5 Factors That Contribute to Economic Development in Fairmont, Minnesota

5 Factors That Contribute to Economic Development in Fairmont, Minnesota Main Photo

3 May 2024

The first full week in May marks Economic Development Week, a period where the team at the Fairmont Economic Development Authority (EDA) reflects on our overall mission. We are stewards of the community who support the 10,553 residents and 870 businesses in the area. Fairmont holds the county seat and is the largest city in Martin County, which means we also support the region as a whole.

Economic development is crucial to Farimont's growth and prosperity, but not many people know what this department does. Economic development encompasses various initiatives that touch all areas of life and business.

"We believe economic development is key to building a vibrant and sustainable community," said Ned Koppen, Coordinator at Fairmont EDA. "Fairmont is already a wonderful place to work, live, and play. Our job is to showcase all the features and amenities of this town so people and businesses come here. "

Here are five factors that make up economic development and how our organization invests in them. 

Business Attraction and Expansion

Business attraction is the cornerstone of economic development. Every business that moves to the region or expands its operations to Martin County benefits the community. These companies create jobs, contribute to the region by paying taxes, and prove that Fairmont is a great place to be.

“We must attract companies to Fairmont and provide skilled, sustainable employment for residents,” says Koppen. “Our top employers bring diverse jobs and career growth opportunities to the region.”

Business attraction doesn’t just mean working with large companies. Fairmont EDA recently partnered with The Retail Coach to bring more restaurants and stores to the region. These businesses also create jobs while boosting the recreational environment of Fairmont.   

Small Business Growth

Fairmont EDA supports businesses of all sizes. Small businesses hire 46.4% of all private sector employees and account for 62.7% of net jobs created since 1995. Economic development organizations can support these companies and help them grow. Fairmont EDA provides business development resources, education, and networking opportunities for business owners in the region.

“One of the most rewarding parts of working in economic development is helping small business owners grow in Fairmont,” says Koppen. “Every business is valuable to the Fairmont economy, no matter how many employees it has.”  

Economic development teams also support entrepreneurs. Individuals who have ideas and want to turn their business dreams into realities can get the support they need through Fairmont EDA, Martin County EDA, and the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce. 

Workforce Development

One of the best ways to attract businesses in the area is to present a skilled and able workforce. Not only does workforce development help people find jobs, but it also helps them to qualify for higher-paying positions that support their career goals. At Fairmont EDA, we invest in programs to support education and training in the local community, while also attracting skilled workers to the region.

“Working in economic development means supporting the current workforce while looking ahead to the future,” says Koppen. “We want to anticipate the needs of employers and develop skills that will be valuable in the decades to come.”

Fairmont EDA works closely with the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) college internship program and with Fairmont Area Schools to stay in touch with the next generation of Fairmont leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Improving Housing 

Fairmont EDA is involved in multiple housing initiatives to make sure residents have desirable and affordable places to live.

A lack of affordable housing is a national issue and Minnesota isn't exempt from this trend. Nearly half of Minnesota residents pay more than they can handle in rent and are unable to purchase a home. Fairmont, on the other hand, is known for its low cost of living. Its housing prices are 25.5% lower than the Minnesota average.

The medium home cost in Fairmont is $144,800, which is significantly lower than the Minnesota average of $309,500. A two-bedroom rental in Fairmont costs $830 per month on average, which is significantly lower than the state average of $1,240.

By reducing the stress of housing costs on residents, people who live in Fairmont can invest in the community and enjoy an improved quality of life. 

Investing in Quality of Life 

The final goal of the Fairmont EDA is to make this region a desirable place to live. Quality of life improvements include increasing access to child care, supporting the investment in local schools, and working with all of our community partners to develop fun events and activities for the community.

“Many people who live in Fairmont have been part of our community for multiple generations,” says Koppen. “This is the only proof we need that Martin County is a great place to live.” 

Fairmont EDA: Your Partner in Business Growth and Development

During Economic Development Week, we reflect on the needs of the Fairmont community and make sure our goals align with what's best for residents. We know that Fairmont is a jewel within Minnesota and strive to convince businesses and potential new residents to give Martin County a chance.