“During these tentative economic times, community support is a key consideration when making significant investment decisions. The ready response and diligence of staff was an unquestionable demonstration of BLAEDC’s commitment to helping us find the resources to be successful in the Brainerd Lakes Area.”

— Jeff Verdoorn, Wausau Paper Printing
and Writing LLC

A diverse, strong manufacturing industry

With more than 110 manufacturing companies that employ 2,400 people, the Brainerd Lakes Area is home to a diverse group of manufacturing businesses. Thanks to a solid infrastructure, the region is positioned to attract even more.

The majority the manufacturing companies in the county are in wood products, plastics (rotomolding and thermoforming), precision machining operations, and printing. They benefit from easy access to transportation, favorable infrastructure, a readily available workforce, and a business climate that supports manufacturing.   

Local labor is skilled, affordable

The Brainerd Lakes Area has a significant number of workers who are available to work in the manufacturing industry. These residents have the skills, experience, and education to make an immediate impact. Average wages here are more than 25 percent lower than statewide and national averages, giving local companies a significant edge in operational costs.

Workers and employers have access to a variety of training and educational programs through Central Lakes College, including machine tool technology, welding, robotics technology, and more. The Bridges Career Academies is another program that benefits the manufacturing industry through a partnership between local companies, high schools, and CLC to help prepare high school students who are considering a career in the manufacturing industry.

Average Weekly Wage by Industry
  Companies Emps Crow Wing MN U.S.
All Industries 2,020  27,164 $707 $1,065 $1,018
Trade, Transportation, Utilities 454 5,783 $569 $922 $852
Construction 246 1,533 $959 $1,168 $1,096
Manufacturing 114 2,417 $869 $1,201 $1,237
Source: Minnesota Dept of Employment & Economic Development, 2016 Q1 Data, (US 2015 Annual Data)
Updated:September, 2016

Average Hourly Wage by Occupation
Occupation Average Hourly Wage
Supervisors $28.72
Machinists $23.11
Welders/Cutters $19.67
Team Assemblers $16.31
Source: Wage Data, 1Q, 2016 (MN DEED, OES, EDR5)
Updated: July, 2016

Manufacturing-friendly infrastructure, location

The Brainerd Lakes Area is an excellent location for manufacturing companies because of available land and properties, the existing infrastructure, and its access to major transportation corridors, including rail, highways, and air. 

Area industrial parks in the Brainerd Lakes Area have affordable land on which to build or expand, and one of them has shovel-ready sites. A number of existing properties are also available, some of which are configured for manufacturing.

Major east-west and north-south highways cut right through the Brainerd Lakes Area, making transportation very favorable. Interstate 94 is 50 miles south, and the Twin Cities and Duluth are only two-to-three hour drives. The Burlington Northern/Sante Fe Railroad has a hub in Brainerd, providing local companies with freight service, and the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport offers commercial service daily to the Twin Cities. 

Your first step: Contact BLAEDC today

If you're considering the Brainerd Lakes Area as a location for a manufacturing business, or you're thinking of expanding here, your first call should be to the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation. Let us help you get started. We're ready. Let's grow!

Major Manufacturing Employers, Crow Wing County
Clow Stamping 440
Nortech 97
Bang Printing 218
Atek Industries 50
Keystone Automotive 115
Source: BLAEDC Research, June, 2016

Unique Manufacturing Property

Property Name
: Northern Pacific Center
Location: 1511 Northern Pacific Road, Brainerd
Facility Type: Office/Retail/Industrial/Warehouse
Total Sq. Ft: 200,000+ square feet
Lot Size: 47+ acres including rail access
Unique Features: Restored buildings from the late 1800s — originally served as the Northern Pacific, and later, the Burlington Northern car shops. Location is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Buildings offer hand-hewn beams, natural brick and inherent character.
Web Link

Pequot Lakes gets creative to fill employee shortage
Date: 5/5/2013  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Manufacturing: Searching for a skilled set
Date: 2/6/2013  Source: Minnesota Business
Wausau Paper to leave technical paper printing and focus on tissue
Date: 1/11/2013  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
State manufacturers optimistic about 2013, DEED says
Date: 1/11/2013  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Biz Buzz: Trus Joist in Deerwood has new owners
Date: 12/16/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Cross-Tech doubles its facility with new expansion project
Date: 10/22/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
ATEK expands in Brainerd
Date: 10/7/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
CLC helps Lakeland Mold certify employees
Date: 4/3/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Teehive moving into Team Industries building this month
Date: 3/30/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
ATEK Products has a long and diverse history in Brainerd
Date: 3/13/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
CLC welding program now SENSE-accredited
Date: 1/9/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Manufacturing companies are adding jobs, economy is on the uptick
Date: 1/5/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Klobuchar makes stop at Lindar as part of her 'Made in America" tour
Date: 1/5/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Minnesota manufacturers optimistic about 2012
Date: 12/26/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Going high tech in Crosby
Date: 11/20/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Senators tour manganese site in Emily
Date: 11/2/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Manufacturers open doors to the public
Date: 10/27/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Manufacturing highlighted at BLAEDC event
Date: 7/3/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Eyewitness to Japan's quake
Date: 3/13/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Riverton plant molding a future
Date: 2/13/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Halftime glitz came from Baxter
Date: 2/6/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Building a better tip-up
Date: 1/23/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Extreme Project- Nisswa business becomes part of makeover show
Date: 12/17/2010  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Hay field may become wine country
Date: 6/12/2010  Source: Brainerd Dispatch

Stern Assembly/Rotomolding
Stern Assembly/Rotomolding creates plastic and rubber components for a wide variety of industries, including recreational vehicles, sporting equipment, medical and food packaging and industrial uses.
Pequot Tool & Manufacturing
CEO Karlo Goerges oversees a job shop for precision CNC machining and CNC fabrication, stamping, assemblies and welding located in Pequot Lakes.