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Sweet Home Minnesota

There are times we get frustrated with Minnesota. I get it. I have been a small business owner in this state too. Sometimes we feel like regulations are too tough compared to our neighbors, or that taxes take too large of a bite.

Now, I’m not saying that business owners and managers don’t face difficult challenges here. I know for a fact that they do. What I would like to convey is that doing business in every state has its own challenges, and, despite the ones we face here, Minnesota continues to rank at the top of states to do business in.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Minnesota ranks:

#1 In five-year business survival rate
#1 In Fortune 500 Companies
#2 Best overall state to do business in
#2 Best state for economic opportunity

Impressive, right? But, you’re probably thinking, “ok that sounds good, but how do we rank in other metrics?”

#1 State to raise a family
#3 In high school graduation rate   
# 1 State for ACT scores
#1 State in voter participation

And my favorite…

#1 Least-stressed state

I’m not quite sure how they figured that out, but hey, we’ll take it.

You can see a whole plethora of amazing facts and statistics on Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on their enticing outreach site,

Locally, we have been holding the line during these tumultuous past couple years. In my short tenure, I’ve been nothing but impressed by the number of new businesses we’ve celebrated with First Dollar and Ribbon Cutting events. In conversations with folks from some of our larger employers, business is good. Again, this is not to understate their challenges. Labor shortages continue to be a problem, and supply chain and inflation woes don’t just hit us at the gas station and grocery store, but at all personal and business levels. Your local and state Chambers continually work on these issues, but we all need to all be active in pushing our elected leaders to offer more help to our business community- like fixing the unemployment trust fund, excelling efforts in workforce training, offering a gas tax break, investing more into out-state tourism and recreation, and tackling affordable housing concerns.

I guess what I’m getting at is, let’s not forget to celebrate the overall economic vitality and quality of life we’ve built for ourselves and each other in this great state of Minnesota. As election season begins to rear its head, we’re going to be hearing doom and gloom from both sides. However, let’s remember that this state has done an amazing job, even with (or maybe because we have) a split government, of working together to keep the ship on its course. We the people of Lake City, and towns like it all over Minnesota, work together, solve problems, and hold ourselves to the highest standards in the country- if not the world. That is what is reflected in those rankings above. Be proud.

Ed Hoffman

Executive Director
Lake City Chamber of Commerce

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