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Minnesota — Fortune 500 Companies

A Photo Tour Of Fortune 500 Company
HQ Buildings And Locations In Minnesota

Introduction I happened to see the Fortune 500 list sorted by home state, and found it interesting that Minnesota was home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. That puts Minnesota in the top tier, with twice as many Fortune 500 companies than Wisconsin next door. In comparison, Iowa, our neighbor to the south, has only 3 such companies. In reviewing the list, I found it interesting that I had either worked for each company, or had never ever heard of them before.

Yet another interesting item is how quickly the list can change. For example, gone is Honeywell (moved to NJ), Norwest Bank (Wells Fargo lists San Francisco as its home), Pillsbury (bought by General Mills), and International Multifoods (bought by Smuckers). Also missing are Cargill and Carlson (both are private), plus Toro (not quite big enough to make the list).

In order to make the Fortune 500 list, a company has to be based in the United States, and be publicly traded. Also see my photo tours of the Minnesota Forbes 500 (largest private US companies), and the rest of the Minnesota Fortune 1000 (those that rank 501 to 1000).

Note—click on each photo to see the full size image.

Target Target Corporation
2006: Rank In MN: 1, Rank In Fortune 500: 29.
2005: Rank In MN: 1, Rank In Fortune 500: 27.

Location: 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. 11th and Nicollet downtown.

The new Target HQ was completed in 2001. It rises 492 feet supporting 33 floors. Many people criticized Target for building such a run of the mill building. I think a retail company has to be somewhat conservative given the thin profit margins. In the end this building has worked wonders to revitalize the lower end of Nicollet Mall, plus it has a cool light show on the roof.

Unitedhealth Group Unitedhealth Group
2006: Rank In MN: 2, Rank In Fortune 500: 37.
2005: Rank In MN: 2, Rank In Fortune 500: 40.

Location: 9900 Bren Road, Minnetonka. I-494 West, US-169 North, West on Bren Road Exit.

UHC is famous for using very low rent office space. Their IT building is in a former printing factory, and the International division was housed in a former telephone company warehouse. That is what made it so surprising a few years ago when UHC (now UHG) took over the former Opus tower as their new HQ.

Best Buy Best Buy
2006: Rank In MN: 3, Rank In Fortune 500: 76.
2005: Rank In MN: 3, Rank In Fortune 500: 77.

Location: 7601 Penn Ave, Richfield. I-494 west, take Penn Ave exit.

The new Best Buy complex opened in 2003. It consists of 4 large buildings, two 6-story and two 8-story connected by a common atrium. Behind the buildings is the largest parking ramp west of the Mississippi River. Despite this success, in a year that they opened nearly 100 new stores, BBY still managed to layoff 330 HQ employees.

Saint Paul Travelers Saint Paul Travelers
2006: Rank In MN: 4, Rank In Fortune 500: 85.
2005: Rank In MN: 4, Rank In Fortune 500: 85.

Location: 385 Washington Street, Saint Paul. I-94 east, Kellogg Ave exit, building is behind Excel Center arena.

The Saint Paul Travelers building is the glass building in the center of the photo. It was completed in 1991, and rises 330 feet supporting 17 floors. Travelers is one of those companies that you never hear much about. The fact is that they are the second largest seller of insurance that works through independent agents.

3M 3M
2006: Rank In MN: 5, Rank In Fortune 500: 101.
2005: Rank In MN: 6, Rank In Fortune 500: 105.

Location: 3M Center, Saint Paul. I-94 east, McKnight Ave north.

3M, once known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, has been in the Twin Cities over upwards of 100 years. While they have invented products that impact just about every industry, the product that they are probably the best known for is the Post-It note.

Supervalu Supervalu
2006: Rank In MN: 6, Rank In Fortune 500: 113.
2005: Rank In MN: 5, Rank In Fortune 500: 104.

Location: 11840 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie. I-494 west, take Prairie Center Ave exit north, road merges with Valley View, right after US-212 bridge.

Supervalu is hidden behind a hill off of Valley View road. One would not even know that they are there unless you knew where to look. I had always thought of Supervalu being a grocery wholesaler. As it turns out, they have over 1500 retail outlets including the local Cub stores.

U.S. Bancorp U.S. Bancorp
2006: Rank In MN: 7, Rank In Fortune 500: 131.
2005: Rank In MN: 7, Rank In Fortune 500: 143.

Location: 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. 8th and Nicollet downtown.

This building was built in 2000 to be the new Piper Jaffray HQ. They were moving from their signature 3rd Ave high-rise. A key feature of this building is large floors with no columns used for stock trading. US Bank bought Piper Jaffray prior to the building being completed, renamed the building, and moved in their executive floors. This building replaced the ill-fated Conservatory, a $125-million high-end mall that failed.

Northwest Airlines Northwest Airlines
2006: Rank In MN: 8, Rank In Fortune 500: 182.
2005: Rank In MN: 8, Rank In Fortune 500: 190.

Location: 2700 Lone Oak Parkway, Eagan. I-494 east, MN-149 south, east on Northwest Parkway.

NWA is located in a business park in Eagan along with the former Cray HQ and the US Post Office computer center. One used to be able to drive up to the NWA building, but now in post-9/11 hysteria, they make some poor security guard stand outside to prevent people from driving into the complex. If a terrorist really wanted to do damage, do you think a single middle-aged over-weight rent-a-cop is going to present much of an obstacle?

2006: Rank In MN: 9, Rank In Fortune 500: 188.
2005: Rank In MN: 10, Rank In Fortune 500: 198.

Location: 5500 Cenex Driver, Inver Grove Heights. I-494 east, US-52 sought, exit west on Upper 55th Street, north on Cenex Drive.

Cenex was formed in the 1920's when a group of grain co-ops merged. Harvest States joined in the 1990's to form Cenex Harvest States. The name CHS was adopted in the early 2000's. Not only is CHS big in grain, they also do fuel, transportation, food products, and farm supplies, and they own the fasted growing convenience store chain.

General Mills General Mills
2006: Rank In MN: 10, Rank In Fortune 500: 206.
2005: Rank In MN: 9, Rank In Fortune 500: 197.

Location: 1 General Mills Blvd, Minneapolis. I-394 west, US-169 north, exit east on General Mills Blvd.

The General Mills HQ consists of a number of low-rise buildings, plus one tower. The complex was remodeled and added onto after GMI bought out cross-town competitor Pillsbury.

Medtronic Medtronic
2006: Rank In MN: 11, Rank In Fortune 500: 235.
2005: Rank In MN: 11, Rank In Fortune 500: 246.

Location: 710 Medtronic Way. I-35W north, I-694 west, MN-65 north, turn west on Medtronic Way.

Medtronic built this fantastic new campus around the turn of the century. The philosophy is that if you are trying to attract high caliber researchers and engineers, you need to have a campus-like setting where they feel comfortable working. Cray built a similar campus in Eagan before they were bought out by SGI.

Xcel Energy XCEL Energy
2006: Rank In MN: 12, Rank In Fortune 500: 247.
2005: Rank In MN: 12, Rank In Fortune 500: 256.

Location: 414 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. 4th and Nicollet downtown.

Xcel Energy occupies one of the few older buildings that are still left in downtown Minneapolis. Urban removal came in and destroyed most of the great old buildings in both metro centers.

This building was the site of a horrific auto accident during the annual Holidazel Parade several years ago. A police vehicle unexpectedly accelerated into the crowd, pinning people against the building after running down several families.

Land O'Lakes Land O'Lakes
2006: Rank In MN: 13, Rank In Fortune 500: 301.
2005: Rank In MN: 13, Rank In Fortune 500: 279.

Location: 4001 Lexington Ave North, Arden Hills. I-35W north, I-694 east, exit north on Lexington Ave, private road to the west.

Best known for their butter, Land O'Lakes is a world leader in animal food and industrial food products.

Thrivent Thrivent Thrivent
2006: Rank In MN: 14, Rank In Fortune 500: 352.
2005: Rank In MN: 14, Rank In Fortune 500: 319.

Location: 625 4th Ave South, Minneapolis. 5th Ave and 7th St downtown.

Thrivent was formerly known as Lutheran Brotherhood. Whenever I hear of a company that changes from a familiar name to some made-up name, I often wonder what horrible lawsuit did they lose. In this case, it was just the opposite--the Lutheran Brotherhood merged with Aid Association For Lutherans. Rather than one gobbling up the other, they remained committed to being a merger. As a result, both old names were replaced with a common new name.

C.H. Robinson C.H. Robinson
2006: Rank In MN: 15, Rank In Fortune 500: 379.
2005: Rank In MN: 16, Rank In Fortune 500: 442.

Location: 8100 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie. I-494 west, MN-5 west, exit south on Mitchell Road, turn west into Police Dept entrance and follow driveway.

C.H. Robinson is a logistics company. A logistics company is sort of a high priced trucking company. As it turns out, these value added services make sense for many companies who otherwise would have to do their own shipping and have their own warehouses.

This building is the former home of CPT, a now-defunct leader in the word processor and automatic typewriter business. The CPT building is divided between the Eden Prairie City Hall and C.H. Robinson.

Hormel Foods Spam Museum Hormel Foods
2006: Rank In MN: 16, Rank In Fortune 500: 401.
2005: Rank In MN: 15, Rank In Fortune 500: 402.

Location: 1 Hormel Place, Austin. I-35W south, I-90 east, exit 6th Street, cross under freeway to frontage road. Spam Museum is located at 11th Ave and Main Street.

Hormel is the only Minnesota-based Fortune 500 company that is located outside of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area. For the most part, Austin is Hormel. The lower photo shows the SPAM museum, an attraction that is growing in popularity each year.

Nash Finch Nash Finch
2006: Rank In MN: 17, Rank In Fortune 500: 457.
2005: Rank In MN: 18, Rank In Fortune 500: 476.

Location: 7600 France Ave, Minneapolis. West on I-494, exit north on France Ave, west on 76th street.

Nash Finch is a company that rarely makes news in the Twin Cities. Given that news about food is often bad news, perhaps that is a good thing. Nash Finch has had a recent set-back where a group of high-end retail food stores went under, but they are focusing on their core to make up for it.

Ecolab Ecolab
2006: Rank In MN: 18, Rank In Fortune 500: 459.
2005: Rank In MN: 17, Rank In Fortune 500: 455.

Location: 370 Wabasha Ave, Saint Paul. I-94 east, exit Kellogg Ave, left on 7th Street, right on Wabasha Street.

This is Ecolab Plaza in Saint Paul, with the Ecolab tower on the right, and Ecolab University on the left. I am not sure what the thing in the middle is, but given that Ecolab is into the pest elimination market, perhaps the sculpture symbolizes a favorite insect.

Mosaic Mosaic
2006: Rank In MN: 19, Rank In Fortune 500: 470.
2005: Not Listed In Fortune 500.

Location: 3033 Campus Drive, Plymouth. I-494 north, exit MN-55 east, left on Northwest Drive, left of Campus Drive.

Mosaic is a newly formed public company composed of the merger of the fertilizer and animal feed divisions of Cargill and IMC Global, formerly of Lake Forest, Illinois.

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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