News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs



11 posts categorized "Elgin news"

March 06, 2015

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my sixth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More  than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to businesPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11s in southeastern Minnesota.

It'syou, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years. 

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post.Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my siPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11xth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to business in southeastern Minnesota.

It's you, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years.  

September 10, 2014

Workers at Lakeside Foods to lose jobs when Hormel ends contract

PLAINVIEW — About half of the year-round workers at Lakeside Foods workers learned last week that their jobs at Plainview's largest employer will be ending soon, as Austin's Hormel Foods pulls its contract with the plant.

4965162612_d023537c6b_oWhile the Manitowoc, Wis.-based Lakeside isn't releasing the number of jobs being cut, insiders are estimating that between 75 and 90 workers will lose their jobs when Hormel Foods pulls its production contract at the 650,000-square-foot plant.

Lakeside executives have previously said the Plainview plant employs about 80 full-time people, plus about 85 others that work solely on the Hormel contract. The Hormel contract with Lakeside to produce its Top Shelf products was a year-round contract.

Hormel says it plans to move that production to other facilities by late fall.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but moving the operations to other facilities within our company will provide greater production, purchasing and distribution efficiencies," said Donald J. Temperley, Hormel's vice president of Grocery Products operations, in a message this morning.

When the plant is packing seasonal vegetables, Lakeside's employment swells to a temporary peak of about 270 workers, who work 60 to 70 hours a week to get the fresh vegetables canned and frozen.

Plainview Economic Development Director Judith O. Jordan said when the community's largest employer loses such a major contract and needs to cut positions, it's a serious situation.

"We are all concerned about how this impacts Plainview. We hope Lakeside will be able to identify a new co-packer to work with to replace the Hormel production," she said.

The Lakeside Foods facility in Plainview is just one of eleven food processing plant in the Lakeside system. The Plainview facility is also one of six distribution facilities.

September 07, 2012

Elgin sees massive, $6.5 million grain elevator expansion

WARNING: This is the raw 'adult' version of this article featuring language not suitable to be printed in a family newspaper. You might want to ask the children to leave the room. Heh.

Joking aside, this is a very impressive business investment for any place and it is truly towers over Elgin.

Hat tip to PB photog extraordinare Ken Klotzbach for great pics that show the massive scale of this expansion.


ELGIN — A visitor at All American Co-op's open house to show off its new $6.5 million expansion in Elgin blurted out what many were probably thinking while standing inside a cavernous 1 million bushel storage bin Wednesday night:

Get_photo"That's one fricking huge grain bin."

The expansion project was built on a gigantic scale, doubling the Elgin grain elevator's storage capacity to 2 million bushels and quadrupling the speed in which a load of grain can be handled.

"It's been a long time coming," says Todd Stockdale, All American's operations manager. "I have no doubt we'll fill this. We already have enough coming to fill this."

The fertile fields around Elgin and Millville produce plenty of corn, as well as winter wheat and soybeans to keep All American's crew busy.

"Most years, we'd need to ship out a million-and-half bushels right away. Now, that might get down to half-a-million bushels," he says.

The massive 1 million bushel storage bin is only one piece of what All American has been building since first breaking ground in February. Here are some of the highlights:

• A new 140,000 bushel bin to hold wet corn before being dried.

• A new drying facility that can dry 7,000 bushels in one hour.

• An expanded receiving station that's wide enough for tractors with dual tires.

Get_photo-1• Two new receiving "legs" that can accept 20,000 bushels of corn in an hour.

• A new truck/wagon scale and an upgraded office system to speed up processing of incoming loads.

This is just the first phase of a long-term expansion plan spanning the next 10 to 15 years. This first round of work is a significant start, because it laid the necessary foundation of infrastructure.

"This was built for the future," said All American general Manager Glenn Lutteke. "This is a very good farming area around Elgin, Millville and Potsdam. It is worth this big investment."

This is a particularly good time to wrap up this first phase. Local farmers are expected to reap high yields even as corn prices soar.

This summer's drought is expected to drive down the nation's harvest numbers to the lowest levels in a decade. That forecast is driving corn prices to about twice what they were last year.

While it is expected to be a tough year for many farmers, southeastern Minnesota seems to be an oasis, with higher-than-average yields.

State agriculture officials are forecasting a yield averaging 194 bushels per acre in the southeastern region, compared to a three-year average of 186 per acre. By comparison, the state average is predicted to run about as low 156 bushels an acre. That is in line with what much of the country is expecting to see.

Gesturing around at Elgin and beyond, Stockdale grinned as he said, "This is the bread basket of America right now."

May 10, 2011

New bar and grill kicks off in Elgin

Two couples are calling a new play on Elgin's Main Street.

Elgin.71Things will kick off Thursday as The Huddle Bar and Grill opens at 4 p.m. at 30 W. Main St.

 The playbook for this new operation is being written by Jason and Wendy Herber with their partners, Brian and Dawn Barrett

"This has been a dream of mine for a long time," says Jason Herber. "I've been in management for about 15 years and I've always wanted to try the ownership route myself."

The opportunity arose in the town where he lives when Elgin's American Legion decided to close.

"We really think this is something the town needs," he says.

The Herbers and Barretts submitted the winning bid for the 7,000-square-foot building, and they got right to work after the American Legion closed on April 29.

"We've put a lot of time and hours already. We've completely cleaned and re-painted it. And we've replaced all of the woodwork," says Jason Herber.

Local folks should recognize The Huddle's colors. It is painted in Watchmen black and orange in memory of Elgin-Millville High School. Those are also the favorite colors of Brian and Dawn Barrett, who are big Harley-Davidson fans.

Besides a full bar, The Huddle will hit Elgin with a full blitz of food. Expect about a dozen burgers and chicken sandwiches as well as appetizers, hot dogs, wraps and a kids menu.

To fill what they see as a need in Elgin, the Huddle owners plan to start offer breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays on May 21.

May 03, 2011

Elgin brings home 1st Chilean harvest

I thought this tidbit about Newton's favorite fruit was interesting.

I admit that I had no idea that Elgin-based Wescott had such a strong international reach.

And because of all the news in today's print edition, this column was cut back quite a bit for space reasons. So for any of my blog readers that want more than just a slice of the apple, here's the full manzana:


Fresh Honeycrisp apples from South America rolling onto produce shelves this month grew from roots in an Elgin orchard, at least figuratively.

Through its Honeybear Brands division, Elgin-based Wescott Agri Products is putting its first harvest of Honeycrisp apples from Chile onto U.S. grocery shelves this May.

"We are heavily involved in the Southern Hemisphere. We're not just a couple Minnesota orchards," says Fred Wescott, president of Wescott Agri Products.

Wescott's Honeybear Brands provides apples to many national retailers yearound.

About 10 years ago when the climate-specific and hard-to-grow Honeycrisp variety grew in popularity, Honeybear Brands started developing in Chile.
"We’re proud to be the first grower in the industry to recognize the potential for the southern hemisphere’s Honeycrisp,” he says.
After years of looking for just the right location to grow the apple developed at the University of Minnesota, Wescott's team found it in the southern part of Chile so that it could provide apples during more parts of the year.

This year's batch is the first, limited harvest from trees up to 3 years old. Why go to such extremes to grow an apple that grows well here?

"It is about providing the consumer the best fruit at any time of year," says Wescott.The Chilean Honeycrisps will go on sale at U.S. stores from May to July.
Apples grown in the Elgin area hit shelves from September to November. Those are sold under the Mississippi Valley Fruit Co. brand.
"We believe the fruit from this region is unique and we want shoppers to know that it comes from here," he says.
His operation also includes other U.S. growing sites, including the state of Washington.Those Honeybear apples add to the cycle of peak fruit going to retail customers.
About 45 to 70 employees work in Elgin and another four are based at a sales office in Minneapolis. The Washington facility employs 30 to 40 staffers.
Some of the new Chilean Honeycrisps should be on sale in Rochester, although it's up to each grocery chain to decide which individual stores will stock the apples.

June 17, 2010

New company moves into Elgin Industrial Park

A new company - Nationwide DI Water Solutions - is charging up in Elgin's Industrial Park.

Owner Bruce Iverson opened the specialty service business in a new 9,000-square-foot building on June 1.

To jump-start the start-up, the City of Elgin gave him a low-interest loan of $20,000 and People's Cooperative Services, the rural power company, made another loan of $30,500.

The Rochester-based People's owns the industrial park in Elgin.

Iverson describes his operation as a regeneration facility. Nationwide DI re-charges the deionization resin used in electrical discharge machining used in  the manufacture of appliances, medical devices, aerospace materials and automotive parts.

"It is a niche service that only four or five companies in the country provide," Iverson says. "It is a kind of a green business allowing companies to re-use materials when the charge is gone rather than buying new."

Iverson says he has already brought two jobs to Elgin and he expects to add two to four more in the near future.

September 08, 2009

Mayo Clinic and Elgin biz + Fed contract $

Here's interesting tidbit that showed up last week from a trial subscription from a news service that tracks Federal contracts. Two local operations – including Mayo Clinic –  landed money from the Feds for projects.
I have no real details on these yet. But I'll see if I can find out anything more on more.
Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 -- The following federal contracts were announced by federal agencies as having been awarded to companies operating in Minnesota.

$499,997 Federal Contract Awarded to Mayo Foundation

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 -- Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn., won a $499,997 federal contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Md., for research on "Early Therapeutics Development with Phase II Emphasis".


$52,800 Federal Contract Awarded to Zumbro Valley Forestry

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 -- Zumbro Valley Forestry, Elgin, Minn., won a federal contract valued at up to $52,800.20 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island, Ill., for vegetative maintenance services. Place of performance will be in Lake Red Rock, Knoxville, Iowa.

July 09, 2009

Lock and load - indoor gun range coming

Looking for a local spot to empty a clip into a target without worrying about the weather?

A Rochester gun shop owner is taking a shot at creating an indoor shooting range.

Gary Schoenmann, who owns American Gunsmith & Gun Shop in northeast Rochester, is building a 5,700-square-foot facility with seven shooting lanes and a retail area in the Elgin Industrial Park.

“There is a great demand for it,” he says. “We think it will be a pretty big hit.”

Construction of the new Patriot Indoor Range & Gun Shop is under way. The hope is for it to be finished between late August and early September.

Schoenmann and his wife, Kristi, are teaming up with Frank and Julene Horstman of Plainview in the new project.


“Frank brings to the table his military experience as a gun trainer, and Julene also does training, particularly in self-defense courses for women,” Schoenmann says.

The plan is to make training a big part of the Patriot range, offering classes for youth and adults with skill levels ranging from novice to advanced.

He also hopes to strike group-plan agreements with area law enforcement agencies for their officers to use the range.

Right now, Schoenmann plans on keeping his American gun shop in Rochester open even after the Patriot range fires up. However, he expects to eventually shift all of the retail to the Elgin site, though the gunsmithing will remain in Rochester.

Once all chambers are firing at the range, Schoenmann estimates about six to seven people will staff it. He expects to attract customers from an 85-mile radius, if the Patriot Indoor Range hits the bullseye he is aiming for.

July 30, 2007

HBC on the move

Here's a little bit more on the Hiawatha Broadband Communications Inc. dividend. Actually, this is just a portion of a story I have set for print Tuesday. Three Fastenal founders including Bob Kierlin are on the board. Another Fastenal founder, Rochester Athletic Club owner Jack Remick, also is in involved. This is includes the Olmsted County/ Rochester specfic questions:

HBC offers high speed Internet, local and long distance telephone, cable television, and video production services in Winona, St. Charles, and Wabasha. It also offers dial-up Internet to Lewiston and surrounding communities.

The company is also building new networks in Lewiston, Stockton and Rollingstone this summer as a back-up fiber ring that runs near Plainview, Elgin, Dover, and Eyota.

“That sets up the potential to build networks in those communities,” Evans said.

Is HBC coming to Rochester?

“We’re inching closer and closer to Rochester,” he said with a laugh. “Seriously, we have made no decisions as to Rochester.”

HBC did conduct a broadband-over-powerlines study in Rochester in 2004 and 2005, though there are no plans to offer that service in Rochester or elsewhere.