What is Greater Fergus Falls?

Greater Fergus Falls is a newly formed private, not-for-profit organization that is committed to growing and revitalizing our business community. Made up of a diverse group of community members, Greater Fergus Falls will focus on economic development with a goal of attracting 20 new businesses to our area or expanding our existing businesses by the year 2020.

How does Greater Fergus Falls differ from the other organizations in our community, like Forward Fergus Falls or the Chamber of Commerce?

Greater Fergus Falls is focused on business. Our region is lucky to have many organizations and groups working tirelessly to showcase what a great community we have and to constantly improve the experience of living and working here. Greater Fergus Falls exists to recruit new business to the area, retain our current businesses, and revitalize the local business economy. We believe that the creation of this new Greater Fergus Falls model will enable quick growth and the ability to amass a depth of resources in order to achieve the goals we have set out for our community in the coming years.

Who is leading the efforts of Greater Fergus Falls and what should the community expect?

Led by consultant Bruce Thom (currently serving as CEO of Greater Fergus Falls), the staff and board of directors are working tirelessly to help attract businesses and revitalize our local economy. Bruce has worked as the CEO of Varistar Corporation (a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation, the parent company of Otter Tail Power Company), General Manager of KFGO Radio, is the current owner of the FM Redhawks baseball team, and was responsible for attracting several new businesses to our community, which provided 325 new jobs. Bruce has a proven track record of success and we are honored to have him here to represent our organization.

Who convened the Greater Fergus Falls Board of Directors?

Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schreier assembled the inaugural Greater Fergus Falls Board, pulling from the many business and culture sectors that make Fergus Falls unique. The Board will grow and change as the organization works to fulfill its mission.

Will it cost me anything to work with Greater Fergus Falls?

No! Greater Fergus Falls is funded through the generous donations of local business and government and it will not cost you anything to work with us. We fully anticipate the need for others beyond the Board of Directors to assist as projects are identified – if you are interested in certain areas or have ideas, please let us know! We know this effort will take many to be successful and look forward to working with all stakeholder groups to see our goals achieved.

What has Greater Fergus Falls done to date?

Even though this organization is in its infancy, there are several successes to report:

  • We have brought together a diverse board that represents the arts, philanthropy, education, healthcare, government, and other business professionals. This group is diverse in age and gender, with all members taking a vested interest in revitalizing our community.
  • We have retained Bruce Thom, an experienced leader with a proven track record of success and someone who knows Fergus Falls well, to lead our efforts.
  • We have established a downtown economic development headquarters, which provides a visible presence for us and other organizations to facilitate economic development.
  • We are working diligently with the owners of the abandoned mill downtown to facilitate downtown riverfront development.

Aren’t communities like Fergus Falls dying?

There is no denying that smaller communities are dealing with economic uncertainties in today’s global economy. Due to changing consumer preferences, traditional brick and mortar retail stores have suffered greatly, even though consumers are actually spending more. Retail aside, there are a lot of strong businesses in our area and we are proud of them. We know there is opportunity for growth and we are focused on capturing those opportunities – with the development of the industries we have and bringing in new businesses to the area by 2020. Greater Fergus Falls is committed to reframing the narrative surrounding our beautiful community to reflect its position as a viable, regional success story.

What types of things could Greater Fergus Falls help me with if I want to start a new business?

Greater Fergus Falls employs staff and expert consultants to help remove common barriers to start-ups and expansions and to assist in aligning resources to current businesses facing challenges. You can expect that you will have our time, attention and passion for your project and assistance with locating resources, finding suitable space, creating a business plan, navigating financial requirements and zeroing in on target markets. Greater Fergus Falls staff will connect you to the right people and services to allow you to move forward quickly.

I would like more information and wish to speak with someone from Greater Fergus Falls.

Please contact us here or reach out to our staff or a member of our board of directors. Because we share a passion for the greater Fergus Falls area, we are always interested in meeting new people and hearing new ideas.