TOWER— St. Louis County commissioners and a bevy of other county officials were here this past Tuesday to get a firsthand look at one of the fastest-growing manufacturers in the region. Lamppa …
TOWER— St. Louis County commissioners and a bevy of other county officials were here this past Tuesday to get a firsthand look at one of the fastest-growing manufacturers in the region.
Lamppa Manufacturing, the longtime sauna stove and wood furnace maker, has been in their new facility since September and is experiencing explosive growth in demand for their products.
The company has gained nationwide attention in recent months as the first company to meet new federal emissions standards that go into effect next year for wood furnaces.
For years, the company was often unable to meet the demand for their products because of a tiny and antiquated facility. Now in their new facility, at 9,000 square feet nearly four times the size of their former plant, the company is still struggling to keep up with skyrocketing demand for their stoves and furnaces. They’re hiring new workers steadily and expect to be employing as many as 20 people by mid-summer, possibly more.
“I was very impressed as were the rest of the board and administration,” said Fourth District Commissioner Paul McDonald after the visit. McDonald noted that the company is in a growth mode and is likely to become a significant employer in the region given the quality of their products. “I’d say with the number of orders they have already and what they’re projecting in the future, there’s no doubt,” he said.
Plant manager Dale Horihan said he was pleased with the visit and said the county officials were especially interested in the workforce potential for the company. He noted that not only are the stoves and furnaces the company makes manufactured in Minnesota, but most of the components come from other companies in the state, many on the Iron Range. “Even our pallets we get locally,” said Horihan.
McDonald said a number of the county officials in attendance on Tuesday have Lamppa stoves or furnaces in their homes or saunas, and were especially interested to learn more about how they’re made. “Dale walked us through the process and it shows why nobody can touch their products in terms of quality,” said McDonald. “With a lifespan of 40-plus years, they really are exceptional.”
Facility work continues
Even as the commissioners were touring the facility, contractors were installing a new ventilation system for the plant’s welding shop. And the Tower Economic Development Authority, which owns the building and leases it to Lamppa, was expected to approve specifications on Thursday for additional work to finish off the entire building.
Lamppa Manufacturing had originally indicated they wanted to lease half of the brand -new, 9,000-square-foot building, and TEDA had left the remaining half unfinished inside until a tenant was secured. But Lamppa realized almost immediately that they would need the entire space to try to accommodate the flood of product orders, so TEDA is moving quickly to finish the remaining space.