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Manufacturing going strong in Red Wing

Manufacturing held firm in Red Wing in 2010.

Companies, including larger employers Red Wing Shoe Co. and Norwood & BIC Graphic North America, added jobs at their local facilities.

"I would say, the manufacturers I talked to, they all said they felt 2010 was better than expected," said Shari Chorney, Red Wing Port Authority business development director.

After shutting down its second shift at its Plant 2 in November 2009, the Shoe brought the shift back in April 2010 and added 80 full-time jobs.

Dave Murphy, company president and chief operating officer, said a rebound in the construction industry increased demand for work boots and allowed the Shoe to bring back the shift.

"We are very encouraged by this positive trend and believe this investment in adding new employees is the right course of action," Dave Murphy said in April.

Meanwhile, Norwood & BIC Graphic North America -- which produces promotional products -- twice added jobs to its local facility and also expanded the building this past year.

The news was bittersweet for the company. When reorganizing its operations the company chose to relocate jobs from its San Antonio, Texas, and Janesville, Wis., facilities to Red Wing.

The company had employed some 345 workers in San Antonio. Those workers were given opportunities to keep their positions if they chose to move to Red Wing.

To accommodate the additional operations, the company built on a 45,000-square-foot addition at 5151 Moundview Drive.

In early December, the company announced it would be consolidate its Janesville plant with its Red Wing facility, which brought some 75 jobs to Red Wing. Again Janesville workers were given first dibs on the jobs.

Chorney said the manufacturers she has spoken to are optimistic about 2011.

"They're definitely looking at hiring," she said.