The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is well known in the community and throughout the area for the top-notch programs and services we provide for our members and the region. That’s why we have produced the 2019 Regional Profile and Membership Guide. We believe this publication is a significant and visible resource we can put into your hands every year.
This publication is designed to:
- Help you generate new business.
- Educate businesses and individuals about the benefits of living and doing business in Central Minnesota.
- Give you access to information and individuals you need to know.
Some of you are receiving a publication with both a membership directory and a community profile. We hope you will look to the membership directory first when making your buying decisions. The region’s best civic citizens support our Chamber. When you support the businesses that support the Chamber, you demonstrate your commitment to the prosperity of the St. Cloud area.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become part of this dynamic business environment and see your name included in
the next St. Cloud Area Regional Profile and Membership Guide, give me a call at (320) 656-3804. Everyone who believes in business, believes in community and believes in success is welcome to be part of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.
Teresa Bohnen, President
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
The St. Cloud area is a thriving regional center of commerce in Central Minnesota with deep agricultural and industrial roots and a modern history that dates back to the settlement of Sauk Rapids at the confluence of the Sauk and Mississippi Rivers in 1851.
Enhanced by those rivers, the area’s natural resources guided the way to economic prosperity, with prominent activity early on in fur trading, farming, lumber and printing industries.
Not long after St. Cloud was established in 1856, large granite deposits were discovered, prompting the establishment of many area granite companies. The rock and stone industry mushroomed after colored granite deposits were discovered in 1868.
St. Cloud is the third largest metropolitan area in the state and one of the fastest growing, featuring the best in living, education, health care, commercial, cultural and recreational offerings – not to mention expanding economic development that continues to raise the quality of life for residents and businesses alike.
St. Cloud 67,984
Sauk Rapids 13,722
Waite Park 7,481
St. Joseph 7,126
Stearns County 157,822
Benton County 39,937
Sherburne County 94,570
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 estimate
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010)
St. Cloud $45,223
Sauk Rapids $48,164
Waite Park $40,119
St. Joseph $50,572
Stearns County $56,977
Benton County $51,841
Sherburne County $78,081
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, State and County Quickfacts, 2018 (2012-2016 estimates)
St. Cloud: 28.8
Sauk Rapids: 32.8
Waite Park: 32.6
St. Joseph: 22.7
Stearns County: 33.3
Benton County: 34.1
Sherburne County 33.9
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census
Metropolitan Statistical Area
2014 Population 193,000
(American Community Survey estimate)
2018 Labor Force 111,500
August 2018 Unemployment Rate 2.5%
2014 Private Sector Payroll $3.4 billion
Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
City *Miles from St. Cloud
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 65
Duluth, MN 145
Rochester, MN 154
Fargo, ND 171
Des Moines, IA 309
Madison, WI 337
Winnipeg, Manitoba 394
*Distance from the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce office in downtown St. Cloud
The St. Cloud area is positioned for development, both commercially and residentially. Composed of St. Cloud, St. Augusta, St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park, the metropolitan area is an ideal place to live for residents from all walks of life.
Housing prices in Central Minnesota are 32 percent less expensive than in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The St. Cloud area has it all: first-time homebuyer properties to lakeshore or riverside estates; country living to urban condominiums; and varied leasing options in apartment complexes and rental properties.
Neighborhoods in the area have a strong sense of community. Many have homeowner associations and community watch organizations helping to connect neighbors and inform them about opportunities for maintaining strong and safe neighborhoods.
Law enforcement comes from four police departments and three sheriff’s offices. The area has a violent crime rate that is below the national average.
Cost of Living
While St. Cloud has experienced tremendous growth, its cost of living remains competitive in comparison to other urban areas. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index, organized and published quarterly by the Council for Community and Economic Research, shows the St. Cloud area’s cost of living was six percent below that of the Twin Cities in 2018. Six components comprise the composite index: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.
Find Out More
Things to Do in St Cloud MN:
The St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) brings thousands of visitors to Central Minnesota each year. The Chamber dedicates seven staff members to market the St. Cloud area as a premier visitor destination and to encourage community improvements that benefit residents and increase the economic impact of visitors.
In just the first half of 2018, the Chamber’s CVB:
- Hosted the Minnesota Wild’s 2018 Hockey Day Minnesota two-day celebration.
- Booked 50 conventions, events and tournaments for future years, drawing 14,135 attendees who will spend an estimated $2.3 million and occupy 16,435 hotel room nights.
- Hosted 10 site inspections, eight travel bloggers and a series of familiarization tours.
- Fulfilled 30,000 visitor inquiries.
2018 Awards and Recognitions
- Received the St. Cloud Mayor’s “Rock On” Award for coordinating Hockey Day Minnesota.
- Named runner-up for the Top CVB in Minnesota by MN Meetings & Events Magazine.
- Received the Award of Excellence for Best New Innovative Product/Service at the Midwest Society of Association Executivesannual expo.
With its array of sports and recreation, museums, outdoor spaces and cultural outlets, the St. Cloud area is alive with activities for all ages and interests.
Sports & recreational opportunities
Residents and visitors can take advantage of many outdoor activities in the St. Cloud area, including:
- Canoeing and kayaking, on your own or with rental and guided trips on the River Water Trail system.
- Fishing on a part of the Mississippi River recognized as one of the top 10 spots in the country for small-mouth bass.
- Camping on the Mississippi River, or in numerous county parks or private campgrounds.
- Miles of recreational trails for walking, hiking, rollerblading, bicycling, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, including the 46-mile Lake Wobegon Trail and the Beaver Islands Trail along the Mississippi River.
- Roughly 1,500 acres of parkland in the St. Cloud area, filled with such amenities as baseball/softball and athletic fields; playground equipment; picnic facilities; and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, plus an additional 100 parcels available for future parkland development.
- Rock climbing, cross-country skiing and scuba diving at Stearns County’s Quarry Park in Waite Park.
- More than 60 area golf courses.
If spectator sports are more your style, the St. Cloud area has plenty to satisfy your inner fan, including:
- St. Cloud State University Huskies NCAA athletics, including Division I men’s and women’s hockey teams at the National Hockey Center.
- St. Cloud Rox summer collegiate baseball team, playing in the Northwoods League at Joe Faber Field at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
- The Granite City Lumberjacks, a tier III hockey team.
- The St. Cloud Area Roller Dolls, a flat-track roller derby team.
- The Saint John’s University Johnnies and College of St. Benedict Blazers.
- St. Cloud Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams – the Feeders and Sirens.
- Granite City Renegades semi-professional football team.
Add to the list major recreational facilities such as the Municipal Athletic Complex, the new St. Cloud Area Family Y, which opened in 2017, and Whitney Senior Center and you have a wide range of programming for youth through seniors.
Attractions for all ages
Nature enthusiasts can delight in several unique offerings, including:
- Munsinger and Clemens gardens, featuring extensive perennial and annual flower gardens overlooking the Mississippi River. Open to
- St. John’s Arboretum, 2,700 acres of lakes, prairie, oak savanna and woodland surrounding St. John’s University, featuring educational programs focused on the importance of this natural restoration project.
- Hemker Park and Zoo in nearby Freeport. A 14-acre private zoo that includes 32 species of waterfowl, African safari animals, primates, aquatic animals, a seasonal butterfly house and even a giraffe!
- History and arts fans have much to choose from in the St. Cloud area, including:
- The Stearns History Museum, recognized as one of the finest history museums in Minnesota and the only nationally accredited museum in greater Minnesota. It features two floors of exhibit space, a research library, a mini-theater, museum store and educational programming.
- The Haehn Museum at the Art and Heritage Place in St. Benedict’s Monastery, with nearly 4,000 artifacts dating back to 1857. It contains an exhibit hall featuring the cultural, social and religious influence of the Benedictine sisters in local, state, national and international ministries, Artisan Studios and Whitby Gift Shop and Gallery.
- The Paramount Center for the Arts is the artistic heart of St. Cloud. The restored 1921 theater provides a stage for numerous community groups and a venue for professional performances. The Visual Arts Center offers classes for beginning and experienced artists and professional development opportunities for artists, educators and businesses. The Paramount is also home to several resident arts organizations.
- Pioneer Place on Fifth brings professional theater, original plays, and a concert series to Central Minnesota each year. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of wine at the Veranda Lounge before performances.
- Great River Educational Arts Theatre is a community theater providing more than 1,400 youth and adults with the opportunity to perform through productions and theater classes each year. Their recently completed headquarters includes rehearsal halls, scene shop, costume shop, administrative office and a learning lab.
- The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University offer the Benedicta Arts Center, a 173,000-square-foot performance space, the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, the Literary Arts Institute, Saint John’s Pottery and a fine arts series.
- Located on the campus of St. John’s University is the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, home to the St. John’s Bible. This is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. Visitors to the museum can see the pages in person, from the gold and platinum leaf on the vellum and the brightness of the inks, to the calligraphers’ marks in the margins as they test the ink and flexibility of the quill. There is no admission charge, and no reservations are needed for a self-guided tour.
- St. Cloud State University offers the Kiehle Visual Arts Center, the Performing Arts Center and a wealth of arts-related offerings.
- Performing musical organizations include the Minnesota Center Chorale, the Great River Chorale, the Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Municipal Band, the Paramount Jazz Orchestra and the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.
- The River’s Edge Convention Center features the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and is host to trade shows, conventions, social/entertainment events and more.
Thanks to the programs, services and all-around advocacy of such entities as the St. Cloud Arts Commission, Central Minnesota Arts Board, and Visual Arts Minnesota, the cultural and entertainment community in the region is vibrant and growing.
Find out more
- Arts and Entertainment at Around the Cloud | aroundthecloud.org
- St. Cloud State Outdoor Endeavors stcloudstate.edu/campusrec/outdoorendeavors
- St. Cloud Rox Baseball | stcloudrox.com
- St. Cloud State Athletics | scsuhuskies.com
- Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center | paramountarts.org
- GREAT Theatre | greattheatre.org
- Stearns History Museum | stearns-museum.org
- The St. John’s Bible | saintjohnsbible.org
- Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society | munsingerclemens.com
- Pioneer Place on Fifth | ppfive.com
- St. Cloud Area Family YMCA | scymca.org
- St. Cloud Area Convention & Visitors Bureau | VisitStCloudMN.com
The St. Cloud area has earned recognition as a great place to do business. Entrepreneur magazine listed St. Cloud among the “Top 10 Mid-sized Cities in the Nation for Small Businesses.” NerdWallet.com included St. Cloud among the “Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs” and in the “Best Places to Start a Business in Minnesota.” Minnesota Business Magazine referred to the I-94 region from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities as “The Golden Corridor” due to the area’s stable economy and continuous business and residential development.
The pro-business attitude found in Central Minnesota has created an optimal environment for all businesses and industries, no matter the size or type.
Business-focused resources in the St. Cloud area are significant, and include:
- St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
- Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
- City of St. Cloud’s Economic Development Authority
- Minnesota Workforce Center-St. Cloud and Career Solutions
- The Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University
- Minnesota Central Region Small Business Development Center
- The Anderson Center of Management and Leadership
- Benton Economic Partnership
- Sherburne County Economic Development
- Stearns County Housing and Redevelopment Authority
- Initiative Foundation
The area is also equipped with plenty of financial incentives, including:
- Revolving loan programs
- Tax Increment Financing
- Small business development loan programs
- Tax abatement
- Construction assistance
- Gap financing
Vibrant Retail Options
Downtown St. Cloud’s renewed vibrancy has made it the place to be for shopping and dining. Lining its streets are more than 80 places to shop and more than 40 restaurants.
Complementing downtown St. Cloud is Crossroads Shopping Center, the largest enclosed shopping center in Greater Minnesota. The mall is anchored by three major department stores and one of the largest sporting goods stores in Minnesota. It boasts more than 120 major specialty shops and eateries.
Additional retail sites include:
- Centennial Shopping Center
- Dan Tree Court
- Division Place Fashion Center
- Division Street Plaza
- Marketplace Shopping Center and Annex
- Midtown Square
- Northgate Shopping Center
- Plaza West Shopping Center
- Rivertown Village
- Riverwood Mall
- West Point Shops
Superior education is a cornerstone of the St. Cloud area’s economic success. Education is an invaluable investment in its residents’ lives. Area communities have ensured easy access to high-quality educational opportunities for students of all ages.
St. Cloud Area Independent School District 742 (isd742.org):
The largest public school district in Central Minnesota, serving over 10,000 K-12 students located in four counties with eight elementary schools, three middle level schools, two high schools, three alternative learning schools, early childhood services and community education. These schools are staffed with more than 850 teachers, 64 percent of whom hold advanced degrees.
- Sauk Rapids-Rice Independent School District 47 (www.isd47.org)
- Sartell-St. Stephen Independent School District 748 (www.sartell.k12.mn.us)
- Rocori Independent School District 750 (www.rocori.k12.mn.us)
- Athlos Academy (athlosstcloud.org)
- Stride Academy (strideacademy.org)
- St. Cloud Math & Science Academy (scmsastem.com)
First-class private schools
The St. Cloud Catholic Community Schools (catholiccommunityschools.org) provide an option for parochial education through eight facilities located within the St. Cloud area. Seven preschool and elementary schools, plus Cathedral High School make up this new system, which was established in 2017.
Saint John’s Preparatory School (sjprep.net) is a Catholic/Benedictine, co-educational, day and boarding International baccalaureate college preparatory school for students in grades 6-12. The school is located within the 2,700 acres of woods and lakes of Saint John’s University’s campus in Central Minnesota.
St. Cloud Christian School (stcloudchristian.org) is an independent nondenominational Christian school providing K-12 education.
St. Cloud State University (stcloudstate.edu) serves more than 15,000 students with nearly 200 majors, minors and pre-professional programs, along with nearly 250 clubs and organizations, a state-of-the-art library, NCAA athletics (including NCAA Division I hockey) and opportunities for recreational and cultural enrichment.
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University (csbsju.edu) serve nearly 3,700 students with 37 major and 40 minor programs. They have earned recognition as two of the top Catholic liberal arts colleges in the U.S., with an integrated learning environment that allows students to share an academic program while attending classes at both the St. Joseph and Collegeville campuses.
St. Cloud Technical and Community College (sctcc.edu) serves more than 6,000 students with more than 90 programs of study, including certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in science, applied science and arts.
The College of St. Scholastica (css.edu) has an outreach program in St. Cloud. Students are able to complete their undergraduate and, in some cases, graduate degrees during evenings and weekends and online, often through accelerated learning programs.
Rasmussen College (rasmussen.edu) is a private, two- and four-year degree-granting college that offers on-campus, online and blended-learning courses with a flexible schedule.
Lifelong educational, social and recreational learning opportunities are readily available to people of all ages in the St. Cloud area. Area school district community education programs offer adult and youth enrichment, aquatics and early childhood developmental screening. St. Cloud State University’s Center for Continuing Studies brings degree programs and professional development training to adult learners. St. Cloud’s Whitney Senior Center offers Third Age University courses.
The St. Cloud area’s medical sector has experienced tremendous growth and expansion. Major clinics and a regional hospital intermix with a variety of private practices, establishing the area as a regional hub for medical care. Continuous medical advancements and enhanced facilities and amenities add to the high quality of life enjoyed in the St. Cloud area.
Saint Cloud Hospital
Founded in 1886, St. Cloud Hospital has grown into Central Minnesota’s largest health care facility. Recognized as a “Top 100 Hospital” by Truven Health Analytics, a nationally recognized health care benchmarking program, St. Cloud Hospital has also been listed multiple times as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. The 489-bed hospital has earned Magnet Hospital designation for nursing excellence since 2004 and offers a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services, including state-of-the-art operating rooms, cardiac and vascular care center, family birthing center, intensive care unit and private patient rooms. It is part of the CentraCare Health network.
This health care network includes six hospitals (St. Cloud, Long Prairie, Melrose, Sauk Centre, Monticello and Paynesville), a variety of senior care facilities, more than 25 clinics and many outreach and specialty care options serving more than 25 communities throughout the region. CentraCare Health comprises over 10,000 employees in the system and a medical staff of over 400 – making it the largest employer in the area. (centracare.com)
HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics
Serving the St. Cloud area for more than 35 years, HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics provides medical, dental and behavioral health care, and a wide variety of specialty services including an on-site pharmacy. HealthPartners’ HealthStation Clinic offers selected treatments, screenings and vaccinations to walk-in patients at Coborn’s Superstore in Sauk Rapids. (hpcmc.com)
St. Cloud VA Health Care System
Since 1924, the St. Cloud VA has been providing outstanding care to American veterans from all over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Each year more than 34,000 veterans are served through the center. Primary and specialty care; mental health services; surgical, urgent care and acute psychiatric care; telemedicine; extended care and rehabilitation; imaging; laboratory; ambulatory surgery; and pharmacy services are the main programs offered through the facility. (www.stcloud.va.gov)
A wealth of additional health resources is available in the St. Cloud area, including private clinics and practices focusing on virtually every health care need: dentistry, orthodontia, optometry, plastic and reconstructive surgery, orthopedics, chiropractic care, nutrition and alternative health services. No matter the medical need, there is sure to be a facility nearby dedicated to providing the finest in health care services and programming.