Dan Whitney and Kristi Anderson knew Wadena was a great place to build their business, which focuses on water analysis in central Minnesota.
Their work in above ground and underground water systems takes them from Sleepy Eye to Thief River Falls throughout the year. Wadena's location in the middle of their clients with plenty of amenities made it a great fit since establishing a business together in 2015. Because much of their work is done on the location of the water, the home base, where they do their reporting and analysis, needed to be centrally located.
But the mainstreet location, 123 Jefferson St. S., the old Merchant Bank building, was not ideal for providing parking for clients.
"We wanted to get a little bit off of the busy part of main street and a big part of that is parking," Whitney said.
That brought them to buy a property at 219 Bryant Ave. SE, just a couple blocks away in a more residential part of town. It allows them a quieter setting with space for a larger parking lot for their clients coming and going, many of which are farmers.
The partners ceremoniously broke ground at the site on Friday, May 31, and expect contractors to tear into the project June 3.
The new location won't just have its own parking lot, there's a 30 foot by 50 foot building going up with space for Whitney and Anderson, who are both licensed principal hydrogeologists, along with their one other full-time employee. Whitney said they hope to add on another employee this fall as there is a need and there will be space for more employees in the future.
A garage on the site will also stay as a place to house the work truck they use for driving to agriculture and wetland sites as part of their job. It gets a full remodel along with the other projects.
The business has hopes of opening their doors in the fall followed by an open house for the community to come see it for themselves.
The business is constructing on the site of a former residence in Wadena. Whitney said one thing that drew him to the property was the abundance of mature trees. He believes they will be able to keep all those trees and he plans to add more in the future.
Whitney said after going through three different renditions of what the new building would look like, he's happy with the final design.
"We are very excited," Whitney said. "I think we ended up with what's really gonna work well for us."
Anderson was also excited about the opportunity to start a new build.
"It's just a beautiful lot," Anderson said. "Our job can be stressful, so it's nice to have a place to just sit back and relax."
The current location of NWATS, the former Merchants Bank, built in 1893, will likely be up for rent once the current renters move out.
Northwest AqwaTek Solutions focuses on water level and water quality testing, nitrate leaching studies, wetland monitoring, well placement, aquifer testing, GIS mapping and water use permit compliance.
Whitney said, perhaps a little tongue and cheek, that he and Anderson probably rank in the top two of licensed professional hydrogeologists in the state.