FARGO—A ribbon-cutting will suffice for most business openings, but a thick cable stood in for ribbon during Werner Electric Supply's open house Wednesday.
President Scott Teerlinck said the wholesale distributor of electrical supplies stocks 700,000 feet of linear wire cable in its 18,000-square-foot distribution facility here. He didn't have to look far for a piece to ceremoniously snip with an industrial cable cutter as local and state business officials welcomed Werner to Fargo.
The facility, 100 36th St. S.W., houses about $1 million of inventory among its 4,500 unique products. It opened last November in one of the two buildings of Butler Business Park, which took the place of the former Butler Machinery site at the southeast corner of Main Avenue and Interstate 29.
Teerlinck said Wednesday's open house at the facility—the 13th location for Werner—marked a "big day" for the company based in Appleton, Wis., that was founded in 1948.
John Schneider, interim director of economic development and finance for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, said the department works to identify new companies to attract to the state, and Werner was one of those on the list. Werner also opened a facility in Bismarck last May.
"Companies who start operations in North Dakota recognize the state has a stable tax and regulatory climate, highly educated and productive workforce and abundant tax and business incentives and low employee turnover," Schneider said.
Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber President and CEO Craig Whitney said the Werner team will find the community to be a great place to do business, something Teerlinck also mentioned in an interview with The Forum after Wednesday's cable-cutting ceremony.
"I really feel like the Fargo marketplace is unique across North Dakota with that heavier base of manufacturing and machine builders, which is really core to who we've been historically," he said. "While we support construction statewide, we really want to focus on the machine builders and those manufacturers on the industrial side in particular."
Teerlinck also looks at Fargo as a "stepping point" to business in a broader region across eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.
He said Werner's 18,000-square-foot facility here is smaller than its other 12 branches, which include 10 locations in Wisconsin in addition to facilities in Bismarck and Kingsford, Mich.
But it likely won't remain this size for long, according to Teerlinck. Werner has the first right of refusal to lease additional space in Butler Business Park to expand its Fargo facility, and he said the company also has plans to expand its footprint across North Dakota.
"The question is one of when, and the when will be dictated by business conditions and economic conditions," he said.