Member Insight

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Andy Reierson With Flint Group

From your experience living and growing businesses in Fargo/Moorhead and Duluth/Superior, can you share insights on the unique challenges border cities face?

The biggest thing I see, whether it’s Fargo/Moorhead, Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, Duluth/Superior, or Sioux Falls, SD and Hudson, WI, is that most of the business growth, housing and economic development is happening outside of Minnesota. Border cities face particular challenges that are not entirely understood by the rest of the state. There are clear differences in policy, tax and other considerations that flow into decision-making when competing with a city in a neighboring state. The Minnesota side of these border cities likely finds it more difficult to grow and thrive.

Every city needs to find what makes it unique and highlight it. Make that the draw. Duluth has it naturally with the lake, but that’s not enough. More people, especially mid-career families, are choosing to live in Fargo, Grand Forks and Sioux Falls (as opposed to their sister cities in Minnesota) because they’re finding access to a variety of options for housing, schools and recreation — including sports complexes. Access to quality programs and facilities is an important economic and financial driver that gets overlooked. If cities want to compete for working families, you can’t overlook the importance of these factors in decision-making.

What recommendations would you offer our community for attracting, expanding and retaining business in our region?
Attracting and retaining business depends on workforce availability and to maintain a strong workforce, a community needs housing, education and recreational opportunities. People want to live where they and their families can participate in the things they enjoy — including access to the outdoors, shopping, dining, opportunities to play and watch sports, and more.

In our region, we have many groups like APEX focused on economic development and now they’ve added housing as a major initiative. This is important work that will undoubtedly help attract both businesses and residents to the area. Let’s continue the momentum by thinking about how to highlight other attractive aspects of the region. How can we identify what makes us truly unique and marry that with the amenities potential residents want to see before they commit to a move?

APEX investor-members are the right people to be having these conversations. What can we do to drive meaningful change?

Category: APEX, News