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Singleteary plant is sold

By Staff | Feb 2, 2015

A privately owned holding company in Minneapolis is the new owner of the former Singleteary Foods Solutions processing plant in Wells, it was announced last week.

Wells Food Processing LLC is the name of the newly formed company which purchased the plant from Pioneer Bank in Mankato.

The new owner is a subsidiary of North Central Equity LLC, of Minneapolis. North Central Equity was established in 2004 and owns six other companies which include egg processing facilities in Perham and Ohio, M&M Tool and Mold in Green Bay, Wis., Mereen Johnson woodworking equipment manufacturer in Minneapolis and Yeadon Sports Domes in Guelph, Ontario.

According to their news release, the new owners are evaluating how best to commission and use the Wells plant.

“Immediate plans are to hire contractors and personnel necessary to clean, maintain, and evaluate the facility capabilities,” says a company news release signed by North Central Equity CEO Elam Baer. “The company is also currently looking for senior mechanics to inspect, install and maintain equipment at the plant.”

The new ownership has made no decisions regarding a plant opening date, staffing or markets that would be best served by the facility.

“The company expects to make a further announcement as the refurbishing of the plant proceeds,” Baer said in the press release.

Pioneer Bank took ownership of the food processing plant in 2013 from former owner Stephen Singleteary, Mankato, in foreclosure proceedings.

The bank was also suing Singleteary in Faribault County District Court for non-payment of approximately $4 million in outstanding loans.

Singleteary had also used nearly $8 million in public funding from various state and local entities. The Wells Economic Development Authority and the Faribault County Economic Development Authority had each invested $150,000 into the project.

The plant opened briefly, with a limited staff of 12, for just one month, in March 2010. It was then set to open in late 2011 with 50 employees and eventually grow to employ 200.

None of that ever happened.

The Mankato Free Press reported that as recently as Jan. 12, Singleteary was still negotiating with Pioneer on a plan to repurchase the plant from the Mankato bank for $3.5 million.