Faribault is a global businesses hotspot. Can other Minnesota cities learn from its success?
Friday, November 30, 2018
When some people think of Faribault, they may think of Shattuck St. Mary’s boarding school (and its elite hockey program), or the processing plant for Jennie-O meat, or the fancy-blanket purveyors at Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Others may think of the cultural and racial tensions in the town as its Somali population has grown in the last decade.
But when some state officials think of Faribault, they think of it as a success story. That’s because despite a population of fewer than 25,000 people, Faribault has four major employers owned by companies outside of the U.S., an abundance of foreign investment that experts say is essentially unheard of for a small city in the Midwest.
In fact, it’s unique in Minnesota and “probably across the country,” to have “a town of that size as globally integrated as they are,” said Laurence Reszetar, the director of the Office of Foreign Direct Investment at Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.
SageGlass, a high-tech glass manufacturer owned by France’s Saint-Gobain, has a plant in Faribault, as does Japan’s Daikin Industries, which makes commercial HVAC systems. Mexico’s La Costeña owns Faribault Foods, a cannery known for S&W beans and Butter Kernel vegetables. The German supermarket chain Aldi also has a distribution center in the city.
Taken together, that’s a rare combination of outside investment that Reszetar said he believes can offer a case study for other cities hoping to attract similar employers.
So how did Faribault become such a hub of foreign-owned companies?
Category: economic development