The Iowa Lakes Corridor has a diverse collection of business and industry. In addition to a strong farm employment, the Corridor region is dominated by three sectors – manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and health services.
Existing business and industry are the lifeblood of our regional economy. We thank them for their investment and the employment opportunities provided to area citizens. Most new jobs and investment come from existing business and industry and that is certainly the case in the Iowa Lakes Corridor. Each year an existing business and industry call program is conducted by the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation staff and volunteers. These visits provide an opportunity for business and industry to rate the area and to help identify opportunities and red flags for communities in the region.
The top employers in the region include: Tyson Meats, Polaris Industries, The Hillshire Brands,Pure Fishing, Eaton Corporaton, Rosenboom Machine & Tool, Spencer Municipal Hospital, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Wal-Mart Stores, Hy-Vee stores, Rembrandt Enterprises, Meridian Manufacturing, and Lakes Regional Healthcare.
Agriculture is an important segment of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Region’s economy. 10.6 percent of the regional economy is derived from agriculture, forestry and mining industry. Corn, soybeans, livestock and poultry are raised or grown in this region.
There are several value-added agricultural facilities and food manufacturers in the region – processing eggs, pork, turkeys, and fish. We’re also home to a local winery, chocolate and cookie factories, and a pizza dough manufacturer.
65.2 percent of the people involved in agriculture have some level of education or training beyond high school. 21.1 percent have an associate degree while 14.6 percent have an undergraduate degree and 1.8 percent hav a postgraduate/professional degree.
Manufacturing is the largest employment sector in the Iowa Lakes Corridor region – 28.8% in Buena Vista County, 16.4% in Clay County, 22.1% in Dickinson County and 19.4% in Emmet County. This compares to the statewide average of 14.2% employed in manufacturing.
Nearly two-thirds (65.9%) of those employed in the manufacturing industry are paid an hourly wage whereas 27.8% earn a salary. The current hourly wage, annual salary and the wage thresholds based on all of those in the industry and those willing to change/enter employment are provided below.
Tourism With more than 20 lakes, 200 miles of trails, water parks, an amusement park, community theatres, art centers, summer theatre, live music venues, golf courses, tennis and racquetball courts, public parks, antique and specialty shops, and a variety of eateries, there are endless things to do in your leisure time.
The Okoboji area includes a chain of glacier-carved lakes covering 15,000 acres. Iowa’s largest natural lake, Spirit Lake, and five interconnected lakes – West Okoboji, East Okoboji, Upper Gar, Lower Gar and Minnewashta along with the surrounding communities provide a year-round playground. Storm Lake covers 3,200 acres and is home to the region’s newest resort and water park – King’s Pointe Resort.
Winter months are no exception for outdoor fun. Take advantage of the lakes for ice fishing, take a spin in a snowmobile on the lakes and across the many snowmobile trails. Try some cross-country skiing or ice skating, too. Hunting is also a popular outdoor sport in this region. And don’t miss the Storm Lake Winter Days and Okoboji Winter Games held in January each year.
As a result, tourism is a significant piece of the region’s economy. The population of the area swells from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend and during the Winter Games. Depending on the weather, even weekends through the Fall are more populated than ever. And with the addition of two indoor water parks, more traffic is noticeable year-round.
Contact us for more assistance in making an investment in this tourist region.
More information is available in this section of the website regarding existing business including the list of major employers.