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Winona’s diverse business community (09/26/2007)
At least once every week I'm asked why a business should be in Winona. Before I answer I reflect on all the great things that Winona has to offer and then share my answer based on the questioner's needs. Almost always the answer reflects on a colorful, rich history and anticipates a bright, nearly limitless future.

Our greatest asset has always been our people. Winona area people are excellent workers, great neighbors and willing volunteers focused on the greater good. Our differences and similarities bring us together for stimulating public and private discussions on what is best for the community. Even when we disagree on what the final outcome should be, we all have the best interests of our community in mind.

Nothing could celebrate the greatness of our people more than the response to the recent flooding. Neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger, pitching in to do whatever was required during and immediately following the disaster emphasizes our willingness to help and work. The business community responded by donating needed items for the cleanup and showing care and concern about their employees. Our ability to work together in a time of need by lending a hand, a shoulder, a prayer or a hug should make any business proud to locate in Winona.

The diverse business community is matched by few other cities. Winona has a strong manufacturing community meeting the needs of the world. Our educational systems " from pre-school through graduate education " are unique in offerings for a community our size. Winona health care continues to provide first class medical care for all. Recreation, arts and culture continue to grow and expand, offering options from fishing to cross-country skiing, museums to music, plays to dance and many activities in between.

Few have the chance to experience the four seasons in an environment that includes the Mississippi River and surrounding bluffs. We can experience water skiing, canoeing, ice fishing, swimming, bird watching and more, all in this unprecedented natural environment we call home.

Why would a business locate in Winona? The question is why wouldn't a business locate here and be part of our community. We truly have it all: good employees; diverse employment opportunities; transportation connections to the country and world; numerous educational opportunities; recreation, arts and cultural offerings; and a beautiful natural environment. Winona is a great place to live, work and play.

Judy Bodway is Winona's Assistant City Manager for Economic Development



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