A Goal for Economic Expansion Brings Albert Lea Community Together

March 06, 2018 07:43 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- A ribbon cutting Tuesday marked the start of a new era for a growing Albert Lea company. And it's another reminder that we're stronger together.

"Back in 2016 we started working with Zumbro River Brand, the owner of the building right to the south of us here,” said Ryan Nolander of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. “And they were looking to do an expansion and there weren't any state incentive dollars available at that time so we decided locally let's get creative and help them.”


It might look like a warehouse or industrial space, but what it is is 74,000 square feet of teamwork.

“We tried to figure out some way to do this," said Pamela Sander, majority owner of Zumbro River Brand.

Zumbro River Brand is a contract food manufacturer that produces and packages food ingredients and finished products to customer specifications.

"They're putting in an extruder, for food extrusion," ALEDA’s Ryan Nolander explained.

“It was just too expensive between the equipment and the renovation that was necessary to install that equipment," Panela Sander said.

So that's where the teamwork comes in.

"Zumbro actually donated the property to us but then we took over the bidding process and we actually own the building, own the property," Ryan Nolander told us.

"And will lease it to us for five years and at that time there could be an option to purchase it, allowing them to move on to build other buildings" the company’s Pamela Sander added.

“They will be investing their dollars, their capital into that piece of equipment, creating 20 plus new jobs," said ALEDA’s Ryan Nolander.

"The majority of economic expansion that we can do in this community is going to come from the local businesses that we have right now," Albert Lea city council member Rich Murray said.

"So helping Zumbro River Brand go from 115 jobs to 135 jobs is a big deal," Ryan Nolander told us.

Zumbro is based in Albert Lea, and also has a facility in Owatonna.


Dan Conradt

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