GSC Region: “the largest over-the-year job growth of any reported MSA in Minnesota.”

According to the most recent MN Employment Review by DEED, as of April, 2019 the Greater St. Cloud region added 2,339 jobs since April, 2018, which is “the largest over-the-year job growth of any reported MSA in Minnesota.”

 Supporting our regional success and job growth are Toppan-Merrill, Blattner Energy and Nahan Printing.

 Toppan-Merrill a global printing company recently broke ground on a 70,000 SF expansion spurring over $6 million in investments and 40 new jobs. Governor Tim Walz was present at the groundbreaking praising the collaborative effort that made this project a reality including the City of Sartell, GSDC, DEED and Inventure Properties. The MN Job Creation Fund, Minnesota Investment Fund and local incentives played a role in making Sartell and MN the preferred location for Toppan-Merrill to expand. (insert picture)

 Blattner Energy recently broke ground on an expansion of their headquarters in Avon.  This project was made possible by a $175,000 Job Creation Fund award from DEED that GSDC worked on with Blattner Energy and the City of Avon. This expansion will create over 15 jobs and spur over $11 million in capital investments.

 Nahan Printing recently opened up a new training center to address specific training and skills needs for their employees.  The training center was made possible by a MN Jobs Skills Partnership grant that allowed Nahan Printing to partner with St. Cloud State University to create a training program specifically built for Nahan’s needs.

 If your business is growing whether with a physical expansion or adding employees, we encourage you reach out to GSDC to see if there are any programs or incentives that might help in maximizing your potential to grow and thrive.


Larry Hosch

Business Development Director

Direct: 320-252-5185

Cell Phone 320-761-4570

Office: 320-259-0300

Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation

501 West St. Germain, Suite 100

St. Cloud, MN 56301


Posted on August 6, 2019 .

“Bravo! Bravo! GREAT Theatre – Bringing Hope to Minnesota!”

Patti Gartland, GSDC President

 My husband and I have always been ardent fans of live theatre. After all, it was on a high school stage that we first met. “Brigadoon” and “Guys and Dolls” were the productions that first brought us together. So it was particularly fitting for us to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this past weekend by attending the Guys and Dolls production at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. 

Patti and Bob 2.jpg

 We’re also big fans of our local provider of live theatre, GREAT Theatre. Founded in 1998, their mission and vision is to bring the community together through shared theatre experiences and provide access to the transformative power of the arts. And they do so incredibly well.  

 Within the GREAT World Headquarters facility located in Waite Park, you’ll find the Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre. Their website describes this jewel within a jewel as a space “to create an adventurous range of bold, diverse and unique theatrical experiences where the stories of our community can be shared”. And that it does! More than 30 events, including GSDC’s all-investor and innovation awards gathering in late 2018, have been hosted by GREAT Theatre at the Helgeson Learning Lab in its first two years.

 I had the good fortune of attending the most recent event hosted in the Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre on July 18 and 19. It was a PLAYlab production done in partnership with the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project: Birds Sing Differently Here. Wow. It was demonstrative of the power and beauty in the art of storytelling. And it captured the attention and applause of American Theatre magazine who titled the article “Birds Sing Differently Here: Bringing Hope to Minnesota”. The article aptly notes that the production “creates a more truthful narrative about refugees and immigrants”. If you haven’t read the article yet, you’ll find it (here).

Birds Sing Differently Here

Birds Sing Differently Here

 Experiencing this performance also surfaced a treasured memory for me of the story told to me and my siblings by our dad. And it’s the story that was told to him by his dad. It’s the story of my grandfather’s immigration journey to the US from Sweden in 1901 at the age of 20. It’s a fascinating story of a rebellious young man born into the impoverished trappings of family farming in Sweden. His future on the family farm was clear. But it was also not acceptable to him. So he made his plan. Only his sister knew of his plan but she was sworn to secrecy. He landed a job on a merchant ship bound for America. And when they arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, he left the ship and never returned. He instead made his way to Grove City, MN intent on making a new life for himself. He was only able to re-establish contact with his family seven years later when a new King offered amnesty to all who had fled Sweden.

 What resonates for me from these stories is that the life and liberties that I enjoy today are rooted in the actions of a courageous and rebellious young man in search of a better life – my grandfather, an immigrant. And then I look across our community into the faces of our many new neighbors who are in search of the very same thing – a better life. And I want that for them too.

 We are one community. All are welcome. Let it be so.

Important Calendar Reminders (with links):

Posted on August 6, 2019 .

GSDC Calls for Innovation Award Nominations

St. Cloud, MN, (July 8, 2019) – The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) is accepting nominations and applications for the 2019 Innovation Awards (I-Awards) for non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.

 A strategic focus of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) is to foster and promote innovative thinking amongst area businesses and organizations.  The GSDC I-Award recognizes St. Cloud area for-profit and non-profit organizations employing innovation to solve problems and create opportunities.

 Four GSDC I-Awards of $1,000 each will be presented at a meeting of all GSDC investors on November 7. One award will go to an emerging for-profit company, one award to an established for-profit company, and one award to each of two non-profit organizations. 

 Information about nominating a candidate and applying for the awards can be found at  Nominations will be accepted through August 15 

 Past GSDC I-Award recipients include Biodapt, Brenny Transportation, FACT (Feeding Area Children Together), CentraCare/Legal Aid Collaboration, Mighty Axe Hops, Jugaad Leadership Program, Talahi Community School, Cybermation, Rollga, GNP, Operation Baby New Year, St. Cloud Youth Leadership Academy, Park Industries, Rejuv Medical, Catholic Charities, Anna Marie’s Alliance, Coldspring, Global Edge, Microbiologics, Orange Oak Advertising, Cloud Co-Working and Geo-Comm. 

 About the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation is a non-profit (501c3) collaboration of more than 260 regional public and private organizations in Central Minnesota.  The GSDC is leading a community-wide commitment to harness the vast resources of the region, facilitate community, education, and business collaboration, expand the talent base, spearhead economic development efforts, and make the greater St. Cloud area one of the best places to live, work and engage.  The GSDC is funded through business investor contributions, personal contributions and grants, and all actions are self-governed by the organization’s investors, boards and various committees.  Learn more at


Posted on July 5, 2019 .

GSDC Octennial Gala: Cheers to 8 Years!

By Patti Gartland, GSDC President

Despite a second valiant attempt by Mother Nature to derail our GSDC Octennial Gala held on May 8th, we prevailed and our #StCloudShines theme was radiant on a stormy evening. Our guests ranged from young professionals to seasoned executives and retirees, and everything in between.  Thanks to several generous investors who purchased additional tickets, 18 emerging leaders from the Jugaad Leadership Program and Rotaract were able to join us, as well.

 Our unique setting added the fun element we were aiming for. Cold Spring Brewing Company’s latest warehouse expansion, in the former Creative Memories distribution facility, provided a perfect “economic progress” setting for our gala.  Where else would you be able to enjoy dinner and entertainment while surrounded by thousands of pallets of White Claw?

 It’s always a pleasure to acknowledge people who have been instrumental in our success.  At the gala we recognized the people listed below.  Please be sure to congratulate Caryl and the entire CMCF team, Tom and Tim when you see them. 

·         Loran Hall was recognized posthumously with a Community Pillar tribute.

·         The Central MN Community Foundation received the 2019 GSDC Community Catalyst Award.

·         Tom Grones and Tim Wensman each received a 2019 GSDC Leadership Award.

 The evening’s program also included a celebration of what we’ve accomplished over the past 8 years (video links in margin), as well as the innovative ways we are creating success in our region in 2019 and beyond. Specifically, in 2019 we have launched two exciting initiatives that support the new strategic imperatives developed to guide our work going forward.  Both are destined to be real game changers for our region!

 #StCloudShines is a new placemaking and social media campaign of the GSDC.  Its purpose is to build our region’s brand into one that’s positive, strong and dynamic.  Special thanks to Lacey Schirmers, GSDC executive volunteer/GREAT Theatre and Katie Virnig, GSDC’s independent contract service provider for the inspiration for - and realization and ongoing management of - this campaign.  Check out this video, #StCloudShines, and then follow the “Greater St. Cloud” campaign on Face Book and Instagram.   

Additionally, we’re supporting a robust local start-up ecosystem by partnering to bring start-up accelerator programs by gener8tor - gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud and  gALPHA Greater MN St. Cloud - to our region.   The accelerator programming provides intense development, guidance, and support to local entrepreneurs and startups over the course of four- and seven-week programs.  This includes assisting with locating and growing their business enterprises in the greater St. Cloud region. Special thanks to Shannon Wiger, GSDC executive volunteer/Moss & Barnett and Ryan Weber, GSDC executive volunteer/Great North Labs, whose contributions have been pivotal to this endeavor. Shannon convened key regional business leaders to learn about the gener8tor programs and meet those folks.  Ryan’s vast experience and expertise in the startup industry have been invaluable to our ability to seize this opportunity. The article at this link provides additional information and a listing of the sponsoring partners for the gBETA and gALPHA Greater MN St. Cloud initiative.

 A celebration like this is only possible with the generosity of investor sponsors.  We thank those of you who assisted us in providing a celebratory evening:

 Event Sponsors: ATS, Microbiologics, Stearns Bank, US Bank

Beer Sponsor: Third Street Brewhouse

Wine Sponsor: BergenKDV

Soft Drinks/Water Sponsor: Bernick’s

Communication Sponsor: Greenfield Communications and Lacey Jean Photography & Design

Partial Donation Sponsors: Custom Catering and Palmer Printing

Site Host:  Cold Spring Brewing Company

Emerging Leader Sponsors: Blattner Energy, Brenny Transportation, Richard Ginsburg (MAC Commissioner), Granite Logistics, Lorrain Griffin Johnson, Brian Hart

Event/Entertainment Producer: GREAT Theatre

 Our biggest thanks go to our hundreds of investors, partners and advocates in action. Together, we are expanding the economic capacity for our community, providing new opportunities for GSDC investors, and enhancing everyone’s productivity, growth and quality of life!

 With gratitude and in partnership,

 Patti Gartland, GSDC President

Gener8tor cropped.jpg
Posted on May 29, 2019 .

Local Businesses to Receive Free, Nationally Ranked Startup Support

gener8tor sponsors.jpg


Larry Hosch, Greater St. Cloud Dev. Corp, (320) 761-4570,
Shannon Wiger, Moss & Barnett, (320) 654-4851,
Ryan Weber, Great North Labs, (320) 224-7020,
Abby Taubner, gener8tor, (414) 477-1227,

Local Businesses to Receive Free, Nationally Ranked Startup Support

gener8tor to bring gBETA and gALPHA programs to St. Cloud and the surrounding region

St. Cloud, MN – Nationally ranked startup acceleratorgener8toris expanding its gBETA and gALPHA programs into St. Cloud and greater Minnesota. Collective efforts led by theGreater St. Cloud Development CorporationGreat North Labs, andMoss & Barnettbrought together a regional collaboration of over a dozen St. Cloud-based organizations who are committed to investing in innovation knowing that a strong start up and entrepreneurial ecosystem is one of the most impactful ways to drive economic development. gBETA and gALPHA accelerator programming will be offered to startups throughout the St. Cloud region and greater Minnesota by providing intense development, guidance, and support to local entrepreneurs and startups over the course of the four- and seven-week programs.

“Speed is essential to startup success,” said Ryan Weber, Managing Partner at Great North Labs. “ Until now, there hasn't been a leading accelerator program offered in greater Minnesota, leading to increased friction in supporting local entrepreneurs despite there being incredible interest and enthusiasm to support them. Now, entrepreneurs can benefit from working closely with gener8tor to provide an efficient program with global reach.”

gBETAis a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage startups with local roots. The program requires no fees and no equity. Each gBETA program is capped at five companies to ensure meaningful engagement with and intensive and individualized coaching from the gener8tor team, program stakeholders, mentors and investors. The program is designed to help startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea, and establish metrics that can make them competitive applicants for full-time, equity-based accelerators or seed investment.

gALPHAis a free, four-week venture creation workshop for individuals who are interested in building a startup. Applicants need not apply with an idea, because gener8tor helps facilitate “reverse pitches” with local organizations (e.g.corporations, tech transfer offices, nonprofits) to provide industry problems for these technologists and innovators to build solutions around.

gBETA and gALPHA are completely free to participating entrepreneurs and startups. Several
organizations who understand the critical need to encourage and promote local innovations have banded together to generously sponsor gener8tor’s local presence for the next three years. These organizations includeGreater St. Cloud Development Corporation,Great North Labs,CentraCare Health,Granite Logistics,Moss & Barnett,Kensington Bank,Central McGowan,Schlenner Wenner & Co.,Park Industries,St. Cloud Technical Community College,St. Cloud State University,College of St. BenedictSt. John’s UniversityandGranite Equity PartnerswithMicrobiologics,DeZURIKandGeoComm.

“Moss & Barnett helps start and grow innovative companies throughout the Midwest,” said Shannon Wiger, Director of Business Development at Moss & Barnett. “Through that work, we note that without fail, communities that are truly thriving have a strategic effort focused squarely on cultivating an ecosystem that is a magnet for entrepreneurs, investors and talent. Collectively those places take great ideas and make them real. That momentum positively impacts the regional economy in dramatic and unmatched ways.”

A local, full-time director will be hired to run gBETA and gALPHA and further evangelize the startup community in the region. Free office hours and “Lunch and Learn” sessions will be open to the public and held on a regular basis. The programs will culminate in showcase events to celebrate the innovation and accomplishments of the participants, which will be free and open to the public. Director applicants, startup founders, mentors and investors are encouraged to visit learn more and get involved.


About Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, a private collaboration of more than 260 regional business and community leaders within Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties, was formed in 2011 to lead economic development for the benefit of the Greater St. Cloud region. Its office is at 501 West St. Germain Street, Suite 100; its phone number is 320-259-0300.

About Great North Labs
Great North Labs is an early-stage venture fund investing in tech startups in the upper Midwest from its St. Cloud headquarters. In addition to cultivating successful tech companies, Great North works to develop the startup ecosystem by partnering with local universities and international organizations, while promoting grassroots economic development through venture-based value creation, and growing local startups to global scale.

About Moss & Barnett
Moss & Barnett, with offices in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, provides a full range of legal services to businesses and individuals throughout the Upper Midwest. Our team works closely with our clients and communities to create solutions that achieve their objectives, promote efficiency and maximize success. We listen and strive to understand each client’s business and personal needs, and then we assemble the right team and work aggressively to offer practical business and litigation strategies to minimize risk, maximize opportunities, and provide effective solutions.

About gener8tor
gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects entrepreneurs (startup founders, artists and musicians) investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships focused on entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. gener8tor is a nationally ranked, GOLD-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project:

Facts about gBETA

  • This will be gener8tor’s 16th gBETA market.

  • gBETA has worked with 198 companies to date.

  • gBETA’s goal is for 1/3 of companies who have graduated from the program a year or more ago to raise at least $50K, participate in a full-time equity-based accelerator, and/or get acquired. To date 52% of companies who have graduated a year or more ago have hit this metric.

  • 67 companies have raised at least $50K.

  • 22 companies have participated in a full-time, equity-based accelerator.

  • 3 companies have been acquired.

  • gBETA companies have collectively raised $29,648,500 in total follow-on financing.

  • To date, gBETA companies collectively employ 430.5 employees. (Part-time employees count as “.5”)

Posted on May 17, 2019 .

Festoon Lights Brighten 5th Avenue So.

Photo: Inventure Properties

Photo: Inventure Properties

Source: St. Cloud Times, April 9, 2019 by Alyssa Zaczek

ST. CLOUD — Fifth Avenue in downtown St. Cloud is about to get a little brighter. 

The stretch of Fifth Avenue South between St. Germain Street and First Street South will soon feature permanent festoon lighting strung overhead, according to Jolene Foss, executive director of the St. Cloud Downtown Council. 

Last spring, a group of local business owners and community members launched the Fifth Ave Live concert series with the intent of using the proceeds to fund the festoon lighting project. 

Installation of the lights will begin by mid-April, according to Foss. A brief lighting ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, to coincide with the CentraCare Earth Day 5K festivities in downtown St. Cloud that evening. 

"I believe you'll see the installation go up just the two or three days prior (to the ceremony,)" Foss said. 

The lighting style characterized by oversized glass bulbs is often used in downtown districts, restaurant patios and other outdoor venues to create a warm, festive ambiance. 

Those contributions supplemented proceeds from the Fifth Ave Live concert series, which was spearheaded by Foss, Boser, Ray Herrington, Katie Virnig and Shannon Wiger. 

In June, Boser estimated that the first stage of the project would cost $80,000 to $100,000. Foss did not know the final cost of the project Tuesday, and Boser could not be reached for comment. 

According to a press release from the St. Cloud Downtown Council, the organizers of the project do envision festoon lighting for additional sections of Fifth Avenue and St. Germain Street, though no specific dates or portions of those streets have been officially designated. 

The Fifth Ave Live concert series will continue in 2019, according to the press release. The live music event will begin June 6 and occur every Thursday until the end of August.

Posted on April 30, 2019 .

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

By Patti Gartland, GSDC President

Last month (March) was Women’s History Month. Its origins as a national celebration date back to 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the president to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week”. For the next five years, Congress repeated the action. And in 1987, the celebration evolved to “Women’s History Month”.

 And, this year marks the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right vote. These two occasions have resulted in the showcasing of a rich array of women in history.

 One of my favorite reads of the women featured over the past month is Hedy Lamarr. Ms. Lamarr was a 1940’s vintage Hollywood actress regarded as “the Angelina Jolie of her day”. But she was also an inventor and entrepreneur. The wireless communication system she helped create in the 1940’s was ultimately used during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And tech companies eventually used it as a basis for inventions leading to today’s Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. Bravo, Hedy!

 Because tomorrow’s history is being made today, I think it’s also an opportune time to recognize and celebrate extraordinary women leaders in our midst right now. And there are many. So today I wish to shine my light on six phenomenal women who are making an amazing difference in our community and in our organization through their service on the GSDC Board of Directors.

 ·         Dr. Annesa Cheek – President, St. Cloud Technical & Community College; GSDC director

·         Dr. Mary Hinton – President, College of Saint Benedict; GSDC director and Governance Committee

·         Heather Pieper Olson – Associate Vice President, College of Saint Benedict; GSDC director and Marketing Committee Chair

·         Joan Schatz – Co-President, Park Industries; GSDC director & Talent Team Co-Chair

·         Caryl Turnow – Executive Director, Central MN Community Foundation; GSDC director

·         Dr. Robbyn Wacker – President, St. Cloud State University; GSDC director


Our community is better for these leaders. It bears repeating. Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.


Posted on April 30, 2019 .

St. Cloud Shines: GSDC Kicks Off Place-making Campaign


St. Cloud Shines is a campaign initiated in January, 2019 by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation to generate and share the good things happening across the Greater St. Cloud region. Building our region's brand into one that's positive, strong and dynamic takes input and collaboration from those living and working in it.

A campaign kick off event was held on April 25 at Capital One. Katie Virnig, local independent marketer and project visionary, along with help from Lacey Schirmers, GREAT Theatre Managing Director, shared an inspiration-filled vision for branding our area and led a discussion on the work currently being done to support it. All attendees received a St. Cloud Shines branded shirt.

Individuals, employers and organizations are encouraged to use the campaign to promote the region and the high quality of life we enjoy. Follow “Greater St. Cloud” on Face Book and Instagram to stay up to date and tap in to this very positive vibe. Use #StCloudShines in your social media posts to help us share the good things happening in all our regional communities.

Posted on April 30, 2019 .