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Current Feature Story July 13, 2024

  • As every outdoors enthusiast knows, Polaris Industries is the manufacturer of premier snowmobiles, motorcycles, and all terrain vehicles. What people may not realize is that Polaris is a major manufacturing employer not only Minnesota, where it is based, but also in Iowa, where it has about 1,250 additional employees. (Other Minnesota-based Great Manufacturing Stories include RTP Company, Wyoming Machine, Andersen Windows, Shutterfly Inc., and Donaldson Company.)

    The company headquarters is in Medina, just outside of Minneapolis. Roseau, Minnesota, not far from the Canadian border, is not only the birthplace of Polaris Industries, but also of the sport of snowmobiling, dating back to 1954. Snowmobile R&D and manufacturing, as well as plastic injection molding, continues in Roseau. A LEED certified R&D facility opened in 2005 in Wyoming, Minnesota. GEM electric vehicles are developed in nearby Osceola. The worldwide distribution center is in Vermillion, South Dakota.

    In Iowa, Polaris manufactures products from a converted ice factory in Spirit Lake, and a former Stylecraft furniture center in Milford. The Slingshot line of three-wheel motorcycles, introduced in 2014, has been spectacularly well received, keeping the factory and its employees busy.

    Modern manufacturing is more efficient than ever, but it still provides high-quality jobs for those with the right skills (especially when the company continually improves its products through faithful investments in R&D, and upgrades its plants to remain state-of-the-art). Polaris Industries is a great example, and is therefore another Great Manufacturing Story.