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Economic Development

The St. Cloud area population grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010 – almost three times as fast as the state of Minnesota. With nearly 190,000 people, the St. Cloud area is the third-largest metropolitan area in the state. The city of St. Cloud is one of the 10 largest in Minnesota, with a population of more than 67,000.

Minnesota ranked 15th in the “Forbes 2014 List of the Best States for Business,” coming in third for quality of life.

Also in 2014, the nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, Milken, listed the St. Cloud region as a best-performing “small city.” The St. Cloud MSA garnered the ranking of 26, a slight increase from 30 in 2013 and a substantial increase over its rankings of 114 in 2011. Job growth, wage growth, short-term job growth, high-tech GDP growth, and number of high-tech industries are included in the ranking.

The region’s diverse economy boasts a strong agricultural base, but that’s just the beginning. Look around and you’ll find home-grown technology firms such as Netgain, Marco, and GeoComm, international manufacturing concerns including New Flyer and Coldspring, and regional operations such as Coborn’s grocery stores, Anderson Trucking Service and the CentraCare Health system.

Business Parks
Nearly two dozen industrial parks and business centers are located within the St. Cloud area, and even more in outlying communities. They have hundreds of acres of land available, utilities included, for approximately one-third of the cost of comparable property found within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

The St. Cloud area’s labor force participation rate was 73 percent in 2010, higher than Minnesota’s 71 percent, which is the third-highest in the nation.

• Labor force growth was 10.5 percent in the previous decade, with more than 10,000 new workers added since 2000 – double the state’s growth rate.

• More than three-quarters of workers have a commute of 30 minutes or less.


Major highway systems offering convenient travel in and out of the St. Cloud metropolitan area include:

• Interstate Highway 94
• Minnesota Highway 23
• U.S. Highway 10
• Minnesota Highway 15

Public Transit
• Metro Bus serves St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park seven days a week with Fixed Route, Dial-a-Ride and University public transit services. Schedule information at or (320) 251-7433.

• Northstar Link Commuter Buses from St. Cloud and Becker meet most Northstar trains in Big Lake seven days a week including Twins and Vikings games. Schedule information at

St. Cloud Regional Airport
The St. Cloud Regional Airport’s economic impact reaches $14 million a year, employs 95 people and oversees the maintenance of approximately 100 aircraft. The 7,000-foot runway, modern control tower and 19,000-square-foot commercial aviation terminal that seats up to 200 passengers, positions the facility to easily accommodate regional air traffic.

Allegiant Air provides low-cost, non-stop travel between the St. Cloud Regional Airport and the Phoenix metropolitan area, and seasonal service to Orlando. Sauk Rapids Chamber of Commerce

The Sauk Rapids Chamber, a division of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, promotes a healthy business environment in the community of Sauk Rapids. Volunteers and Chamber staff work in cooperation with member businesses, local government, the public school system and other community organizations.

The Sauk Rapids Chamber hosts monthly meetings, candidate forums, legislative updates and educational seminars.

The Sauk Rapids Chamber helps build the local business community by:

• Providing valuable business information through monthly guest speakers.

• Participating in Grow Minnesota! economic development visits.

• Hosting a monthly business meeting in cooperation with local businesses.

Waite Park Chamber of Commerce

The purpose of the Waite Park Chamber, a division of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, is to provide a place for business, education and government to come together for the betterment of the community.

Waite Park Chamber members stay up-to-date on important business issues by attending monthly meetings. Hosted by a Chamber member, the meeting includes a business presentation, a speaker addressing a business/educational topic, and brief updates from the City of Waite Park, the local school district and the Chamber of Commerce.

The Waite Park Chamber helps build the local business community by:

• Hosting the State of the City Address in cooperation with the City of Waite Park.

• Hosting two Waite Park Chamber After Hours.

• Providing members with information on a variety of business topics.

• Participating in Grow Minnesota! economic development visits.

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