Weather Forecast


Business expansions will generate 5,600 jobs in Minnesota

According to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), 31 businesses announced expansion projects in Minnesota during the third quarter and plan to create an estimated 1,500 new jobs statewide in coming years.

During the first three quarters of 2013, businesses announced 112 expansion projects statewide. Those expansion projects will create an estimated 5,600 new jobs in Minnesota during the next two years.

“We are thrilled to see this high level of expansion activity across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in a news release. “The diversity of investments highlights our state’s ability to attract and grow businesses from various industries, which is contributing to job growth statewide.”

Among the businesses that announced plans to expand during the third quarter of 2013 (July, August and September) are Shutterfly Inc., which is building a $60 million manufacturing facility in Shakopee that will employ nearly 330 people; Cowgirl Tuff Co., which is building a $1.8 million headquarters and warehouse in Cokato; and Slalom Consulting, a Seattle-based tech consultancy that recently opened a Minneapolis office with plans to hire 300 people during the next five years.

New investments in job-creation initiatives made during the 2013 legislative session have played an important role in incentivizing business expansions statewide. In fact, DEED played a role in nearly half (14) of the business expansions announced during the third quarter. For example, these three businesses — which announced plans to expand in Minnesota during the third quarter — received assistance from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF), which Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature expanded last session.

WFSI Inc., based in Sauk Rapids, is expanding by acquiring an existing building in the city. The company focuses on critical welding projects and provides manufacturing and engineering services for the energy and defense industries. The expansion is projected to result in 32 new jobs over the next two years. WFSI’s expansion project was aided by $1 million in infrastructure funding.

Viracon, an architectural glass manufacturer, is at work on a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility in Owatonna. The $30 million project is expected to retain between 500 and 800 existing jobs in the city and be operational by August 2014. Viracon’s expansion was made possible in part by a $200,000 MIF grant.

Patriot Converting, an Anoka-based paper product manufacturer, plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Ramsey. The $6 million, 77,000-square-foot expansion is expected to result in 10 to 15 new jobs once the expansion is completed. Patriot Converting received $150,000 in assistance from the state to expand its operations.

Among other projects on the list, Proto Labs is adding 100 jobs in Plymouth, Datacard Group is adding 150 jobs in Shakopee, TSI Inc. is adding 200 jobs in Shoreview, and Doherty Staffing is adding 120 jobs in the Alexandria area. The Twin Cities accounted for 16 of the projects, while Greater Minnesota attracted 15 expansions.

Manufacturing, a major state industry with about 300,000 jobs, led all sectors with 13 expansion projects in the third quarter. Software companies were second with five projects. Other industries represented on the expansion list include food and beverage processing, retail, warehouse/distribution, apparel, construction, printing/publishing and machinery.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889