Every community within the St. Cloud area has invested in a vision for the future, which includes comprehensive plans for future development of the area.
Business advocacy is critical to regional business success. The St. Cloud Area Chamber’s leadership as a business advocate is proven over and over again as elected officials make the Chamber a preferred stop when seeking access to the business community or addressing regional business issues.
The Chamber’s advocacy efforts include:
The St. Cloud area experienced an average annual cost of living for 2015, according to the Cost of Living Index of 273 urban areas. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is compiled and published quarterly by C2ER - The Council for Community and Economic Research.
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With its array of sports and recreation, museums, outdoor spaces and cultural outlets, the St. Cloud area is alive with activities for all ages and interests.
Residents and visitors can take advantage of many outdoor activities in the St. Cloud area, including:
If spectator sports are more your style, the St. Cloud area has plenty to satisfy your inner fan, including:
Add to the list major recreational facilities such as the Municipal Athletic Complex, the St. Cloud Area Family “Y” and Whitney Senior Center, and you have a wide range of programming for youth through seniors.
Nature enthusiasts can delight in several unique offerings, including:
History and arts fans have much to choose from in the St. Cloud area, including:
Thanks to the programs, services and all-around advocacy of such entities as the St. Cloud Arts Commission, United Arts of Central Minnesota, Central Minnesota Arts Board, and Visual Arts Minnesota, the cultural and entertainment community in the region is vibrant and growing.
Arts and Entertainment at Around the Cloud
St. Cloud State Outdoor Endeavors
St. Cloud Rox Baseball
St. Cloud State Athletics
Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center
Stearns History Museum
Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society
Pioneer Place on Fifth
St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex
St. Cloud Area Family YMCA
St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Superior education is a cornerstone of the St. Cloud area’s economic success. Education is an invaluable investment in its residents’ lives. Area communities have ensured easy access to high-quality educational opportunities for students of all ages.
St. Cloud Area Independent School District 742: The largest public school district in Central Minnesota, serving nearly 9,500 K-12 students located in nine communities with eight elementary schools, two junior high schools, two high schools, an alternative learning school, early childhood services and community education. These schools are staffed with more than 750 teachers, 70 percent of whom hold advanced degrees.
Sauk Rapids-Rice Independent School District 47
Sartell-St. Stephen Independent School District 748
Rocori Independent School District 750
STRIDE Academy: A St. Cloud charter school providing core knowledge education for students K-8 grade.
The St. Cloud Catholic School system provides an option for parochial education through seven facilities located within the St. Cloud area. Six preschool and elementary schools and Cathedral High School make up the local system.
St. Cloud Christian School is an independent nondenominational Christian school providing K-12 education.
St. John’s Preparatory School, a Catholic/Benedictine, coeducational day and boarding international baccalaureate college preparatory school for students in grades 6-12, located in nearby Collegeville, on the St. John’s University campus.
St. Cloud State University, the state’s second-largest public university, serves more than 17,000 students with nearly 200 majors, minors and pre-professional programs, along with nearly 250 clubs and organizations, a state-of-the-art library, NCAA athletics and opportunities for recreational and cultural enrichment.
The College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University serve nearly 4,000 students with 37 major and 33 minor programs. They have earned recognition as two of the top Catholic liberal arts colleges in the U.S., with an integrated learning environment that allows students to share an academic program while attending classes at both the St. Joseph and Collegeville campuses.
St. Cloud Technical and Community College serves nearly 6,000 students with more than 90 programs of study, including certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in Science, Applied Science and Arts.
The College of St. Scholastica has an outreach program in St. Cloud. Students are able to complete their undergraduate and, in some cases, graduate degrees during evenings and weekends and online, often through accelerated learning programs.
Rasmussen College is a private, two- and four-year degree-granting college that offers on-campus, online and blended-learning courses with a flexible schedule.
Additional post-secondary education opportunities include Regency Beauty Institute and the Model College of Hair Design.
Lifelong educational, social and recreational learning opportunities are readily available to people of all ages in the St. Cloud area. Area school district community education programs offer adult and youth enrichment, aquatics and early childhood developmental screening. St. Cloud State University’s Center for Continuing Studies brings degree programs and professional development training to adult learners. St. Cloud’s Whitney Senior Center offers Third Age University courses.
The best way to grow businesses and improve productivity is to build the capacity of the workforce. The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce dedicates considerable resources to this effort through their business and workforce development initiatives.
Cost-effective training for:
St. Cloud Area Leadership: linking leaders in the community together, increasing their effectiveness and encouraging expanded networking.
NEXT-St. Cloud: networking and professional development for the NEXT generation of community leaders and business owners.
Unite For Success: annual high school scholarship program providing more than $60,000 in cash and in-kind scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
High school internship programs for underserved youth.
The St. Cloud area is a thriving regional center of commerce in Central Minnesota with deep agricultural and industrial roots and a modern history that dates back to the settlement of Sauk Rapids at the confluence of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers in 1851.
Enhanced by those rivers, the area’s natural resources guided the way to economic prosperity, with prominent activity early on in fur trading, farming, lumbering and printing industries.
Not long after St. Cloud was established in 1856, large granite deposits were discovered, prompting the establishment of many area granite companies. The rock and stone industry mushroomed after colored granite deposits were discovered in 1868, and the area is still recognized today as “Granite Country U.S.A.”
St. Cloud is the third-largest metropolitan area in the state and one of the fastest-growing, featuring the best in living, education, health care, commercial, cultural and recreational offerings – not to mention expanding economic development that continues to raise the quality of life for residents and businesses alike.
The St. Cloud area has earned recognition as a great place to do business. Entrepreneur magazine listed St. Cloud among the “Top 10 Mid-sized Cities in the Nation for Small Businesses” and Forbes included the area in its 2010 Top 200 list of “Best Small Cities for Business and Careers.” Minnesota Business magazine referred to the I-94 region from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities as “The Golden Corridor” due to the area’s stable economy and continuous business and residential development.
The pro-business attitude found in Central Minnesota has created an optimal environment for all businesses and industries, no matter the size or type.
Business-focused resources in the St. Cloud area are significant, and include:
The area is also equipped with plenty of financial incentives, including:
Downtown St. Cloud’s renewed vibrancy has made it the place to be for shopping and dining. Lining its streets are more than 80 places to shop and more than 40 restaurants.
Complementing downtown St. Cloud is Crossroads Shopping Center, the largest enclosed shopping center in Greater Minnesota. The mall is anchored by four major department stores and one of the largest sporting goods stores in Minnesota. It boasts more than 120 major specialty shops and eateries.
Additional retail sites include:
Located 65 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Cloud is central to both tourism and commerce. The area is comprised of the communities of St. Cloud, Waite Park, Sartell, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids and St. Augusta.
For many area residents it's the growing economy, the caring people and the four varied, breathtaking seasons that keep them here. Manufacturing, retail and service industries are the commercial backbone of the region, equally supported by the extensive highly productive farming and dairy professions.
For others who relocate here, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, easy access to recreation, excellent health care, and abundant cultural and educational opportunities are what brought them to this region. Rolling farmlands, sparkling lakes, peaceful woodlands and many nearby state parks make this a perfect place in which to live and recreate. With housing costs 20 percent lower than the national average, the cost of living here is exceptionally low, as well.
No matter why you come here, the St. Cloud area has hundreds of things to offer in a variety of ways — a place to truly call home.