by Mohamed Mourssi-Alfash
Under new ownership, Cirrus Aircraft announced a plan to hire additional employees in Duluth to support development of its first-ever single-engine jet. The company has hired 50 people at its Duluth site in the past six months, boosting its total headcount in the city to about 500. Most of the added jobs are for engineers, technicians, and designers.
Altec HiLine, manufacturer of bucket-lift devices that are mounted on trucks, plans a $1 million expansion in Duluth that will create 85 jobs.
New Flyer Industries announced the acquisition of North American Bus Industries from an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management for $80 million. The newly combined entity will employ more than 3,000 people and operate more than 40,000 buses in North America. The company's facility in St. Cloud employs about 550 people and will add 136 employees in the next two years upon the completion of the $4.9 million expansion in St. Cloud.
Sauk Rapids-based St. Cloud Window is expanding to meet increasing demand. The company has approved a second shift and added 14 full-time employees, bringing its staff roster to 49.
WFSI Inc. - formerly W.F. Scarince Inc. - of Sauk Rapids is expanding to an existing building within the city. WFSI undertakes critical welding projects and other manufacturing and engineering services for the energy and defense industries. The expansion is expected to create 32 new jobs on site within two years.
Twin Cities Metro
Emerson Process Management Rosemount announced that it will convert part of the vacant ADC Telecommunications site in Shakopee to a new engineering and manufacturing center. It will cost about $71 million to replace the ADC Building 2 and transform about 60 acres around the facility. The new center will generate about 400 jobs over the next five years. Shakopee city officials welcomed the news as they have been trying to draw new development to the vacant facility for the past 13 years.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, the nation's largest natural and organic supermarket chain, announced it will open two new stores in the metro area, one in Maple Grove and another in downtown Minneapolis, in early fall. These two stores will bring the number of Whole Foods stores in the Twin Cities to six. Currently, the company runs about 350 stores nationwide, with a goal of reaching 1,000 over the next decade. The first metro-area Whole Foods store opened in 1995 at Grand and Fairview Avenues in St. Paul, followed in 1999 by a store near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. In 2011 Whole Foods opened a supermarket in Minnetonka, then added another location in Edina in 2012.
Goodwill opened a new store on Ryan's Road in Worthington in July. The new store added 17 new jobs and is expected to boost the economy of the southern Minnesota city. Goodwill's chief operations officer, Vilay Keokenchanh, said the 10,500 sq. ft. store has about 6,800 sq. ft. of retail with space for at least 125 racks and three dressing rooms. In addition to the retail portion, a connection center with three computers will be open for public use.
Kruse Motors will open Buick GMC and Ford-Lincoln dealerships next to Marshall High School in Marshall, adding 10 to 15 jobs. These are the first car dealerships to be built in Marshall in 25 years, according to Michael Crowley, general manager of Kruse. The new facility will be large enough to house an express lube center, customer lounge, children's play area, and car wash in the Ford dealership. The facility also will feature WiFi and indoor vehicle delivery. Kruse expects the dealerships to open at the end of the year.
Xcel Energy announced it will add a trio of wind-energy projects to its portfolio, greatly expanding its wind capacity. Two of the new wind projects will be located near Windom and Austin and would create enough electricity to power 180,000 homes. These two projects are targeted to come online in 2016.
Project Turnabout plans a $5 million expansion of its residential treatment campus on the western edge of Granite Falls. According to Project Turnabout CEO Mike Schiks, the facility will expand in September from 89 beds to 122 beds to remain one of largest free-standing centers offering residential treatment for substance abuse and problem gambling in Minnesota. Currently, Project Turnabout employs a staff of 101 at the site, and will likely add 15 to 20 positions as a result of the expansion.