Bemidji Steel Company representatives, along with Tiffany Fettig of Greater Bemidji Inc., informed the Hubbard County Board Tuesday of the manufacturer’s intentions to construct a new, nearly $3-million corporate office in the county.
Greater Bemidji Inc. is an economic development organization for the Beltrami County area, Fettig explained. “We’re assisting them in their expansion efforts.”
Bemidji Steel Company currently has a location in the Bemidji Industrial Park, she said, but plans to expand to property just south of Bemidji, located at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 71 and County Road 9.
“They are accessing a state program from DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) called the Job Creation Fund, which allows them to receive a rebate upon completion of their expansion. It gives them a certain percentage back on the capital improvements they make to the buildings, that they add to the property as well as a stipend for each job that gets created,” Fettig continued.
Alex Grasdalen, chief operations officer for Bemidji Steel Company called the project a “state-of-the-art, value-added production facility for metal, and also we’re going to relocate our commercial steel sales division to the location, so we’ll create six jobs, all within the manufacturing sector and all levels of our business. We’re looking forward to support of the county and excited to be in the neighborhood.”
According to their website (bemidjisteel.com), the company began in 1983 to serve local companies and people who were unable to access metal supplies. With Jane Grasdalen the majority owner of the company, it is woman owned and family managed.
Grasdalen said they currently employ 15, the majority of whom will move to the new Hubbard County location. “Our goal is, over the next two years, to grow to about 20 to 25.”
Dale Grasdalen, senior vice president/sales director of Bemidji Steel, also attended the meeting.
Fettig said the county is “not on the hook for anything. It really is just your blessing it.”
County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution of support for the proposed project, which stated, “the project is in the public interest because it will encourage the growth of commerce and industry, prevent the movement of current or future operations to locations outside Minnesota, result in increased employment in Minnesota, and preserve or enhance the state and local tax base.” The resolution also noted the project “will increase the number of livable wage jobs in the county.”