New Winnebago Site Boosts Local Workforce
A big investment by the city of Lake Mills, Iowa, began paying off for both the community and for Winnebago Industries Inc. when the area’s largest employer opened its newest plant last February.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reported that Cummins Filtration downsized its Lake Mills operation beginning in 2009 and soon placed one of its two buildings up for sale. The city purchased the 100,000-square-foot facility in 2012 for $750,000.
Meanwhile, a burgeoning market for Winnebago motorhomes was creating two positive challenges for the company: an inadequate labor supply and a shortage of production space.
The problem was most acute at Winnebago’s Charles City location.
“Demand for the Winnebago Touring Coach product line grew beyond the capacity of the space we had in Charles City,” said Randy Potts, Winnebago’s chairman, president and CEO. “There were a few things we could have done in Charles City to increase capacity, but it wouldn’t have been ideal.”
Instead, the company entered talks with the city of Lake Mills.
“The city made it clear that they purchased the property with the intent of using it to bring jobs to the community,” Potts said. “They established a negotiating base on that position and it served them well.”
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