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The Faribault Wool Spinning Mill opened a new office at Water Water 234 in Excelsior.
Faribault is the oldest manufacturing company in Minnesota, once sold 30% of the blankets in the United States.
Faribault has offices in Minneapolis, Faribault and Chicago, and now has offices in Excelsior.
According to Chairman and CEO Paul Grangaard, Faribault is committed to developing the brand and maintaining the business directly to consumers.
Faribault Woollen Mill Co. opened a new location at Water Water 234 in Excelsior on March 16. The shop is located in the Miller Block building.
Founded in 1865, Faribault Woolen Mills Co., Ltd. is the oldest manufacturing company in Minnesota. According to Chairman and CEO Paul Grangaard, the company once sold 30% of blankets in the United States.
The technology of the blanket has changed and competition is fierce. The company was in poor business conditions, so it closed in 2009. Paul Mooty purchased the plant and reopened it in mid-2011.
Grangaard works with Ross Widmoyer, the company's president and chief operating officer of the shoe manufacturer. The two companies merged the small company they founded after leaving the shoe business with Faribault in February 2020.
Faribault has offices in Minneapolis, Faribault and Chicago. Company leaders hope to open offices in Duluth and Rochester or Stillwater. Ultimately, they hope to open in major metropolitan areas, but first they need to stabilize and consolidate operations in Minnesota, Grangarde said.
Grangaard said the same forces that prevented the factory from succeeding in 2009 are still at work. The Internet and online shopping are a huge challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has also created new obstacles. He said that people stay at home instead of going out and spend money as they did in the past.
When Faribault sells through retailers, the store usually buys three styles. Grangarde said that the store does not intend to establish a factory brand, but to make about two-thirds of the profit. Now, Faribault focuses on direct-to-consumer.
Grangaard said that in order for the company to survive, the company needs to establish a direct relationship with its customers so that we can develop the brand.
He said that even if Faribault pays rent and remuneration to sales staff, it is still earning better profits to maintain its business. Faribault is also involved in e-commerce. He said that the company's online business doubled last year and has grown by 100% this year.
Faribault officials chose Excelsior as their newest location because it is a beautiful town.
Grangaard said: "The outdoor life in Minnesota is our goal. Excelsior is so typical of outdoor life in Minnesota." He added that there are a lot of people along the water street and they like to be associated with the Excelsior hotel.
Due to the adoption of COVID-19, people have a new interest in home decoration and outdoor socializing. Grangarde said there is nothing better than throwing a blanket on a pontoon or a fire after the sun goes down to keep you warm.
Grangaard said Faribault focused on art and design that the company had never had before. Last year, more than 100 new products were launched, many of which were Minnesota-themed designs, such as Minnetonka Lake and White Fish Chain of Lakes blankets. Some of the designs were done by local artists such as Adam Turman and Dyani White Hawk.
Faribault solved the problem of wool abrasion. The blanket is soft to the touch, warm in winter and cool in summer. Grangaard said wool is water repellent, natural, sustainable and high-quality.
Grangarde said: "Just like you don't provide guests with cheap wine, you don't want to provide blankets for their guests."
Grangaard is looking forward to activities in the store, which will require hiring more people and opening new store locations. He said that the retail industry has always been a difficult industry, and all factories have closed down. He added that it feels great to open a new location and provide people with employment opportunities.
Grangaard said that Faribault will promote interaction between customers and employees, and both parties feel that the company appreciates this and is proud of the product. He added: "We are building a business that provides livelihoods and quality products."
Community members have reached out and Faribault will have a social talk with Rotary at the end of March.
Grangaard said: "This is part of the entire community, uniting and helping each other."
Jeff Verdoorn and Tyler Nelson are development partners who bought the Miller Block building and developed the Excelsior-Suites hotel on the water street above the store. Verdoorn said that Faribault is a top retailer that has become a bright spot in the heart of downtown Excelsior.
Nelson pointed out that in part of the Faribault wall, a glass panel will be installed between the store and the adjacent space. In this way, the lake water, more sunlight and pedestrian flow on the sidewalk can be seen from the store. He said this will also make the space look bigger.
Each suite at Hotel Excelsior will be equipped with Minnetonka Lake blankets and another blanket designed according to the color scheme of each room. Faribault's book on its history will be added to the collection of books in the suite.
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