Economic Development

A Developing Destination – A Great Place to Do Business

Oelwein is a community on the move. In recent years the city has experienced a wave of new businesses coming to town while retaining those already in operation.

While Oelwein flourished with the railroad industry back in the day, it has managed to change with the times once most rail businesses moved elsewhere in the 1980s.

Oelwein is located with supreme access in all directions. Oelwein, part of Fayette County, Iowa, is in the middle of the Upper Midwest at the intersection of state Highway 3 and 150, with interstate access to the west and south of Oelwein. The city has barge access to the east via the Mississippi River. And for those traveling via plane, the Oelwein Municipal Airport is a general service airport. Domestic airports are close by in Waterloo, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dubuque, Iowa, with international airports in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. Also available is rail service, provided to Oelwein via the
D & W Railroad, which is operated by Iowa Northern Railway.

With multiple modes of transportation available, owning, starting or relocating a business to Oelwein makes perfect sense, as the area’s more than 350 businesses already know. The city of Oelwein, along with its community partners, the Oelwein Chamber and Area Development, Fayette County Economic Development, and the many business partners, offers numerous tools and resources for new businesses and economic development opportunities, all while focusing on retaining its already strong business climate. These partnerships provide direct access to state incentives and technical resources, such as tax abatement, utility discounts, revolving loan funds and tax increment financing. Better yet, the city doesn’t charge any registration or business license fees.

And if the recent news reports are any indicator, companies are taking advantage of Oelwein’s commitment to business. The city recently welcomed an expansion to a battery plant that brought nearly 300 new jobs with it. The battery manufacturer has operated a distribution center for nearly a decade in Oelwein. The new expansion opened in early 2018. Moreover, a railway plant completed a three-phase expansion recently, adding over 100 new jobs. Other new economic development happenings coming to fruition is a shoe store downtown, health care and rehab expansions, a heavy equipment sales facility and a state-of-the-art hotel. The boutique-style hotel boasts 32 rooms, an exercise room, a laundry facility and more amenities.

The Oelwein Chamber and Area Development, and its partners, actively pursues every opportunity to give businesses the chance to thrive here, starting with a place to do business. The Oelwein Industrial Park spans over 180 acres of land along state Highway 150. There is room for expansions and new developments within that area. An option for retailers and smaller businesses is the beautiful downtown, which has undergone revitalization. These improvements included sidewalks, streets, lighting and landscaping.

Equally important to workplace satisfaction is the quality of life available outside of the office. Employers want to know that if they relocate or open a business that there are amenities and attractions in place that keep their employees happy. Oelwein’s sports complex, public parks, scenic trail system, wellness center, numerous community events and other recreational amenities keep all entertained and active. Educational opportunities abound in Oelwein. The community is home to a public school district, a parochial school and preschools. Expanding the educational system is a satellite college facility (NICC), located in the Regional Academy of Math and Science (RAMS), a newly developed state-of-the art Regional Technical Center (RTC) and nearby universities. On top of that, residents have direct access to health care providers, assisted living and nursing facilities.

Whether a startup, new firm or a relocating company, Oelwein offers endless advantages for growing a business and developing a well-rounded place to live, work and play.

– By Sarah Lancaster

Industrial Employers – No. of Employees
  • Oelwein Community Schools – 250
  • Mercy Hospital of Franciscan Sisters – 150
  • Ashley Industrial Molding – 110
  • Grandview Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center – 135
  • Humach – 50
  • Transco Railway Products Inc. – 180
  • Oelwein Health Care Center – 90
  • East Penn – 350
  • Bertch Cabinet Manufacturing Inc. – 51
  • City Laundering Company – 100
  • Oelwein Publishing – 42
  • Flint Hills Resources Fairbank LLC – 50
  • Ideal Industries Inc. – 41
  • International Ingredients – 30
  • Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. – 24
  • DCW (Formerly Active Bio Materials) – 4
  • Quality Plus – 7
  • ABCO Manufacturing – 7

Source: Oelwein Chamber and Area Development

Population (2010 Census) – 6,415

Housing (2012-2016)
Median value of owner-occupied housing units – $67,300
Households – 2,667

Educational Attainment (2012-2016)
High school graduate or higher, 25+ years – 85.8%
Bachelor’s degree or higher, 25+ years – 14.9%

Income (2012-2016)
Median household income – $39,922