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50 posts categorized "Winona news"

April 30, 2014

Avocado's closes its doors

After about eight months of cooking in Rochester, Avocado's 02282014avocadosbuilding Mexican & American Grill has closed its doors at 1647 S. Broadway.

Despite still having "Now Open" banners up from its August launch, a handwritten sign on notepaper hangs in the door this week stating "Avocado's is Out of Business. Sorry for the Inconvenience."

Nazario and Michelle Porras, who own and run Mango's Mexican & American Grill in Winona, owned the restaurant.

They dec04292014avocadosclosedsignided to call this location Avocado's instead of Mango's to avoid confusion with Johnny Mango's Catering.

The Porrases had looked for a location in Rochester for some time and were excited when the building on South Broadway became available.

Before opening Mango's in Winona, Nazario Porras managed the 19th Street location of Dos Amigos in Rochester. The popularity of their Winona restaurant with Rochester diners was the main reason they decided to open a restaurant here.

That building last housed the Mysore Cafe Indian restaurant, which was a revamp of the India Curry House. It was a Cambodian restaurant called Phnom Pehn from 2004 to 2007. The building was a Perkins restaurant prior to becoming Phnom Pehn.

July 18, 2012

Back to the beginning - Fastenal's vending machines

I realize this is not really new info. Winona nuts and bolts powerhouse Fastenal has been intalling industrial 'vending machines' for the past few years.

G111086ex13_pg011cBut I hadn't really looked at this in depth. Vending machines accounted for about 20 percent of net sales this past quarter. Fastenal has 13,036 vending machines in operation right now.

"We believe industrial vending is the next logical chapter in the Fastenal story, we also believe it has the potential to be transformative to industrial distribution, and that we have a 'first mover' advantage. We are investing aggressively to maximize this advantage."

The cool thing about this, to me, is that Fastenal's founder Bob Kierlin actually envisioned vending machines as the original concept for the company in 1967.

The technology of that time made that problematic, so he decided to open stores.

And now his first idea is quickly becoming a major piece of the company's business.

I guess Kierlin's legendary frugality keeps him from throwing much away, even old ideas.

August 16, 2010

Fastenal takes aim at combat contracts

08162010fastenalbrucebrinkmanHere's something a little different.

Fastenal Co., the industrial supply and fastener company in Winona, recently landed an $850,000 contract to provide spare parts for U.S. military's MRAPs - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected - vehicles being used in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  Military contracts aren't new for Fastenal, but this is a new angle with a lot of potential for the future.

Here's some from an article I have on this in today's paper. The full piece is posted here.


Fastenal Co. is gearing up to go into battle supplying parts for U.S. military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After about a year and a half of preparation, the Winona-based fastener maker recently won a $850,000 contract — $185,000 per year until 2015 — to supply 23 different washers, nuts, bolts and screws that are critical components for use on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in combat.

While Fastenal has worked with the U.S. military for many years, this contract signals a new level of involvement with the Dept. of Defense.

Fastenalco. The contract awarded in late July is with the Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Supply Center, which supplies directly to troops in combat.

"This really is a niche," says Donnalee Papenfuss, Fastenal's executive director government and diversity affairs.

To win this contract, Fastenal had to create a new process channel direct from the Winona headquarters to meet the packaging, RFID labeling and testing standards required for this area of the military.

And that means a new market is now open.

"We believe we're at the beginning of something big," says Papenfuss. "You can't just come to a contract like this and just win it. You have to prepare for it."

June 29, 2010

Merchants Bank picks up Spring Grove bank

Here's a little from a press release that just popped into my e-mail box. Looks like Winona-based Merchants Bank is expanding its reach some in southeastern Minnesota.

Merchants Bank has reached an agreement to purchase the current Central Bank in Spring Grove, according to Merchants Financial Group, Inc., President and CEO Richard L. Mahoney and Central Bank President Larry Albert.

 The sale will include more than $22 million in deposit relationships and the physical locations of the bank in Spring Grove.


Through an agreement with the FDIC, Central Bank had assumed all the deposits of Jennings State Bank and its two locations in Spring Grove and Stillwater in early October of 2009. Central Bank is headquartered in Stillwater.

LogoThe sale is pending regulatory approval. Barring complications, Mahoney said he expects the sale to be completed in late Fall. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed. Merchants Financial Group, Inc., has about $1.1 billion in assets and is the holding company that owns Merchants Bank.

When the sale is complete, Spring Grove will become the Bank’s 18th location.

May 03, 2010

Vein finder device + Roch.

Here's some from an article by the intrepid Jeff Hansel. He did a great job outlining this medical device project Benchmark Electronics has cooking locally.

For the full piece, go here.

And he also has an interesting take today on Rochester's push for biotechnology business. Read that one here.


83sghvfirpen4453201084617 Southeast Minnesota workers helped design and now are manufacturing a sophisticated device that pinpoints veins for medical workers, in an example of biotechnology taking root locally.

Accuvein is a New York state "virtual" biotech, one that doesn't have corporate cars, offices or laboratories.

One of its ideas is Accuvein, a portable vein finder to find the "first best vein."

It partnered with Benchmark Electronics of Rochester to do the detailed design and production work on Accuvein, said Vinny Luciano, vice president of marketing. Benchmark had the right skills in both medical design and medical manufacturing, he said.

February 25, 2010

A few rays of sun amid the clouds - State of Manufacturing report

Here's some from my piece on the State of Manufacturing report released Wednesday:

Minnesota manufacturers still see plenty of clouds on the economic horizon, but the sun is starting to shine.

That's the gist of the State of Manufacturing study done by Enterprise Minnesota, the  state manufacturing association.

"This year we saw more of a true optimism compared to the cautious hopefulness of last year," Enterprise CEO Bob Kill told a group of about 20 regional manufacturers Wednesday in the meeting room of Rochester's Hardcore Computer.

"We're calling it 'sunshine on a cloudy day,' that's the term I came up with, because 'guarded optimism' was getting k02252010stateofmanufacturingreportjkind of old," he said.

For the study, the association interviewed 500 manufacturing executives during two weeks in January. It also includes discussions for 13 focus groups from across the state, including ones in Winona and Mankato.

Overall, the study found more executives anticipating growth for the coming year than in the 2009 poll. Statewide, 26 percent forecast economic expansion in 2010 compared to 8 percent in 2009.

However, 53 percent expect 2010 to be flat economically. That is an improvement from the 56 percent that expected 2009 to be in a recession.

Executives for firms that make everything from tractors to waste containers to medical devices also were more positive about their companies' profitability in 2010 than they were in 2009.

The study found 21 percent expected profits to grow by more than 10 percent and 15 percent expect an increase of less than 10 percent. The dim outlook for 2009 had only 9 percent of executives projecting a more than 10 percent increase and 8 percent expecting increases less than that.

Still, 45 percent expect profit levels to stay flat compared to the previous year. In 2009, 48 percent predicted that.

"People feel better, but it is still a bumpy road ahead," Kill said.

December 10, 2009

Fastenal to buy screw maker

Hot Jobs_clip_image002_0021 Fastenal, the retail fastener giant based in Winona, is making an addition to its stable of related companies.

A press release rolled out today that say it is buying "certain assets of Holo-Krome..."Holo-Krome, which was founded in 1929, is based in West Hartford, Conn. The deal is expected to close on Dec. 18, according to the release.

Here's a little info directly from the press release:

The sales of this business for the year ended December 31, 2008 are less than 1% of the consolidated sales of the Fastenal organization for the same period.Holo-Krome was organized around what was a revolutionary idea at the time -- the manufacture of H_family2 socket screws by metal forming, or heading, rather than machining. More recently, the company invented the Thermo-Forged(R) process, which results in fasteners which are more precise, offer greater strength, and afford higher fatigue resistance.

As of November 30, 2009, Fastenal operated 2,357 stores in the United States (all 50 states), Canada (all provinces), Puerto Rico (multiple), Mexico (14 states), Singapore (one location), Netherlands (one location), Hungary (one location), Malaysia (one location) and China (one location) selling to the general public. The Company operates 14 distribution centers located in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Washington, California, Utah, North Carolina, Kansas, Ontario, Canada; Alberta, Canada; and Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

September 10, 2009

Winona chain co. + $10M in Fed contracts

Speaking of federal contract, here an interesting piece from AP this morn.

Snapshot 2009-09-10 11-12-30 Turns out Peerless Chain of Winona has tied down two heavy contracts. Dealing with the government sounds like a strong link to add to a business' economic anchor. And yes, I know that money comes from the businesses, the cities and your neighbors in taxes originally. I guess it makes sense in trying to get some small part of it back.

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — A Winona chain manufacturer says it’s been awarded two U.S. Department of Defense contracts, together worth about $10 million.

Peerless Chain Co. president Tom Wynn says the company will supply cargo tie-down chains for military uses.
Wynn says the two contracts are worth about $5 million each during the next five years.

Peerless Chain was founded in 1917 and says it’s the largest chain manufacturer in the U.S.

January 20, 2009

Fastenal nails 4Q, year-end earnings despite lawsuit

Fastenal Co., the Winona-based nuts and bolts seller, nailed down its 4Q and year-end today betaing both IBM and Obama to the punch.

Remember, beside the well-known thrifty state senator Bob Kierlin, one of the co-founders of this workman-like juggernaut is Rochester's Jack Remick.

He is, of course, the owner of the Rochester Athletic Club and, as of the end of December, Clements Chevrolet.

Anyway, here's some raw snippets from the report:

Net sales for the three-month period ended December 31, 2008 totaled $544,959, an increase of 5.0% over net sales of $519,206 in the fourth quarter of 2007. Net earnings increased from $56,191 in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $62,536 in the fourth quarter of 2008, an increase of 11.3%. Basic and diluted earnings per share increased from $.38 to $.42 for the comparable periods.

Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2008 totaled $2,340,425, an increase of 13.5% over net sales of $2,061,819 in 2007. Net earnings increased from $232,622 in 2007 to $279,705 in 2008, an increase of 20.2%. Basic and diluted earnings per share increased from $1.55 to $1.88 for the comparable periods. The third quarter of 2008 included a $10,000 legal settlement. This is discussed in greater detail later in this release. This settlement lowered our basic and diluted earnings per share by just over $0.03 for the year.

During 2008, Fastenal opened 161 new stores (Fastenal opened 161 new stores in 2007). The 161 new stores in 2008 represent an increase in stores of 7.5% from December 31, 2007. On December 31, 2008, Fastenal had 13,634 total employees, an increase of 13.5% from December 31, 2007.

On August 29, 2008 e announced that we had reached a preliminary agreement to settle a purported class action lawsuit relating to the classification of our Assistant General Managers as exempt for purposes of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania state statutes. This suit also alleged that Assistant General Managers in California did not receive sufficient meal breaks and paid rest periods under the California Labor Code. (Note: This case was originally reported on our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2007, filed on October 31, 2007.
While we deny the allegations underlying the lawsuit, we decided to enter into the settlement agreement in order to avoid significant legal fees, the uncertainty of a jury trial, distractions to our operations, and other expenses and management time that would have to be devoted to protracted litigation. The settlement, which is still subject to court approval, fully resolves all claims brought by the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. Pursuant to the settlement, we will make a cash payment of $10 million to cover claims by eligible class members, plaintiff attorneys’ fees and costs, and payments to the named plaintiffs. The expense for this settlement was recorded in the results for the third quarter ending September 30, 20088. We do not expect the settlement to have any material impact on our operating results going forward.

October 03, 2008

Fastenal sales on the grow

Here's a quick tidbit:

Fastenal Co., the Winona retailer of nuts and bolts, said its daily sales in September rose 14 percent from a year ago, higher than its internal forecast.

Sales for September, which include two more working days than in 2007, rose 26 percent from a year earlier, Fastenal said.

The company plans to release third-quarter earnings Oct. 13 but released the September data early because of the drop in share prices of some industrial stocks. Fastenal shares fell $2.40, or 5.3 percent, to close Thursday at $42.85.