New business, new attitude

Lake Elmo officials: Valley Cartage move shows city wants growth

LAKE ELMO — The snip of scissors Tuesday afternoon signaled a new attitude toward business in Lake Elmo.

City, county and state officials joined Valley Cartage staff at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the company’s new Hudson Road supply chain logistics center near Interstate 94.

Valley Cartage is a Hudson, Wis.-based, family owned trucking company that moved its logistics operation to the Wipfli building from two Hudson locations, according to company CEO Todd Gilbert.

Lake Elmo city officials view the company’s move to their city as a signal that Lake Elmo welcomes new businesses.

“We’re thrilled to have you,” said Mayor Mike Pearson during the ceremony.
“This is a cornerstone for what we’re trying to do along this corridor,” added Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel. “We’ve got Valley Cartage on this end and 3M on the other end.”

“Minnesota really wants you here and we’re glad you’re here,” said Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater.

Gilbert praised Lake Elmo officials for their effort to land Valley Cartage’s logistics center. That effort included the city and county Board of Commissioners both approving tax abatements that were part of the agreement bringing the company to the city.

“I think that the willingness and drive from the mayor and Dean (Zuleger), the city administrator, they really drove us to it,” Gilbert said referring to the Lake Elmo office.

Zuleger praised family-owned and run Valley Cartage as the type of business Lake Elmo wants to attract to the city.

“Valley Cartage is a business that reflects Lake Elmo,” he said.

Zuleger said the city’s effort to land Valley Cartage started nearly a year ago with a tip from a commercial real estate agent and help from the Greater MSP group.

“A local broker found the building for Valley Cartage. Valley Cartage approached us last fall about moving into the (Wipfli) building. Greater MSP played a catalyst role in getting everybody together,” he said.

“Our experience coming into the market is we’re just expanding our supply chain (operation). We just needed a facility,” Gilbert said.

The Wipfli building offered Valley Cartage the space and location needed for its logistics operation, he added. Zuleger attributes the city’s changing attitude toward economic development to the current city council.

“We have a new city council made up of four business people that understand that jobs create a community,” he said.

Gilbert agrees.

“They’re completely pro-business. They’re open for business,” he said.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]