3M Fall Protection is the world's leading manufacturer in fall protection and industrial rescue systems. If your work takes you more than a few feet off the ground, you would be best served by wearing fall protection products produced by 3M Fall Protection. 3M Fall Protection has a long history of manufacturing in Red Wing, but lack of space at their facility was inhibiting growth. 3M Fall Protection needed to look to their other manufacturing facilities to fuel their expansion needs.
The Red Wing Port Authority along with the City of Red Wing and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development partnered to help 3M Fall Protection acquire and expand into a new facility. We were also able to pull together a buying group and use for their former facility.
DBI has benefited greatly from its new facility, and the City of Red Wing has benefited from expanded job opportunities for its residents.
In late 2004 the Schwann Technology Group announced to the community that they were heading in a new direction and were offering their Red Wing Technology Group for sale. The announcement of the sale generated a number of interested buyers, many of whom were interested in moving the operations from Red Wing.
A buying group consisting of Schwann employees and Red Wing business leaders emerged as one of the parties interested in purchasing the business. Schwanns helped by going the extra mile working with the buyers and the community to insure the facility remained in Red Wing. The Port, the State and a local lender were able to fast track a financing package that insured the business and jobs remain in Red Wing. Within 60 days of the Schwann sale announcement, the transaction was complete.
Downtown Red Wing is home to a number of historic buildings. The 3-story building known as the Wagon Works was built in the 1860's as a building to do just that, build wagons. Over the years the Wagon Works building was home to a number of uses and most recently had fallen into a state of disrepair. Bricks from the building were actually falling onto cars parked in an adjacent parking lot. Internally, the City wondered if the building was beyond repair and would eventually need to be demolished.
Ron and Peg Knudsen were in the process of home growing a gourmet caramel and cheesecake business. The lower level of their home would no longer accommodate the growth of the business. Ron and Peg also had a history of restoring historic buildings in Red Wing. The community worked with the Knudsen family to acquire and finance a top to bottom renovation of the Wagon Works building. The building now serves as an example of just how one might take a building from a total state of disrepair to a community treasure. Today, the caramel business is stronger than ever and Knudsen Caramels are distributed nationwide.
Red Wing is well known for its historic downtown. Buildings dating back to the mid-1800’s were carefully preserved to maintain the architectural charm of the past, while proactive planning integrates modern businesses. It’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Today the city is focused on similarly revitalizing Old West Main Street, a traditionally industrial area near the riverfront that has long supported mixed usage. It’s home to restaurants, retail shops and auto shops. With careful redevelopment, it has the potential to serve as more of a destination for both locals and tourists.
“It’s really been neat to see urban regeneration since we’ve been here and the ideas yet to come,” says Kolby. We’re grateful and humbled and very much appreciate the support the city has given us.”
A master plan for redevelopment of this area includes important infrastructure upgrades, including a pedestrian bridge as well as improved signage and street improvements to make the area friendlier to walkers and bicyclists.
Funding from the city is available to support updates for existing businesses in the neighborhood as well as remodels to long-vacant properties. The Red Wing Brewery is one of several businesses that have renovated or moved to Old West Main.
William Norman and Scott Kolby were some of the first entrepreneurs in Red Wing to utilize the Port Authority’s Entrepreneurial Loan Fund. When the pair opened Red Wing Brewery in December of 2012, it was the city’s first brewery in 60 years.
Norman and Kolby are building on a historic tradition. Before Prohibition and the rise of big beer corporations, the city was home to five breweries. Its auspicious location in Minnesota’s “Grain Belt” and along the Mississippi River encouraged a rich tradition of beer making, both for local enjoyment and for export.
Kolby says they had looked at some different locations for the brewery, including a building in downtown that was prohibitively expensive before settling on a spot on Old West Main. “We found a building that was a good fit for us. And since it was an older industrial area, it already had light industrial zoning,” explains Kolby. “Plus, the price was right.”
Kolby notes that the brewery had a lengthy build out. It took about a year to get up and running. He’s grateful for funding from the Port Authority and the local HRA to help cover costs. “There are a lot of extra costs that go into opening a business. You can try to plan it out but you’ll still see a lot of extenuating costs,” Kolby says.
Red Wing Brewery operates as a brewpub. In addition to house made brews, it serves up pizza and calzones. The family-friendly establishment has become a favorite of visitors and locals alike. It just celebrated its 5-year anniversary, which Kolby notes is a big milestone in the restaurant business. Over the years, it has grown from two to 30 employees.
The brewery has been sparking beer tourism in the city. As a brewpub, Red Wing Brewery can only sell beer on site, by the glass or by the growler for takeaway. This makes Red Wing a destination for craft beer enthusiasts.
Though tourism helps drive business in Red Wing, Kolby says he relies on local patrons. “We’ve had wonderful support. Without local support we would cease to exist.”
Similar to other craft breweries across the state and country locating in industrial parts of cities, Red Wing Brewery is helping fuel an urban renewal. Small businesses like this bring in jobs and visitors. They keep money flowing in the local economy. Once successful, many also give back to the community through philanthropy.
The city’s prioritization of the district and financial support for helping small businesses have been key, according to Kolby. “It’s really been neat to see urban regeneration since we’ve been here and the ideas yet to come,” says Kolby. We’re grateful and humbled and very much appreciate the support the city has given us.”
Red Wing is proud to be a city of makers and craftspeople, and home to many manufacturing companies. One such company is Riedell Skates, who proudly manufactures Moxi skates. Meet the Moxi skate team and hear from them why, out of anywhere in the world, they chose to have their skates made in Red Wing.
SCS Elevator Products Inc. has been a family business and a woman owned business since 1986. SCS specializes in providing the highest quality code compliant signage in the industry. If you've ever been in an elevator and pressed the buttons, you've probably been assisted by SCS signage. In early 2005 SCS began looking for an opportunity to expand their business, which was located in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis/St. Paul. SCS was not only considering their facility needs, they also were looking for a community that helped them feel comfortable that it was a great place to raise their families.
The Red Wing Port Authority and the City of Red Wing were able to work with SCS to:
Find an existing building to suit their needs
Put together an incentive package that would allow them to make the move and expand their business
Introduce AIM and its employees to the community by providing school contacts, real estate contacts and even contacts that would help them translate key documents to serve employees whose primary language was not English.
We welcome SCS to Red Wing and are proud to call them a hometown business.