Biz Buzz: North Central Medical Supply & Equipment breaks ground on new building project

Gretchen Rogers, North Central Medical Supply president and CEO, said the company’s 10-year lease in its current location in Brainerd ends this year and they found the perfect location to build.

Gretchen Rogers cuts a cake as Eric Larson hands out paper plates topped with cake.
Gretchen Rogers, North Central Medical Supply & Equipment president and CEO, cuts a cake made in the image of the medical supply building as Eric Larson, Nor-son architect, gets plates ready for those attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, Thursday, May 19, 2022, on Isle Drive in Baxter.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — North Central Medical Supply and Equipment will have its own Christmas present to unwrap this year as a new facility in Baxter should be ready to open in December.

Those involved in the project — from the business owners to Nor-son to city of Baxter representatives — were on hand Thursday morning, May 19, for a groundbreaking ceremony. Lakes area sand stretched out across the corner section of Isle Drive and Glory Road, north of Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, where the now bare land will be part of a building project in the city.

“This is an exciting day,” Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson said to the group gathered by a tent at the site. Olson said people who have lived here for a while have watched the lot for some time since the Walmart Superstore was constructed on the other side of Isle Drive.

Olson said when Walmart was constructed, he thought the corner lot would soon follow, but it didn’t. He thought the same thing happened when the credit union was constructed. Then the clinics were added to Isle Drive, creating a medical neighborhood on Baxter’s south side. Now the property will be home to North Central Medical Supply and provide an opportunity to put the operation, now in two buildings in west Brainerd, under one roof and provide room to expand.

“This area has been affectionately called the medical mecca of the community and you’ll be contributing and adding to it so it’s a perfect fitting,” Olson said.


Baxter Council member Zach Tabatt was also on hand in addition to Baxter city staffers.

Olson noted Essentia Health’s Baxter Clinic is looking to add 40,000 square feet to its existing 40,000 facility.

“So I think you are in the middle of a medical mecca here so it’s a good place to be,” Olson said.

Gretchen Rogers, North Central Medical Supply president and CEO, said the company’s 10-year lease in its current location ends this year. After looking for space to move into before the end of the year, Rogers said they looked at options to build to suit their business. And the corner property, which has been on the market, provided the opportunity they were looking for amid a host of medical businesses and clinics and with a senior living complex currently under construction nearby in the GraceWin Living Cooperative.

“I think our growth potential is very large,” Rogers said.

Certainly the demographics appear to be creating more demand for services and supplies, with aging baby boomers and a lakes area that is both a retirement destination, as well as a move-to destination with new working from home options since the pandemic started.

Rogers said their business is really based on helping people who need help and doing it with compassion.

“I think our level of compassion has really made our name in the community,” Rogers said.


North Central Medical Supply employs 29. Rogers said the new building will provide efficiencies with everything under one roof and will allow for growth and additional jobs into the future.

“It’s perfectly placed,” Rogers said.

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The last vestiges of J.C. Penney, which were visible yet this spring to the facade of the building, are gone. Hobby Lobby has transformed the long vacant building inside and out.

Nor-son is behind the construction. Expectations are for a mid- to late-December opening at the new site.

Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce president, said one of his favorite parts of the job is marking milestones for area business. He thanked the North Central Medical Supply team for its investment in the community and expanding here.

“Our area is blessed with locally owned businesses that start small and grow big and the way that we do that is by supporting each other and I think that’s what this event is about today, is people getting together and supporting each other.”

Kilian said North Central Medical is a supporter of the community and sets the standard for investing locally. Kilian read from a list of other businesses involved in the project from bankers to building contractors. Every time there is an investment like this, Kilian said, there is a lot of economic impact.

“Thanks for investing right here in Baxter, Minnesota, I can’t wait to come back. It will be a great Christmas present, Gretchen, in December when we get to cut the ribbon on this thing,” Kilian said.

Rogers said they’ve been planning this move for about 18 months, so to be in a position to actually put a shovel in the ground means it is coming to fruition.


“This company was the passion of my husband, so to be able to continue to do this, this day and to move and to continue growing with the community means so much to me and to everybody that works at North Central,” Rogers said, thanking those in attendance. “We’re very excited for what the next chapter is.”

In other clinic news, the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center new clinic and pharmacy at the Super One Foods store in Crosby is slated to open Aug. 1.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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