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Fargo By Fargo: Get Immersed In The Business Community

Photos special to Fargo Monthly

As the Fargo-Moorhead continues to grow at an astonishing rate of a dozen residents a day, our identity is being shaped by the nearly 230,000 citizens. We went to you, the people who are molding and shaping our culture, to ask you about Fargo-Moorhead’s business community. We asked, you answered. Here’s what Fargo means to you.

Meet The Fargoans

Ashley Kunz
Self-employed as an Abstract Painter
Lived in Fargo for 32 years

Daniel Granados
Team Lead at John Deere Electronics
Lived in Fargo for 35 years

Casey Absey
Owner and Operator at Blackbird Woodfire
Lived in Fargo most of his life

Heather Hemingway
Anytime Mortgage, Director of Operations
Live in Fargo-Moorhead for 25 years

Business groups and organizations you’re involved with…

Ashley Kunz: The Arts Partnership and Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists. Both of these organizations work very hard to support, promote and provide opportunities for local artists. They have proved to be invaluable, especially when I first started my career. They have provided resources, information and opportunities to make connections to other artists and collectors.

Daniel Granados: I’m involved with the Immigrant Development Center who connected me to Dakota Certified Development organization who then connected me with Kiva Zip, which is a nonprofit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs like me. I like these groups because they have helped me get loans from each one of them.

Don’t cha know? Kiva is a nonprofit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world. More than 2.5 million people have raised over $1 billion on Kiva.

Casey Absey: The Downtown Community Partnership keeps things active downtown. I think they are a big part of downtown’s success.

Heather Hemingway: The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber is a great organization that has a variety of events, programs and training opportunities. It is great for networking and professional development. The staff is client-focused and dedicated to enriching the experience of the members as much as they can.

Your favorite networking event in Fargo-Moorhead…

Ashley Kunz: I love going to museum and gallery receptions to network. There are always a lot of artists in attendance along with collectors, curators, art supporters and appreciators. There is usually live music, food, drinks and it’s a very welcoming environment.

Daniel Granados: My favorite networking event in Fargo-Moorhead is the Entrepreneurial Training that the Immigrant Development Center has held. I really like this networking event because it gives me many tools and connections that I’ll be needing for starting up my own business soon.

Casey Absey: Owning a restaurant is a networking event.

Heather Hemingway: It is once a year (in January), and technically a recognition event instead of a networking event, but 1 Million Thanks by Emerging Prairie helped me learn more about what’s happening in Fargo and who is making a statement in the area.

Each Wednesday morning throughout the year, Emerging Prairie hosts 1 Million Cups events that are educational, thought-provoking and also fantastic networking opportunities.

A company in town that you admire…

Ashley Kunz: There are so many but the first one that came to mind is TMI Hospitality. I had an art residency through them last year and as part of the residency, I had the opportunity to meet with a large group of their employees to talk about how art ties into everyday life and I did a small art project with them. Their employees were so nice and it was obvious by the way they talked that they loved working there. TMI invests in their employees by providing opportunities for growth and development and they are very active in supporting the community by volunteering time and donating.

Daniel Granados: I admire Hobby Lobby in Fargo and what they stand for on morals and principles.

Don’t cha know? The owners of Hobby Lobby are known for their Christian beliefs that went to the Supreme Court a couple years ago saying that the family-owned business does not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the owners’ religious beliefs.

Casey Absey: Bert and Klaus Meyer. They own and operate Würst Bier Hall and Dempsey’s. They have always been very open with advice and help. They have a great product and obviously create a great work environment.

Heather Hemingway: Without a doubt, Unseen. The work they do is life-saving; they assist nonprofits to fight human trafficking, care for orphans and raise support and awareness.

A specific public policy in our community that you would like to see changed…

Ashley Kunz: I think our community could do a better job of creating more and better options for affordable housing.

Daniel Granados: Legalizing the use of medical marijuana ONLY for those who really need it to get well would be great, especially for those extremely sick kids.

Casey Absey: I think downtown is becoming a bit too gentrified. I like a mix of high end and low end all right next to each other. Way more interesting than a homogeneous culture.

Heather Hemingway: Funding for public schools and youth programs. The education and safety of children, in my opinion, should be priorities. Unseen is a local organization that I recently was made aware of that works with other organizations fighting human-trafficking. Programs that help at-risk children and vulnerable people in our communities are important but require dedicated resources and funding. Increased community awareness and involvement might be low-cost options to take a step in the right direction.

The next industry to boom in our community…

Ashley Kunz: Online shopping is huge and it will continue to be going forward. I think we will be seeing more of an online presence from the small, local businesses in our area in the near future.

Daniel Granados: John Deere Electronics Solutions is booming in our community as the demand is so high that John Deere can’t keep up with maintaining steady employees because they move on to higher wages. That’s where North Dakota needs to improve upon changing the minimum wage.

Casey Absey: I think the local chef owned and operated restaurant is booming in larger communities and could grow in Fargo.

Heather Hemingway: I believe that the technology and research industries will continue to grow here, we have started to make some noise, but I think we are far from hitting a plateau. I cannot say enough about what the organization Emerging Prairie is doing for our city and community. They are forward-thinking, innovative and community-focused. They are the pulse of what is happening in our area and what our future looks like.

Written by Andrew Jason

Andrew Jason is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media. He oversees the production and the wonderful team behind Fargo Monthly, Fargo INC!, Bison Illustrated and Design and Living magazines. In his free time, he enjoys running marathons and pretending he's a much better piano player than he actually is.

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