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BREAKING NEWS

Singleteary to open in August?

By Staff | May 15, 2011

Singleteary Food Solutions

More than a year after opening, area residents are wondering what the future holds for a food-processing plant in Wells.

And, asking a local official what they know about Singleteary Food Solutions may get you different answers.

At Tuesday’s Faribault County EDA board meeting, District 3 Commissioner Bill Groskreutz says he’s heard the company will begin operations again in June.

But, Linsey Warmka of Faribault County Development Corporation provided the latest information.

“They’re making progress. The building looks really good,” she says. “They told me they hope to start by August.”

Warmka says she went on a two-hour tour of the facility on May 6.

Others who were invited included members of the Wells EDA; Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) office in Mankato; Region 9 office in Mankato; and Small Business Development Center in Mankato.

Calls to company officials were not returned to the Register.

Singleteary Food opened in March 2010 with about a dozen employees earning $10 to $12 an hour. Most of them have been laid off.

At that time, owner Steve Singleteary said the plant eventually would employ more than 200 in three to five years.

Singleteary received state and local funding for the start-up venture of more than $8 million that included purchasing the property for $1 million.

The company received $150,000 from the Wells EDA’s revolving loan fund that does not have to be repaid, and the county’s EDA contributed $100,000 for the project.

In addition, DEED awarded a $500,000 grant under the Minnesota Investment Fund program. Of that amount, $100,000 will be forgiven.

Also, there is assistance from Minnesota’s Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) program, which can waive taxes for up to 12 years for qualifying commercial and industrial enterprises.

Improvements have been made to the former ConAgra and Wells Co-Pack facility. Remodeling included a 7,800-square foot addition costing about $2 million.

Company officials also spent about $3 million to buy equipment for its main production area.