Sarah Stultz: The business is growing in the right direction – Albert Lea Tribune

Sarah Stultz: Business growth is going in the right direction

posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 8:45pm

News Nose Sarah Stewarts

There will always be people who disagree, but I think from my perspective, it’s been a very successful year for Albert Lea.

It’s encouraging to reflect on what happened last year as we prepare for the impact special section to be published alongside today’s paper.

From a public perspective, there’s a lot to see – new apartment complexes, new storefronts, and an ever-expanding and growing activity. But there are also many things that are invisible.

In case you may have forgotten what happened, I just wanted to take a moment to highlight all the good things happening in our community.

We have several new residential developments under construction – one has opened on Front Street and many more are in development in the former MarketPlace Foods building and downtown.

There are new retail opportunities downtown and throughout the community, including but not limited to Harbour Freight, Biglots, Dollar Tree, Kashing Chains, Fusion Board Shop and Shopko Optical.

For restaurants, we’ve seen the opening of Mocha & Mini, Jersey Mike’s, Natural Asian Grocery & Cafe, Al’s Burgers & Cafe, Scooter’s Coffee and, most recently, Bader’s Cafe.

In the medical space, the Mayo Clinic Health System just kicked off a nearly $15 million upgrade, St. Croix Hospice recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in Albert Lea, Big Stone Therapies opened last November, and MercyOne Albert Lea Home Medicine store Opened in May.

Then there are industrial companies.

Vortex Cold Storage invested $30 million in its Albert Lea facility, starting loading its first truck in February.

Design Ready Controls, which makes electric vehicle chargers, will open in October. Many others are also looking to grow and expand.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of what has already happened, and there are many other efforts in the works. Some are not made public.

We didn’t know until recently about the success of Albert Lea’s company, Granny’s Legacy, which changed its business during the onset of the pandemic, has since doubled in size, and is already looking to expand again.

From hearing a speech from an economic development official a few weeks ago, it’s clear there are many other opportunities. I look forward to some more exciting announcements in the near future.

If you’re ready to complain that nothing is happening in the community and that Albert Lea is dying, I challenge you to drive from one end to the other and list all the new and changing things you see. Also keep in mind that some additions and improvements are visible, while some happen without the pomp and circumstance inside.

Some businesses are hiring more staff, some have expanded their production lines, and the list goes on.

Sarah Stultz is editor-in-chief of The Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.

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