CLEARWATER, Minn. - While the North Dakota oil boom shows no signs of slowing down, some Minnesota companies are seeing a bit of a bump in business even though they're hundreds of miles away from the oil fields.
Along Interstate 94 in Minnesota near the Clearwater exit, Mike Ernster put up a sign to alert drivers the company he works for, Design Homes, ships to North Dakota.
"Yeah, it's just a simple sign that's worked really well," said Ernster. Little did he know just how well.
He described how people have driven past it and turned around to find out more about Design Homes. The modular homes are not cheap, but they are less expensive than building a home on your own. The average price is about $75 per square foot. The homes do require a foundation, so there is some prep work involved. But other than that, it's a drive up I-94, a few months of construction and the home is ready for living.
This may all sound great, but one of the greatest challenges for businesses in North Dakota is the lack of available land.
"But there are lots to be had out there," insisted Ernster.
He said any potential downside is met with just way too much upside. So much so, Design Homes is headed west.
"We will have a sales office 30 miles west of Minot on Highway 2 in the little town of Berthold," he said.
Next to the new shop will be a new housing development with the potential for 500 homes. Whether or not Design Homes will be able to tap into that market has yet to be seen, but one thing is certain: The sign that went up on a whim has certainly more than paid for itself.
"About a half hour and maybe fifteen dollars," smiled Ernster.
RV dealers in Minnesota say they've also seen a bump in business from oil workers. The RV's are purchased in Minnesota and used in North Dakota.
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