Homecrest, the former outdoor patio furniture manufacturer in Wadena, has new life.
Mike Bullinger, Fargo, N.D., owner of Western Products and Prairie Bay restaurant, is an investor in a deal that is opening the newer of the two Homecrest plants as Homecrest Outdoor Living.
Bradley Swenson, Wadena city administrator, said he believes there are still a few details to iron out, but it appears Homecrest Outdoor Living will be moving forward to produce furniture.
"This is great for Wadena and this area," Swenson said. "It should be a good business for this area."
Nor-son is constructing a building in the Nisswa Square to replace one torn down earlier. The building with three spaces for tenants is expected to be completed in April. Nor-son.
Homecrest closed last year. When it was in full operation, Swenson said the company had about 180 employees. Bullinger is the main investor in the new venture. Swenson said the plans are to buy both the old and new Homecrest plants and use the new one for furniture production. Based on documents he's seen, Swenson said the new company plans to hire about 60 employees to start and grow from there.
"They have some really positive goals to get this going," Swenson said. "From what we are seeing it looks positive."
For years, Homecrest was a stable employer.
"To see it leaving was kind of frightening so this is a real positive step," Swenson said.
The company is getting assistance from Wadena's development authority and the city worked with the Department of Employment and Economic Development's Minnesota Investment Loan. Swenson said they were verbally approved for the loan but expected to hear confirmation on it late last week. A gathering was planned with company representatives and city and area officials last Friday.
"We're getting some jobs back," Swenson said. "That's very positive."
Two area men recently competed in the annual World's Best Bricklayer competition in Las Vegas.
Mike Hendrickson (pictured), Baxter, and Shane Barclay, Brainerd, recently competed in the annual World's Best Bricklayer competition in Las Vegas.
Mike Hendrickson, Baxter, and Shane Barclay, Brainerd, formed one of the teams in the national competition, which is designed to showcase the skill and craft involved in masonry.
Barclay of Rice Lake Construction, Deerwood, was named 2008 SPEC MIX Toughest Tender for his winning time of 17 minutes and 40 seconds taken to set up a pre-determined mason work area for colleague Hendrickson.
Mike Hendrickson, Baxter, and Shane Barclay (pictured), Brainerd, recently competed in the annual World's Best Bricklayer competition in Las Vegas.
Teams are given one hour to complete a 26-foot doublewide brick wall. The competition is based on the highest brick count that meet quality standards. Twenty teams - with a mason and mason tender - competed for more than $150,000 in cash and prizes. The spectators numbered in the range of 5,000 people.
In order to compete in the national event, Hendrickson won the 2007 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 Minnesota Regional in St. Paul. Hendrickson and Barclay laid 530 bricks in 60 minutes to lead the pack in St. Paul.
Woodland Meadow, the home decor and accessories business, is finding a new home in Baxter and keeping its original store in Nisswa.
Owner Peg Schoening was planning a move from Nisswa after the building housing her store was sold forcing the change. She found a spot in Baxter and then the building owners approached her with an opportunity to stay in Nisswa.
So now Schoening is doing both.
"We are really excited about staying in Nisswa," she said. "It will be an interesting spring. I am shocked that it all happened."
Woodland Meadow's second store is going into the former Gumdrop Tree space by Tumbleroos and Among the Pines in the Baxter Village, just off Highway 371.
The stamping and stamping classes part of the business is expected to be in the Baxter store. Schoening is planning to have two stores that complement one another but have two different looks. And she hopes to find a new clientele in Baxter who may never have found her Nisswa store.
Schoening said she has great support to make both stores work.
A building is going up in the Nisswa Square to replace one torn down earlier. Nor-son is working on the project, which is expected to be completed in April.
The building is owned by businessman Kermit Sutton, who was the developer behind the Pequot Fire Hall Center remodeling project.
Ted Dullum, Five Star Realty in Nisswa, said the new building will provide an updated setting for three tenants near Ganley's. A courtyard is planned in front of the building.
Dullum said potential tenants are interested in the space, which leases for $12 per square foot, but nothing had been confirmed as of late last week.
The spaces are expected to attract retail. Dullum said Sutton is interested in businesses that are complementary but not in direct competition with existing businesses in the Nisswa Square.
Double SS Saddle Shop opened at 54 East Broadway in Little Falls. Owners are Mary Ann Susalski and Gary and Rachel Strom. The business offers English and western saddles and tack, apparel, rodeo equipment, boots, hats, gifts and pet toys.
The Stroms are part of the Mounted Patrol and Rachel Strom is experienced in showing her horses in dressage.
Mid-Minnesota Drug Testing moved to 121 First St. N.E. in Little Falls. The business is owned by Gerri Burtyk, who works with Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties and area businesses. Burtyk is a licensed practical nurse and is licensed in Department to Transportation drug testing. She also has drug testing kits for parents to use at home.
RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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