Digi-Key Electronics, the electronic-components distributor, broke ground late last week on a $200 million expansion project at its Thief River Falls, Minn., headquarters campus that it says will add "at least" 1,000 new jobs within a decade
The 1 million-square-foot expansion is expected to be completed by 2021. Digi-Key employs about 3,200 workers in Thief River Falls, a city of approximately 8,800 people.
"I am deeply grateful to Digi-Key for its continuing commitment to Thief River Falls and our state," said Gov. Mark Dayton, who attended the groundbreaking. "I congratulate the company … and thank its leadership for undertaking this project in Thief River Falls."
During the 2017 legislative session, Digi-Key received a sales tax exemption through the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program for $5 million per year up to a total of $40 million. The firm also received a $4 million grant from the Minnesota Investment Fund for the expansion. The city of Thief River Falls received $1.6 million through a business-development fund from the state that supports utilities, roads and other public-infrastructure improvements that stimulate private investment and job growth.
"The investment Digi-Key has made in our state will be felt by people in northwestern Minnesota for generations to come," said Commissioner Shawntera Hardy of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The international wholesaler of about $1.5 billion in sales started as a small business in 1972. It ships parts for smartphones, electric cars, LED lights, medical devices and more.
Digi-Key indicated earlier this year that its hometown was the leading candidate for the expansion, but also looked at other, unspecified locations after it publicized its expansion interest and waited for state and local officials to respond.
Rick Trontvet, Digi-Key's vice president of administration and human resources, said at the time that the company was concerned about infrastructure improvements and whether it could find hundreds more employees over the next several years in sparsely populated northwestern Minnesota. More workforce housing also is an issue in the area.
Last week, Trontvet credited the company, several state legislators and others who worked on the transaction to give the company "the opportunity to continue serving our community and state by bringing more investment and more jobs to Northwest Minnesota."
Said Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer: "Our community worked hard to ensure Digi-Key's project will be located here because as Digi-Key expands its global reach, it creates good jobs in Greater Minnesota."
Digi-Key is a provider of prototype-design and production quantities of electronic components, offering more than 5 million products from over 650 name-brand manufacturers.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144