The housing industry still hasn't fully recovered from the recession, but Andersen Windows has found a way to expand.
Today, the window and door company cut the ribbon on a new addition to its Bayport facility.
Tony Mutter is the first out of 100 new workers who will assemble a new, innovative line of composite cased windows Andersen calls its Series 100 line.
Andersen has seen increased demand for these lower price-point windows, which the company started manufacturing at its plant in Garland, Texas.
Jay Lund, CEO of Andersen, says, "Initially the focus was on the south and west regions of the company, [but] it's also been very successful here in the midwest, which is one of the reasons why we felt strongly about the second plant being here in Bayport."
Window production is now underway, with the plant expected to hit full capacity by the end of the year.
New workers like Mutter started today. Hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created both in Bayport and at another Andersen plant in Cottage Grove.
Gov. Mark Dayton was at today's ribbon-cutting.
"This is a dream day for a governor, absolutely," he said. "You show up for one ribbon-cutting and you hear about an announcement about two more expansions with over 300 jobs to a venerable Minnesota company..."
The plant expansions come with $3 million worth of incentives from the state of Minnesota.
Lund says the state help made a difference.
"It's a small part of a big investment, but it certainly says a lot in terms of the support we received from the state and it matters," he said. "Financially it matters and helped us justify the economics of this expansion."
But workers just know they have a plant and a product line to keep them busy.
"I'm a quick learner, and I'll learn real quick and make Andersen really proud to get those windows out as quick as they want them," Mutter says.
Lund says Andersen wants to break ground on the Cottage Grove plant expansion within the next month, with work slated to be done in about a year.