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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 14, 2012, 10:20 PM

Fergus Falls Hotel helps businesses expand communications

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - A hotel with a modern day mission aims to attract companies around the world to Lakes Country. The Business Development Center is a resource facility with unique solutions never before seen in Minnesota.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

A hotel with a modern day mission aims to attract companies around the world to Lakes Country. The Business Development Center is a resource facility with unique solutions never before seen in Minnesota. The Fergus Falls Telework Initiative has a goal of keeping people here, while promoting a state of the art communications network.

For Doug Bartels, starting a company in Fergus Falls wasn't a difficult decision. His employees were already here.

Doug Bartels – GreenSneakers Executive Director: “That's why we moved into this location.”

Bartels' company is based in Wahpeton, but instead of moving there, his six employees are now working from the Business Development Center. The one of a kind office just opened.

Doug Bartels: “We needed facilities that would give us an opportunity to store and warehouse collections of tennis shoes and then a central location for all of us to work together.”

GreenSneakers is one of three businesses that have come to the community, each using this telework hotel along I-94.

Tim Brinkman – Park Region Telephone: “We have great infrastructure for telecommunications.”

It has office suites, work stations, even training rooms - any resources needed to be in business, all which can be rented by the day, week, or month.

Harold Stanislawski – Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission: “Anytime you can get more jobs and more payroll here, that's what it's all about. It helps keep the economy going and dollars circulate many times in a community.”

The hotel serves a dual role.

Tim Brinkman: “If your employer is in California, but you don't want to move to Los Angeles or whatever and they offer a telework solution for you then, yes you can work right here in Otter Tail County.”

Harold Stanislawski: “And it's also a place to incubate new businesses and that's critically important, especially for entrepreneurs who need a place like this to start up.”

Essentially all the same work is done here, all with the help of high speed internet, now changing the way we work and making Fergus Falls the Telework Capital of Minnesota.

The city is working with Park Region Telephone and Otter Tail Telecom for people working from home. The partners have advanced infrastructure to include fiber in neighborhoods. They've increased internet speeds to at least 50 megabits per second.

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