St. Croix Economic Development Corporation: Names top businesses for 2014

St. Croix EDC Names Top Businesses for 2014

Scott Wagner 2Scott Wagner, President of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced the EDC’ s selection of Magma Flooring LLC (City of River Falls), 45th Parallel Spirits, LLC (City of New Richmond), and Vital Plastics, Inc. (Village of Baldwin) as recipients of the 2014 Business of the Year awards in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. The EDC board of directors also named Daryl Standafer (Village of North Hudson resident) as the recipient of the 2014 EDC Directors Award.

The companies and Mr. Standafer will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at Ready Randy’s Banquet Facility in New Richmond.

“Manufacturing is the common theme for our 2014 winners,” said Scott Wagner, president of St. Croix EDC. “In an era where there are fewer and fewer manufacturers, St. Croix County will honor three strong value-added companies, and their disciplines are all unique – flooring, distilled products, and plastics. Our county has a rich tradition in manufacturing and Magma Flooring, 45th Parallel, and Vital Plastics reflect the county’s diverse business base. We hold Daryl Standafer in high regards given his long history in banking, community service, and elected office in St. Croix County.”

About the 2014 Winners

Magma Flooring LLC is the 2014 Emerging Business of the Year (based in St. Croix County and in business for five or fewer years). Magma was founded in July 2012 and is a privately-held company that was spun off from Interfacial Solutions LLC, also located in River Falls. Magma intends to become a leading provider of environmentally green and eco-friendly flooring materials to the flooring industry. Their products have been engineered to meet the environmental and sustainability demands of today’s flooring market and to be a cost effective replacement for PVC. In early February 2014 Magma completed a $2 million equity investment led by NEW Capital Fund of Little Chute, Wisconsin. The company then commenced production in March 2014 in a leased facility at 283 Troy Street in the River Falls Industrial Park. Members of Magma’s executive team formed a new limited liability company (LLC) and purchased the facility from the River Falls EDC. Magma leases the building from the LLC. Dr. Gregg Bennett is the chief executive officer of Magma Flooring.

45th Parallel Spirits is the 2014 Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees). The company was founded by Paul Werni and 45th Parallel Distillery opened in the New Richmond Business & Technical Park in early 2007 as a boutique, small batch distillery. The company’s flagship spirit, 45th Parallel Artisan Premium Vodka, has been recognized with many awards, including a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (April 2014) and a 5 Star, highest recommendation rating from the Spirit Journal (2009) The company derives its name for the 45th parallel that runs along County Road E St. Croix County. Distillers say grain grown north of the 45th parallel makes the best products. 45th Parallel Distillery uses grain that is locally grown and harvested on a six generation family farm just eight miles from the distillery. This past fall the company announced an expansion, the second since opening, to keep pace with production, new products, and an expanded tasting room. In addition to its 45th Parallel Vodka, the company makes Border Bourbon, New Richmond Rye, Midwest Gin, Midwest Vodka, and Madison Avenue Liqueurs.

Vital Plastics is the 2014 Business of the Year (30 or more employees). The company was launched in 1994 in the Town of Hudson by three partners, including Terry Townsend who serves as the company’s chief executive officer. The company expanded to the Village of Baldwin after a couple of years, and today maintains a 40,000 square foot production facility and a second building, the former Stock Lumber building, both located in the Baldwin Industrial Park. The former Stock building was converted to Vital’s custom division and the automotive division operates out of the 40,000 square foot building. A third division is called the home assembly operations and offers flexible hours and light assembly options to many individuals and families. Vital Plastics operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has over 300 employees. Vital adheres to the 20:80 solution principle which allows companies to focus on their most vital parts of their manufacturing, the top 20%, while Vital Plastics manufactures the rest. The molding areas are divided into small manufacturing cells — by customer – allowing Vital to meet their individualized quality and delivery requirements. The company is ISO 9001:2008 certified.

This is the 21st annual business awards program for St. Croix EDC. The EDC was established in 1994 as a countywide business league that operates as the independent economic development arm of St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Reflective activities include marketing and communication, business retention, expansion recruitment, new incorporations, and legislative advocacy.

Banquet details will follow.

For more information, contact William Rubin or Nita Dusek at (715) 381-4383.