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Digi-Key plans to generate 1000 jobs in Thief River Falls

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THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN (WDAZ-TV) – One thousand new jobs could come to one local town.

But if they don't get what they need, they could go elsewhere.

Electronics like iPhones and computer electrical components were made using parts distributed by Digi-Key.

The company says they're growing, and that's why they want to build a brand new one million square foot building in Thief River Falls.

Brian Holmer, Thief River Falls mayor: "You take a look at a project his magnitude, you know, $200-300 million. The construction of the building is gonna cover like 23 acres, which is enormous."

In Thief River Falls, Digi-Key already employs more than 3,000 people. They say expanding their facility will allow them to hire about one thousand more employees over the next decade. 

"The employees then get a paycheck. They go buy clothes, fuel, food, housing, and all that within the community. Utilizes the schools that we have. So when you take a whole overall look it’s not just the business that provides the economic impact, it's the indirect ones that's really huge," says Holmer.

But without help from the city and the state, the warehouse will have to go elsewhere.

Rick Trontvet, Digi-Key vice president: "There's considerable financial infrastructure and logistics considerations and issues that we have to overcome."

Holmer: "Seeing that type of business possibly leaving the state would be huge toward the state economy."

They don't know how much cash they need, but the company has already navigated some serious growing pains.

Apartments were built to house employees, and workers are bused in from as far as Grand Forks.

Digi-Key says they hope to help Thief River Falls continue to grow, even if it's a challenging process.

"Transportation, infrastructure and financial. Yet given all those challenges, we'd still much rather, if we can do it, continue to be here," says Trontvet.

A decision on whether or not to expand could be made as early as June.

It would be an extra boost for the town, as Arctic Cat, the company right next door, was bought out in January.

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