April editor’s note: The heart of the matter

Downtown revitalizations are happening throughout the country and it is exciting to see the same trend happening locally, in our region’s hubs as well as in our smaller communities.

Downtowns are the heart of their communities. If the town’s downtown (or Main Street) is vibrant, the rest of the town is likely to be healthy as well. Every downtown has its own unique features to embrace, yet they all serve the same ultimate goal — to create a thriving community and support local businesses. The downtown redevelopment movement can be seen in various stages throughout our region, from Rapid City, S.D.’s Main Street Square to Grand Forks, N.D.’s budding downtown development group. Read “Reviving the Heart” to learn what downtown groups have planned and how businesses can play a role in the movement.

In “Making a Difference,” we talk to several architects who recently added 3D printers to their firms. The dropping cost of the technology has allowed technology-savvy architects and engineers to begin incorporating 3D printers into their practices, giving the early adopters a competitive advantage, at least until everyone else gets one. The increasing popularity of 3D printers is also prompting new businesses to emerge to serve the growing market. We talk to the founders of Fargo 3D Printing, a startup launched in January to distribute and service the machines. The company expects to soon grow to serve customers in the Dakotas and Minnesota, with plans to also open a retail store later this year.

This month also includes an article on South Dakota’s ongoing work to grow its dairy industry. Most of the state’s efforts are focused on encouraging existing producers to expand their herds, but officials are also actively recruiting out-of-state producers to consider the pastures of South Dakota. This February marked the third year that Gov. Dennis Daugaard and other state officials have traveled to the World Ag Expo in California to recruit dairy farmers. Contributing writer Rob Swenson examines why the state needs a larger dairy industry and how successful its efforts to date have been in “Got Milk?”

Finally, we include a pair of articles that approach workforce issues in completely different ways. Gate City Bank recently renovated part of its downtown Fargo corporate building to create a collaborative workspace, meant to attract the millennial generation. In Killdeer, N.D., Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing subsidized a local daycare and built its own apartment building rather than face losing workers or risk not attracting new workers because of a lack of either of those necessities. Workforce shortages are the top concern for businesses in all industries throughout our area and we will continue to cover unique approaches taken by businesses to combat that issue. Look for more in coming issues.