Wadena County is Perfect for Modern Manufacturing

Wadena County is Perfect for Modern Manufacturing Main Photo

23 Oct 2023


Modern manufacturing in 2023 involves the latest technologies to create unique products, requiring innovative thinkers skilled at problem-solving and is considerably different from the perception of monotonous jobs in dirty, dark and dangerous environments. Wadena County is home to manufacturing companies producing goods using the latest technologies and raw materials. October is Manufacturing Month, and we at West Central Economic Development Alliance celebrate these companies’ employment opportunities and innovations that grow our economy.

Modern Manufacturing

Today’s typical manufacturing roles incorporate new technology like artificial intelligence, cloud computing and robotics into existing processes, quality control and problem-solving techniques. Additionally, sustainability is quickly becoming a focused aspect of manufacturing as companies seek to find ways to produce customary items in manners that coexist positively with their natural environment.

“There’s no such thing as a low-skilled job in manufacturing anymore,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said in a 2023 Industry Outlook article for Manufacturing Dive.

Wadena County: Made to Manufacture 

Wadena County offers several advantages to national and global manufacturing companies. Robust transportation infrastructure allows efficient shipping and receiving within major Midwest markets and beyond. Sites and buildings are available for manufacturing companies looking to expand. Here, businesses have the room they need to grow, and local economic developers are available to make it easy to find the perfect location. In some instances, financial incentives make the move an even better investment. 

Wadena County’s workforce is plentiful, drawing on a large labor force possessing skills applicable to the manufacturing industry. Employers rely on educational institutions like Central Lakes College and Minnesota State Community and Technical College to build skills specific to their operations. 

Leaders in Wadena County

Many manufacturers have realized success due to the favorable economic environment in Wadena County. These manufacturers are leaders in combining the latest technology and good workplace practices to produce high-quality products and consistently innovate to progress their industries. The Economic Alliance is proud that these companies have made their home here.

Affordable luxury outdoor patio furniture to complement interior designs is the focus of Homecrest Outdoor Living in Wadena. Beginning as a retail furniture shop in 1953, today Homecrest is one of the few remaining 100% domestically engineering in their industry. CEO Randy Shorts points to several factors that make Wadena County a desirable location for manufacturers, beginning with the people.

“Minnesota Nice is indeed true here: people are willing to shake your hand and take the time to get to know you,” he said. “That serves to deliver a family-like atmosphere in our workplace.

Annual opposing climates offer particular advantages for outdoor-related manufacturing segments, offering continuous recreational opportunities and the potential to fulfill their requirements, Shorts said.

“There is so much experience for boating, outdoor furniture, fireplaces and other outdoor amenities in the Route 10 corridor that runs through Wadena from Fargo to Brainerd that there is no issue recruiting individuals with the skill sets we need,” said Shorts. 

Other dynamic manufacturers in Wadena include Kern Laser Systems, a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art laser cutting and engraving equipment, and Mercury Mosaics, a tile design and manufacturing studio with an additional location in Northeast Minneapolis. 

Staples has several modern manufacturers as well. Jeremiah Miller owns JDM Machining, specializing in producing challenging products from exotic materials through mold making and tooling. Miller cites the combination of Wadena County’s talented workforce and positive work culture for their success. 

“Much of our crew has been with us for more than 20 years because we try to provide excellent pay and benefits, along with the ability for our employees to have a lot of control over their skills and continuous improvement, ” he said. “Add the fact they can live here at a much more agreeable cost of living compared to the Twin Cities and I strongly believe our employees enjoy working in Wadena County.”

Other excellent manufacturers in Staples include Stern Rubber, a custom manufacturer of rubber molded goods, and Voyager Industries, which engineers and manufactures industry-leading active outdoor lifestyle products like Yetti wheelhouses, Bear TrackTM Aluminum Trailers and more. 

Wadena County: Manufacturing for You

The Economic Alliance understands the vital importance manufacturing has in Wadena County. Contact us today to learn more about manufacturing opportunities!