"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
 

One Moment, Please... Positive and tangible


Fri, Oct 4th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

While “government shutdown” has become the hot topic of our national news coverage, which is understandable, I have become more interested in our local business developments -- namely because they are more positive and tangible.

Every city in Fillmore County has business developments in the works, and some of those opportunities take years to evolve into something of substance.

In the past 30 days, for example, the city of Preston has seen an emergence of business activity that didn’t just happen overnight. These developments have been in the works for quite some time, and have finally come to fruition.

National Veteran’s Cemetery

In last week’s Journal, we shared with our readers that the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a $10 million grant covering 100 percent of the allowable costs associated with establishing a Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston, Minn. What does this mean for Preston, and surrounding communities like Fountain, Wykoff, Lanesboro, Harmony and any city within 30 miles of Preston? More visitors.

NAPA / Root River Hardware

By now, you’ve probably heard that the NAPA store down by the Root River is moving out to Highway 52 to occupy the gas station that has been sitting vacant for nearly five years.

Owner Mike Stein has put a lot of work into making this move, and his staff is looking forward to their new storefront. The highway visibility should put them front-and-center for attracting even more business.

This may open up the door for the National Trout Center to lay some groundwork for a building site in the area currently occupied by NAPA, but we’ll have to see how the NTC evolves in the wake of financial challenges.

Family Dollar

If you drove by the old Preston Lumber building site this past week, you probably noticed the entire structure has been in a demolition phase. According to Chuck Aug, business partners with Gary Hellickson on the ownership of the Preston Lumber building site, the property was sold to Family Dollar in mid-September. In a conversation with Chuck, he said that if you can get in touch with the right person at Family Dollar, they’ll probably tell you that their new store will be approximately 8,000 square feet. I tried reaching someone at Family Dollar, but could not connect with the right person by press time. So, we will watch in anticipation as a new business erects at the front door of Preston’s main corridor.

Preston Equipment

Steve Ille, owner of Preston Equipment, has made a big statement to his staff and his customers. With the investment in the newly constructed shop on the backside of the Preston Equipment building site, they will be able to service a greater number of large implement equipment. And, in conversations I’ve had with Steve over the past year, he continues to add to his team. As Preston Equipment grows, so does the staff. And, this is always a good thing.

Gehling Auction / Preston Dairy & Farm

Some of you may have already heard that Ron Gehling and Matt Gehling sold their auction site office building and shop to Preston Dairy & Farm. In a conversation with Ron, he told me that they are not getting out of the auction business. Instead, Gehling is working with Preston Dairy & Farm to move out of the flood plain to a location that will better suit their needs.

And, Gehling Auction is going to build a new office and shop just West of the current office and shop. According to Terry Rindels, speaking on behalf of Preston Dairy & Farm, this will all come together over the next 12 to 18 months.

It’s all good

Obviously, this is all good news for Preston. But, more importantly, the impact on any nearby communities will be just as great. All of these scenarios are a sign of growth.

Every community brings something to the table, tethering our assets together in ways we may not always realize. These things take time to marinate. We all have to find our niche to collectively serve the needs of many.

While this may seem premature, I do believe that 2014 is going to be a very good year for economic development for Preston and all surrounding communities.

And, this activity I am highlighting is just for one community in Fillmore County. We have many developments underway in a good majority of our communities.

On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, roughly 25 legislators will be taking a bus tour of our little corner of the state. They will be visiting the Potter Auditorium, Historic Forestville State Park, prospective National Trout Center building site, and the soon-to-be National Veteran’s Cemetery site -- just to name a few.

We have many reasons to get excited about what’s happening in Fillmore County. There are local developments, without even considering the boom that could take place as a result of the Destination Medical Center.

And, as a side note, with our community’s strong agricultural background, when the farmers do well, “Main Street” does well. In general, we have a lot of good things going for us in our area in spite of what we hear on the national news.

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