Salo Manufacturing Doubles Size of Plant

Friday, May 09, 2014

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Salo Manufacturing Doubles Size of Plant

By Matthew Johnson

The Menahga firm that manufactures fiberglass tubs, showers and remodeling units, established by Paul Salo in 1986, recently doubled the size of its physical plant, and is now in the process of hiring more employees to staff the larger facility.

Salo Manufacturing, Inc., located in the Menahga Industrial Park, erected a new structure late last year to bridge the physical gap between its original production plant and office building with an additional 20,000 square feet of warehouse space. That addition has allowed for a significant expansion of inventory to help keep up with the demands of its wholesale customers. In charge of this new expansion are Terry and Sherri Petersen, who purchased the business from its second owner, Dave Wosmek, last August.

“We’re happy to be here. We like Menahga,” Terry said. “Everyone has been great welcoming us to the area. We love the area.”

Before that, they built and ran a couple of their own Twin Cities area convenience stores, complete with car washes and restaurants, for about 10 years. Terry said after their youngest child graduated from high school, they decided to look for an opportunity to move north. He said he Googled “Minnesota businesses” and saw a For Sale ad for the business. The couple bought the business last year, and has now purchased a home in the area, too.

The new, cold-storage pole-barn construction warehouse brings the Salo Manufacturing operation all under one (very big) roof, and provides a number of opportunities to make it more efficient and safe, according to Terry. For example, employees used to have to make a bumpy forklift ride outdoors between the buildings to retrieve molds kept in storage behind the offices, and to physically lift the tubs and stalls onto trucks. Now, with the addition of a loading dock, a lot of that manual lifting has been eliminated.

“We’re shipping a lot faster now,” Terry said.

Semi-trailers parked outside had to be used as storage units in the past; the new warehouse, which currently holds about 1,000 units in stock, has eliminated that need, too.

“Now we’ve got a pretty good inventory. Most things ordered now we will already have in stock,” Terry said. “In the past, everything was pretty much made to order, because there was no room for storage.”

The office used to double as show-room space, but since it is a wholesale operation, the couple sees no need for the business to have a show-room any longer. This frees up even more space in the office building.

More space will be opening up in the production area of the original plant, too, with some equipment being moved to the storage area behind the office. And a number of older items in storage are being disposed of as part of an extensive cleaning process.

“There is a lot of cleaning that needs to go on (yet),” Terry said.

He said he relies quite a bit on employees who have worked for the business a while, including Plant Manager Aaron Frame and General Manager Edith Korkowski. Aaron has worked at Salo for about four years, and Edith for 10.

When this interview was conducted, Salo employed 22 people, but that number could be outdated by the time you read this as their hiring push continues. The business was operating with 17 employees when Terry and Sherri took over, and with their busy season just beginning, their goal is around 25 employees. The construction business is beginning to pick up, and tubs and shower stalls are usually some of the first items to be installed after concrete slabs are poured, according to Terry.

While in the process of looking for funding to help with their new addition and expansion, Terry discovered that this area also has its own economic development director. He had high praise for Mark Hanson of WCEDA (West Central Economic Development Alliance), who played a key role in helping their project come to fruition. “Mark was very helpful getting everything going here,” Terry said.

To learn more about Salo Manufacturing, Inc., check out their website at: www.salomfg.com.

Category: WCEDA

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