Welcome, Upper Lakes Foods

sorting-tomatoes.jpgIt’s finally official, and we can talk about it without risk of jinxing the deal. The family-owned distribution company, Upper Lakes Foods, has purchased the old College City Beverage building and will be setting up operations in Northfield. The Star Tribune published an announcement yesterday, and the Duluth News Tribune had a similar story a couple of weeks ago.

When I spoke with the City’s Economic Development Manager, Charlene Coulombe-Fiore, about this in late November or early December, she asked to hold off any blog discussion until the deal was inked. But here we are – a $5m investment plus about 40 new jobs, some of which will be new hires locally. The Upper Lakes website doesn’t appear to have posted any of these on their website yet, but perhaps they will.

I know that Charlene and many others at City Hall and in the community have put a lot of time and energy into making this deal a go. I’m glad to see an increase in Northfield’s commercial tax base, and additional jobs here – we definitely need both in order to maintain a balanced community.

11 thoughts on “Welcome, Upper Lakes Foods”

  1. Tracy –

    Yeah, this is great news and, you’re right, it’s been swirling around below the radar for some time. I’ve heard that the investment could be as much as $7 million and the jobs could be as many as 60.

    They will be doing some hiring locally, in fact there’s a job fair scheduled for Northfield on Wednesday, February 13th. Perhaps Charlene will share some more details at tomorrow’s Forum: http://nddc.org/weblog/post/995/

    This accomplishment is truly something that merits recognition and celebration. Way to go Northfield EDA!!!

    – Ross

  2. No secrecy, really, Bright – this issue was discussed in open meetings with both the EDA and the City Council on several different dates. But announcing details would have been premature until the transactions with the building owner, the City, the State, and who knows who else, were finalized.

  3. Bright –

    I wouldn’t call it secrecy, rather I would view it as a desire to protect privacy and avoid drama. I’m thinking that you, personally, wouldn’t want to call someone with an initial inquiry about a property and then see the story blogged as a done deal the next day.

    For a deal of this size, four to six months from the first conversation, working through the many details, to the big announcement doesn’t seem unreasonable. There have been some public discussions at the EDA meetings for some time, so its clearly not secrecy, merely a bit of discretion.

    – Ross

  4. Bright, there was no secrecy. Journalism is just a hit or miss process in marginal coverage areas like Northfield. Just because a story is important here, doesn’t mean other publications will pay attention. Sometimes there isn’t enough staff or other stories take priority.
    And the city doesn’t have staff to do public information.
    That said, Northfield has had amazing amounts of coverage in the Twin Cities media.
    And I can explain how the story got in the Strib.
    The deal was in the process when it came to the city, which had to give approval to the JOBZ piece of it.
    I knew about the story from the local coverage. I talked to the real estate broker at Welsh for a story for our publications (the Real Estate Journal and Commercial Real Estate Guide) and we write the weekly column for the Star Tribune and so that’s how it got more coverage. My guess is the News will do an update pegged to the job fair.

  5. Thanks Anne & Tracy and everyone….for helping to explain, for helping make the deal happen, and for helping me! Ross, I prefer to keep my numbers conservative so Anne’s are much more accurate at this time., with the 5.2 intial investment and the (40) jobs.

    We are all still awaiting the State’s approval….for the JOB Z transfer and approval designation, which does kinda put things on hold for ULF until the approval is done as far as any investment benefits go. But then again, that will be a choice for them as far as what they can “wait for” or move forward with.

    The job fair is scheduled for 2-13 at the College City beverage site from 1pm to 7pm. We are all very excited. If you want a copy of the flyer or know someone seeking employment, be sure to stop by or share/spread the news!!!!

  6. Thanks for the pdf flyer from ULF Tracy. But would someone tell them the address of the plant in Cannon Road, not Canyon Road.

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