for permanent working capital.

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