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Target Industries

While Grand Rapids pursues all opportunities to diversify our economic base, we recognize that our individual and regional economic characteristics and resources match well with, and provide a superior location advantage for certain industry classes.

Through a target industry analysis prepared for GREDA in 2005, the following industry classes were identified as “Best Fit” targets:


Industry Classification and Sub-Group


Wood Products/Furniture Manufacturing and Suppliers
          Chipper Plant



Chemical Related
          Bio-Fuel Production and Supplies
          Calcium Carbonate Supplier
          Latex Supplier
          Chemical Supplier



Industrial Machinery Manufacturing
          Industrial Supplies
          Maintenance/Pump Repair Contractor Shops
          Plumbing/HCAC Contractor Shops
          Machine Shops
          Wood, Paper, and Mining Related




Transportation Equipment Manufacturing
          Track/Frame/Rail Assembler
          Wood, Paper, and Mining Related



Paper Manufacturing and Suppliers



Telemarketing Bureaus/Contact Centers



Transportation and Warehousing

482, 484, 488, 489


          Cement Block Manufactures
          Landscape Services


Economic Strengths

Some of the many positive economic attributes identified in the 2005 analysis which lead to these “Best Fit” targets, were strengths such as:

                                  target industry
•    Labor Costs - Target employers can save approximately 14% in wage costs over Minneapolis – St. Paul location by locating in Grand Rapids
•    Labor Availability – Very good labor availability can support 5-7 target locationsin the 50-100 job range.
•    Labor Quality– Excellent labor quality was reported by local employers.  Labor Quality Index indicates “Overall labor quality is among the best in the Midwest.
•    Education– Local businesses rate Grand Rapids’ secondary schools and Itasca Community College, in Grand Rapids, very highly.  Itasca’s Vo-tech training programs offer many disciplines that will benefit target industries.
•    Electric Power – Grand Rapids Public Utilities’ electric rates are lower than all competitors in the region.
•    Water and Sanitary Sewer –Grand Rapids has excess sanitary sewer capacity (6-7 GPD), which provides an ability to handle large industrial loads, and is implementing system-wide water transmission upgrades.
•    Telecommunications – The new telecommunication infrastructure in Grand Rapids can handle virtually any modern business need.
•    Sites – Grand Rapids has a wide variety of improved sites at competitive prices and now also includes large sites with rail access.
•    Cost of Living/Quality of Life– “Grand Rapids is a very unique small town offering many cultural and educational advantages that other small towns do not.  This is due, in part, to the generosity of the Blandin Foundation.  The community is very attractive from a shopping, cost of living, cost of housing, schools and recreational point of view.”

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