East Grand Forks is a small, vibrant community with leaders who embrace and support a strong vision for the future. One third of the City’s households include children under age 18, meaning there is a healthy number of young families in East Grand Forks. The City’s population of nearly 8,900 prides itself on the small town, connected feel among its residents. There is a family oriented atmosphere in East Grand Forks that is an integral part of the community.
Three main industries drive the East Grand Forks area and Polk County -- agriculture, manufacturing, and wholesale trade. These industries account for 65 percent of total output in the region and 56 percent of all employment according to the Economic Impact Analysis of Northwest MN conducted by the University EDA Center at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Agriculture continues to be a strong leader in northwest Minnesota’s economy, and value-added agricultural processing and other industries are an important part of the East Grand Forks economy. East Grand Forks is fortunate to host many industries with regional, national, and international markets.
The EDA is charged with growing the local economy. To that end the EDA has identified its mission as follows:
- Retaining & Growing Local Businesses
- By visiting local businesses and maintaining a responsive relationship with those businesses
- By providing technical assistance to businesses
- By providing financial support to local businesses, primarily through loans and tax credits
- Creating & Supporting Investment & Growth Opportunities for Commercial Activities
- By identifying those businesses that would expand the local economy
- By identifying the competitive advantages for East Grand Forks
- By identifying and eliminating barriers to investment opportunities
- Creating & Supporting Opportunities for Residential Growth, Including Workforce Housing
- By identifying opportunities to provide new housing
- By identifying opportunities for workforce housing
- By working with housing providers and organizations to take advantage of those opportunities
- Working to Develop a Workforce Capable of Meeting Current and Future Needs of Local Employers
- By working with organizations and groups that connect students with career opportunities
- By publicizing local work opportunities as well as the quality of life and local amenities
Highlights and Successes
The EDA Revolving Loan Funds have had helped several hundred firms. Currently 16 firms have EDA loans, whose loan origination value exceeded $3 million. These firms employ well over 100 people. Mayo Manufacturing and Northland Custom Woodworking recently received low interest loans to allow them to expand their businesses.
Using Border Cities tax credits, the EDA has assisted over 200 firms with over 450 employees. The most recent Border Cities tax credit beneficiaries are Northern Valley Machine, who purchased the old Ideal Arrowsmith building so it could expand in East Grand Forks, and the Fairfield Inn.
Other firms helped by the EDA include Leisureland RV, Lumber Mart, Up North Pizza Pub, Folson Farms, A&L Potato, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, and many more.