Direct-mailer's expansion will boost North Side

Impact Mailing turned down incentives to move outstate and remains committed to helping north Minneapolis.

A fast-growing business in the Camden neighborhood plans a $7 million expansion and a doubling of employment to 200 workers this year. The company, Impact Mailing, has its design-and-production facility at 4600 Lyndale Av. N.

The news is a welcome respite to that of home foreclosures and crime that dog north Minneapolis. The North Side is slowly undergoing a commercial renaissance north of the Mississippi River along its commercial arteries of W. Broadway, Lowry Avenue and Lyndale Avenue.

Mark Anderson, president of Impact Mailing, said the 25-year-old direct-mail and promotion-fulfillment company will receive no development subsidies from the city. It is expanding to consolidate its business in a stable neighborhood that is close to freeways for its customers and which boasts good workers.

He credited the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department, neighbors and Council Member Barb Johnson with encouraging the expansion.

Anderson, whose brother is CEO, said they could have saved money by moving the company to their hometown of Cambridge, Minn., and qualified for tax abatements and incentives under Gov. Tim Pawlenty's "JOBZ" rural-economic development program.

"We've made a commitment to north Minneapolis and we have neighborhood people who walk to work," Anderson said. "We decided that if we could make something work, we'd stay. We think our plan will work."

Several years ago, Impact acquired an abandoned lumber-company facility next to its plant. It will start demolition this month. In that space, the company will build a 55,000-square-foot addition that will connect to its existing facility of 130,000 square feet.

Council Member Johnson commended Impact Mailing's owners for redoubling the commitment to the North Side.

"They could have gone for those JOBZ-zone enticements," she acknowledged. "But they are a great employer with customers and printers nearby. ... We don't have the big employers, such as Wells Fargo and the hospitals as they do in south Minneapolis. We have to go the extra mile for these smaller employers who are so important to us."

Impact, which had revenue of about $20 million in 2007, said it has organic growth of more than 10 percent annually.

Some of the jobs will come from across the Mississippi River in northeast Minneapolis. In April, Impact acquired a related business from Zipsort.

Impact, started 25 years ago, produces promotional mailings and newsletters for the likes of Honeywell and Cub Foods stores, as well as smaller customers. It designs, produces and mails up to 2 million pieces daily with its printing-industry partners. The company also operates a promotion-fulfillment department.

"It would not be far-fetched for us to add 50 or 60 people if the economy grows at a decent clip over the next five years," Anderson said. "By then, we will need to add more space."

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