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Posted on: May 31, 2016
Category: Gateway to the North

Digital directory to promote county businesses

Wadena County now has a digital directory of more than 400 organizations and businesses that will be used to showcase cities and sites within the county.

Mark Hanson is the director of the West Central Economic Development Alliance and the economic development director for the county. He has been working on the digital directory and had already completed the cities of Sebeka and Menahga.

He presented an update on his work to the Wadena County Board last week.

"We just completed the city of Wadena and we now have over 400 locations plotted on Google Maps to showcase our county and cities," he said.

The digital directory is found online at gatewaytothenorthtour.com and includes an aerial map with businesses and other area attractions categorized by location, service type and more.

Hanson said it will be used as a tourism piece and be updated continually.

"There's always new businesses being opened and others closing so I'll keep updating as that happens," he said.

A demonstration of how the website worked showed that clicking Wadena and then on the business category brings up all the businesses in Wadena.

"As I click business, the map changes and zooms into the businesses of Wadena. Different colors represent different categories," Hanson said.

The website also includes government entities, health, education and more. It is free for all businesses.

"The goal is to work with the county, then the cities and chambers to have this adopted as the official digital directory for the county," he added.

The goal is also to have the community to get used to using it.

Some discussion was had about when Verndale and Staples would be added. Hanson said Verndale will be the next step and some of the larger businesses on the west part of Staples can be added such as the golf course, airport and Central Lakes College.

The county board adopted this as the official digital directory and it will be added to the county's website as a link.

Hanson added that the directory is also available at gatewaytothenorthtour.com.

The West Central Economic Development Alliance is a non-profit organization without direct ties to any community, county or other government entities. The county has been working with the county, however, on some projects.