BITN – January 2022

BITN GraphicBITN is a compilation of business stories from around Minnesota and neighboring states usually not reported on by Twin Cities media. These stories are curated by Platinum Group to provide business leads, trends and insights we hope you will find useful.

‘Bank Wanted’

Bremer Bank plans to close on April 15 the only bank located in Houston, Minn., citing as a reason digital adoption across the banking industry. However, Houston’s population of about 1,000 residents skews older and would prefer to keep in-person options. The town is located about 25 minutes-drive west of La Crosse, Wis. MORE

Mining Ban Near Boundary Waters Explored, Again

A new application from the U.S. Forest Service calls for banning new mining on about 350 miles of the Superior National Forest within the Rainy River watershed, which flows north into the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. This includes land on which Twin Metal Minnesota is looking to develop a copper-nickel mine south of Ely. Federal officials once again gathered feedback from the public this month on the concept of a ban. This comes more than five years after a 20-year mining ban was first proposed for this section of northern Minnesota. MORE

City Provides Employees Nearly $1 Million in Bonuses

Some 967 City of Fargo full-and part-time employees received bonuses of nearly $1,000 on the evening of Dec. 27, 2021, in appreciation of their hard work and dedication during the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fargo paid for the bonuses with unspent COVID relief funds from 2020 through the CARES Act. Other cities typically used these funds to pay for costs that taxpayers would otherwise have to cover. MORE

Mayo Helps Fund In-Home Health Care Business Medically Home

Mayo Clinic is one of a handful of health care systems to invest $110 million into Medically Home, which provides those systems with the elements required to care for patients at home, including platform technology, reimbursement models and clinical protocols. More than 7,000 patients have already been treated using the Medically Home platform. Others chipping into this financing included Baxter International, Cardinal Health, and Kaiser Permanente. Cardinal, Kaiser and Mayo all provided additional funding as well. MORE

Traction Capital Infuses $1 Million into GoRout

Wayzata-based Traction Capital, a new Minnesota venture capital and private equity firm, recently invested $500,000 in GoRout, a 9-year-old Rochester-based sports technology firm. It raised an additional $500,000 via a special purpose vehicle. GoRout plans to use the $1 million infusion to double the size of its staff to 20 and expand its reach into more sports (including soccer and lacrosse) and more countries. The company specializes in making communicating plays from coaches to players easier. It has about 400 college and high school teams using its technology during practices and its digital network for play videos now covers more than 97 percent of the United States. MORE

Green Thumb Acquires One of Only Two Minnesota-Licensed Operations

Publicly traded Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries Inc., a leading national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner of RYTHM, Good Green and incredible- branded cannabis products, has acquired LeafLine Industries, one of only two licensed cultivators in the Minnesota medical cannabis market licensed to grow, process and dispense cannabis directly to patients. The acquisition includes a cultivation facility and five open and operating retail locations in Eagan, Hibbing, St. Cloud, St. Paul and Willmar. Green Thumb will also maintain the opportunity to open three additional retail locations in the state. With the acquisition, Green Thumb has cannabis operations to serve over 50 percent of the United States population. The company was founded in 2014, employs 3,600 people, serves 7 million customers and has 17 manufacturing facilities, 73 open retail locations and operations across 15 U.S. markets. MORE

Tesla Agrees to Buy Nickel from Talon Metals

Talon Metals says it has a commitment from Tesla to purchase 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from Talon’s yet-to-be-built mine in Tamarack, Minn., which is about 50 miles west of Duluth. Talon hopes the mine will be operational by 2026 but has yet to start the permitting process. Other mining startups in Minnesota such as Twin Metal Minnesota have found it takes several years to possibly obtain such permits. MORE

Wabasha Marina Sold

Ben and Jennifer Millemon of Meridian, Idaho, have purchased Wabasha Marine and Boatyard, which stands on 22 acres and features 197 covered and uncovered slips for boat lengths of 14 feet to 60 feet. The marina is located about one hour south of Hastings and about 15 minutes south of Lake City. MORE

Lutsen Mountains to be Owned by Only One Person

Charles Skinner is reportedly in the process of purchasing brother-in-law, co-owner and co-president Tom Rider's 50-percent ownership interest in Lutsen Mountains. Founded by George Nelson Jr. in 1948, the ski resort was purchased by Charlie Skinner in 1980. His son, Charles and son-in-law, Tom, have run the resort together since the early 1990s. According to a news release, a stock purchase by Charles was initiated by Rider, but the specific terms were not released. MORE

Mayo Clinic Plans Mankato Expansion

Mayo Clinic in Mankato is considering a four-story, 140,000-square-foot addition to its Mankato hospital that would boost the number of hospital beds there by 40 percent to 240 over the course of five years. The expansion also would provide staff areas, public space and a relocated helipad on the roof. MORE

Cities of St. Cloud and Fargo Release Control of Local Airports

At the end of last year, the governance and all assets of the St. Cloud Regional Airport were transferred from the City of St. Cloud to the St. Cloud Regional Airport Authority, which represents the city as well as local counties. MORE

Earlier this month, the City of Fargo and a municipal board that governs the community’s airport changed a 50-year-old agreement to where the airport’s 32 employees are no longer city employees, and the authority takes over services previously provided by the city such as finances, information services, payroll and human resources. MORE

Taylor Corp. Acquires Bindery

North Mankato, Minn.-based Taylor Corp. recently agreed to acquire the assets of family owned Reindl Bindery Co. of Germantown, Wisconsin. Reindl’s 40-60 employees provide book binding and related services. Founded in 1978, the business will now be part of Taylor’s Corporate Graphics Commercial business. MORE

Major Nitrogen Plant ‘Shovel-Ready’ But Still Needs $2 Billion in Financing

An idea that originally surfaced in 2013 for a large-scale nitrogen production plant in Grand Forks is ready to go as soon as it can arrange the financing necessary to build and begin operating it, according to the Grand Forks Herald’s recent interview with an official from Northern Plains Nitrogen. The company says as many as 3,000 construction workers would be needed during construction phases over three years, with about 200 full-time employees to operate and maintain the plant after that. The focus of the plant would be to produce and sell nitrogen-based fertilizer products, including ammonia, urea and urea ammonium nitrate. MORE