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19 posts categorized "Mankato news"

May 08, 2014

Scheels construction springing along

05082014scheelsworkDuring the intermittent bouts of spring weather, construction crews working on Rochester's new Scheels All Sports mega-store are taking the ball and running.

05082014scheelssignWhile it looks like there's plenty of work yet to be done before it opens in April 2015, Apache Mall already has added the future new anchor to its marquee sign. Scheels is gutting/re-constructing the former Sears store.

The first construction pic is from this morning. The second one is from April 1 and third one is from March 19.01042014scheelsatapache

The planned 140,000-square foot store is expected to add between 120 to 180 new jobs to Rochester.

"It will still have a fudge and coffee bar and a mini bowling alley. It will carry fashion clothing and shoes for women and men as well as athletic clothing and shoes for men and women. Th19032014scheelsatapacheat's all in addition to our the entire hard line of sporting goods," said Scheels' Jason Loney.

The development for the expanded store also includes Apache Mall adding 9,000-square-foot restaurant site on the east side of the city water tower. 

There's no word yet on what restaurant might be planned for that site.

January 10, 2013

S.E. Minn. is a pretty inventive area

Wrote the latest version of the annual IBM leads all other companies with U.S. patents story for today's paper.

I always enjoy the change to chat with some of IBM's master inventors and look at their patents. I often don't understand much, but I enjoy it. Heh.

This year I decided to see how many patents issued in 2012 included residents from area cities. I found some interesting stuff, including the fact a group of guys from Hormel in Austin were issued a new patent on a bacon bits making process on Christmas Day.

I hadn't look at these community numbers, since I wrote a big package in early 2010, where I determined that Rochester was the most inventive city inMinnesota and probably the U.S. (per 100,000 residents).

It is interesting to note that Rochester people had 488 patents issued to them in 2009, so the numbers have gone up considerably since then. I may need to take a run at this story again.


This is a breakdown of how many patents issued in 2012 included at least one inventor from these southeastern Minnesota cities:

• Rochester — 652 patents

• Byron — 42 patents.
• Stewartville — 10 patents

• Austin — 75 patents

• Mantorville — 27 patents

• Zumbrota — 12 patents

• Pine Island — 36 patents

• Dodge Center — 10 patents

• Lewiston — 14 patents

• Oronoco — 38 patents

August 03, 2009

HickoryTech pays $7M for telecom

Sounds like the rapidly growing communications player HickoryTech on Mankato just had another burst of growth spurt this morning.

It announced it is  paying $7 million, plus "routine working capital adjustments" (whatever that adds up to) for CP Telecom, a Twin Cities-based telecom company that focuses on facilities.

Here's a little from the press release that rolled into my e-mail in-box this morning:

“We are excited to complete the CP Telecom acquisition and grow our small to medium sized business (SMB) customer segment,” said John Finke, HickoryTech president and chief executive officer. “CP Telecom customers will continue to experience high quality services and support. We look forward to integrating the experienced CP Telecom team into our operations as we continue to expand our focus on the SMB customer segment.”

CP Telecom provides voice, data and Internet services in the Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn. areas. CP Telecom’s assets include: long-term rights to a fiber network encompassing Minneapolis and St. Paul, IP, mid-band Ethernet and voice soft switching technologies.

HickoryTech’s subsidiary, Enventis, operates in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth markets today. The Company plans to utilize the Enventis brand for its business services in these markets and will phase out the CP Telecom name in the future.

May 28, 2009

Generator maker cuts 20 percent of workers

Here's one from AP out of Mankato. While we've heard this song song a lot lately, it seems like the tempo is slowing down. Hopefully that means the music will change to something more upbeat soon.
Anyway, here's the latest round of the layoff chorus:

Mankato-based Electrical generator maker Kato Engineering says it’s cutting 20 percent of its workforce, or 94 jobs.

Company spokeswoman Emily Umbright says the cuts are permanent and needed because of declining demand for the firm’s products. It will leave the company with 344 employees.

Umbright says those being laid off are all full-time production employees who received their notices last week.

Kato is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric. Kato Engineering was founded in 1926 and built its business supplying generators to the U.S. armed services.

March 03, 2009

35 workers laid off in Byron

Here's the follow-up to the note about coming layoffs. Byron is the community hit this time:

Despite growth in direct mail advertising packets that spurred a $5 million equipment investment and the hiring of 30 new people in the fall, that growth did not make up for the losses in other areas, according to company officials. 
“As a result of the decline in market conditions in 2008 and the unpredictability of the market in 2009, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce and realign our operations in order to remain competitive and position ourselves for long-term success,” wrote Schmidt President Joe Ferguson in an announcement Tuesday.

In October, the Byron facility had more than 350 people on staff.

Employees were notified of the layoffs Monday and Tuesday morning. The company says it is offering severance packages and job search assistance for the 35 people who lost their jobs.

 “This decision was very difficult and not taken lightly nor made in haste,” wrote Ferguson. “We feel it is the necessary and responsible way for us to best support the opportunity and security for Schmidt overall.”

Schmidt is a web-offset printer that provides print and related services for magazine, catalog, newspaper and directory publishers as well as direct marketers. It is owned by North Mankato-based Taylor Corp., one of the largest printing and marketing conglomerates in the U.S.

The 24 hours a day plant ships products as far away as Europe.

November 15, 2007

Venture's new venture

Here's some from a piece I'll have in print Friday about Rochester-based Venture Computer Systems buying a company with offices in Iowa and Wisconsin.

A Rochester technology firm is extending its reach into Iowa and Wisconsin by buying another IT company.

Venture Computer Systems bought Orion Computer Services, which has offices in Decorah, Iowa and Prairie du Chien, Wis., on Oct. 31.

“It is a great fit,” says Venture owner Jon Eckhoff. “The transition has been remarkably smooth.”

Both firms offer a variety of business technology services and products.

Orion has taken on the Venture name and all of the nine employees remain on staff. The owners, Rich and Crystal Huhn, are acting as consultants as the phase out of the operation.

Venture now has four offices – Rochester, Decorah, Prairie du Chien and Mankato – with 38 employees.
Eckhoff started Venture in his basement in 1994. He acquired the Mankato office in 2003.

“It (the Mankato acquisition) worked out so well, we’ve always kept an open mind about similar deals,” he said.

Now that the Orion deal is complete, Venture is looking at other options.

“We are already in talks with another company in a different city,” says Eckhoff.

October 19, 2007

AgStar + airport details

Here's the details on AgStar's building project. To be fair, they did e-mail a release on the day they said. However, they sent it to a general P-B e-mail and did not get forwarded to me:

An area financial business is looking toward the Rochester International Airport for its future home.

AgStar Financial Services plans to lease a yet-to-built 22,000-square-foot office complex near the new Endless Journey child care center, a Home Federal Bank branch and the Hangar Bar and Grill.

AgStar, an institution that works through the U.S. Farm Credit System to offer loans, mortgages and insurance to agribusinesses and individuals in agriculture and rural areas, has a Rochester office at 3555 Ninth St. N.W.

That office will remain open until the new facility opens.

Construction is hoped to start this spring with a projected move in date of October 2008.

The proposed facility, which is being built by developer Edlon LLC, will give the business some needed space to grow, says Dave Jueneman of AgStar.

AgStar has 80 people in Rochester now. The new building would allow it to accommodate up to 100 staffers.
“The location of the new facility improves visibility and accessibility for our clients,” said Steve Rogers, the senior financial services team leader in Rochester, in a written announcement of the project. “It’s important for us to remain a part of the Rochester community.”

AgStar Financial, headquartered in Mankato, operates in 69 counties in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
It primarily serves the cash grain, swine and dairy industries. 

September 21, 2007

Comm. Bank + Associated Bank branches

Community Bank officially took over Associated Bank branches in Hy-Vee Food stores in Austin, Albert Lea and Mankato today.

The new locations will expand on Community Bank, Austin’s current locations in Austin at 805 N. Main St. and 900 18th Ave. N.W.

Robert Cooper, president and chief executive officer of Community Bank, Austin, announced in a news release that Kim Abrego will be appointed branch manager for the new Austin branch.

Community Bank opened in Austin after acquiring a local branch of Security Bank Minnesota of Albert Lea. Since opening in June 2004, Community Bank has grown to more than $35 million in assets, and opened a second Austin branch in November 2005.

Following the Associated Bank acquisitions, Community Bank will have $60 million in total assets with five branches serving three communities. The bank, supported by a local board of directors and shareholders, will employ more than 30 bankers.

August 09, 2007

O'Reilly Auto Parts + Austin

Here's a pic from the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce from O’Reilly Auto Parts' ribbon cutting ceremony.

It was held during their grand opening on Wednesday. The store, located at 1303 18th Ave. N.W., is managed by Dan Holt (center with scissors).

May 15, 2007

Schmidt Printing + new prez

It seems Schmidt Printing in Byron added a new president last week.

A press release that came in this morning says Joe Ferguson took over as president on May 7.

Here's some of what I have in today's paper about this:

A Stewartville native recently took control of the presses at Schmidt Printing.

Joe Ferguson took the reins as president on the 370 employee Byron-based company on May 7.

Ferguson is currently based in Harrisburg, Penn., but he and his wife will be moving back to this area soon.

He is a 1986 graduate of Stewartville High School and began his career at Schmidt in 1990. His experience with the organization includes roles in the pressroom, finishing, prepress, scheduling, safety/environmental, sales, department supervision and plant management.

Schmidt is a web-offset printer that provides print and related services for magazine, catalog, newspaper and directory publishers across the country as well as direct marketers.

The company is a wholly owned-subsidiary of North Mankato-based Taylor Corp., one of the largest printing and marketing conglomerates in the United States.

Taylor Corp. is owned by Glen Taylor, who is also the majority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves professional basketball team.