Pine County

Pine County

Business and commercial success in Pine County dates back a very long time, and keeps moving forward.  Some of the positive attributes of a Pine County location include:

Dynamic Workforce  -  A large skilled and diverse labor pool known for its strong “Midwest work ethic”

Strong Business Environment  -  Pine County promotes and is committed to a strong, pro-business environment

Proximity to the Twin Cities and Duluth -  The State’s two largest metro areas are easily accessed from various transportation routes

Taxes  -  Among the lowest commercial and residential real estate taxes in Minnesota

Property Rich  -  A great supply of land is available for development

Pine County is committed to economic development and assisting with your development needs:


Site Selection
Market Information
Shovel Ready Sites
Financial Resources
Business Assistance
Creative Business Solutions

Please call Robert Musgrove, Economic Development Coordinator at (320) 591-1625, email  or reach out to city representatives:

Hinckley  |  Pine City  |  Sandstone


Pine County EDA Cities.jpgPine County has an estimated population of 30,000 and consists of 1,435 square miles, of which 24 square miles are water.  The County is divided into 33 townships, and there are 14 cities:  Askov, Brook Park, Bruno, Denham, Finlayson, Henriette, Hinckley, Kerrick, Pine City, Rock Creek, Rutledge, Sandstone, Sturgeon Lake, and Willow River, as well as trust lands of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians.



Pine County offers the best of both worlds. Its location on the I-35 corridor makes for ease of access to all the attractions and markets of the Twin Cities and Duluth. At the same time, its attractive small towns and rolling, wooded countryside represent the best of rural living. It is a splendid place to work and live.

Location and Access

Pine County is located in East Central Minnesota, just north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Less than an hour from MSP International Airport, it straddles Interstate 35 only 90 minutes from the Port of Duluth on Lake Superior.

Major Industries & Employers

The largest employer in the County is the Grand Casino Hinckley, located in the city of the same name. GCH is owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and is a popular destination for fun-seekers from the Twin Cities. Because of that and other outdoors attractions in the county, 16.7% of the workforce is engaged in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

Four major healthcare systems serve the county – Essentia, Fairview, Gateway Clinics, and FirstLight. While no large provider dominates, the sector employs a significant number or residents.

Manufacturing employers are typically smaller companies, with a strong presence of the precision metals industry. Atscott Manufacturing, Minpack, Advance Design, Team Powdercoating, DAKA and others are residents of County industrial parks.

Population & Workforce

2014 Estimated Population: 29,196

Due to its location on the interstate corridor and its proximity to the Twin Cities, Pine County has regularly been one of Minnesota's fastest growing counties.

2013 Census Bureau data shows a civilian workforce of 14,055 in Pine County.

Healthcare and social services, as an industry, employs the highest number of county residents at 1,358 – almost 20% of the workforce of paid employees. The County enjoys a strong healthcare sector, with four major health systems operating facilities here.

The manufacturing sector is well-represented in Pine County, with 10.2% of the workforce and a number of small but innovative companies calling the County home. This compares favorably with the Twin Cities, where 12% of the workforce is in the goods producing sector.

For the past 20 years, increasing numbers of Pine County residents have been leaving the County for work each morning. In 2015, according to the U.S. Census estimates, of the workers living in the County, 8,057 (or 57%) commuted outside the County for employment. Significantly, almost 1,400 of those commuters worked in 'goods producing' occupations. These commuters represent a significant recruiting pool for companies moving into the County and looking for employees.


Interstate 35 runs for nearly 50 miles down the entire length of Pine County. East-west highways feeding the Interstate include MN 61, MN 23 and MN 70, the latter of which crosses the border into Western Wisconsin.

Because of this corridor, MSP International Airport is barely an hour away, with flights nationwide and globally. More locally, the Field of Dreams Airport in Hinckley offers a 2,754-foot runway and hangars for use by private aircraft.

The St. Croix Valley Railroad runs from North Branch northward to Hinckley, where it connects with Burlington Northern and Santa Fe line, giving the County a national reach in terms of rail service.

Quality of Life

Pine County is known and valued for its affordable housing options, its vibrant communities and its high quality of rural life. The three local school systems are all smaller districts with small class sizes and personal attention to student needs.

The County is famous for its lakes, rivers, state parks and state forests. St. Croix State Park and Banning State Park offer multiple outdoor opportunities year around, and the Nemadji, St. Croix and Chengwatana State Forests all provide county residents with a chance to get close to the natural world. The lakes and rivers are too numerous to mention and offer boating and fishing recreation to residents and non-residents alike.

Major Cities and Populations

Askov 364                  Kerrick 65

Brook Park 139          Pine City 3,127

Bruno 102                  Rock Creek 1,628

Denham 35                Rutledge 229

Finlayson 315            Sandstone 2,871

Henriette 71               Sturgeon Lake 439

Hinckley 1,800           Willow River 415

Colleges and Universities

Pine Technical and Community College, a comprehensive community College and a component of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, is located in Pine City. It offers certificates, diplomas and degrees in technical disciplines, as well as the transfer associate in arts degree. With strong programs in manufacturing, information technology, business and accounting, PTCC is a regional source for skilled workers and a partner to many businesses in the county. See their offerings at

Nearly 50 miles of Interstate 35 run through Pine County. On the south end is the Twin Cities Metro, and on the north end is the Twin Ports metro. The County is ideally situated, yet it is in the midst of nature. The quality of life is unparalleled.

Robert Musgrove, Pine County Economic Development

Image Not Found.