Fast plans second expansion
WINDOM — Fast Manufacturing is expanding — again.
On Tuesday, the Mountain Lake company announced it will expand in the North Windom Industrial Park — before its first building in the park is even completed.
“The good news is Fast Sprayers is expanding, doubling the size of their facility from 72,000 to 144,000 square feet,” said Aaron Backman, Executive Director of the Windom Economic Development Authority. “They have already ordered the second building, which will be attached to the first. They have already been bringing out gravel aggregate for a second building.”
Fast Manufacturing, a designer and manufacturer of high-quality sprayer and liquid fertilizer equipment, is in the process of building a 72,000 square-foot facility in the industrial park, known as Phase 1. That building is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“Initially, we bought the land in Windom about a year ago,” said Cody Fast, CFO of Fast Manufacturing. “We have a 23-acre lot there. The Phase 1 building was just going to be for our painting process for our set-up process. We were going to leave our welding and fabrication side over in Mountain Lake in the original buildings we have here. But just to gain efficiencies and everything, it made a lot of sense to start the building now and have everything to move into in June, so we don’t have to be moving parts back and forth between Mountain Lake and Windom during that year.”
The new building, known as Phase 2, will be on the north side of the one now under construction. The plan is to break ground in late fall, which will allow the building to be completed by summer 2014.
The first building will be used for automated powder coat painting and assembly process. The recently announced expansion will be for fabrication, welding and shipping/receiving.
“This will be another major step for us,” said owner Verlyn Fast. “This new facility in Windom will allow us to gain efficiencies in our manufacturing process by having it all in one location and under one roof. Our employees have been a huge strength for us as a company, and this will allow us to keep our existing employees in addition to adding more jobs in the area.”
That will allow Fast to move the majority of its manufacturing process to Windom.
“It allows us to keep a lot of the same workforce we have right now,” Fast said. “That’s a huge key for us — we’re able to keep a lot of our same employees. The EDA has been great to work with over there by starting the business development park, and it seemed like a great way to expand and keep the same workforce we have now.
“Right now, our entire operation is the family farm we have. We’ve kind of patched the buildings together over the years, and this will allow us to have better flow and a lot more room for future expansion.”
Cody Fast said he wasn’t sure how many jobs this would add since it would be likely over time.
“Over the next year or so, we’ve been growing employees by 10 to 15 every year or so,” he said. “I would say 10 to 15 jobs are what it would create in the next year or so. The big thing is we have a lot of room for expansion. It all depends on how the industry treats us over the next couple of years.”
Backman said construction of the new addition will begin immediately in the industrial park, which is located just off U.S. 71.
“We are very excited about this. They manufacture fertilizer applicators that are used by farmers not only in Minnesota, but around the country,” Backman said.
“I think it validates the infrastructure investment,” he continued. “To have an initial user invest in that type of facility is wonderful. We are definitely pleased they decided to make that investment here. They occupy three lots, so we have nine remaining lots in the industrial park.”
Fast is a family-owned business founded in 1990 by Verlyn and Nancy Fast. The Fasts are still involved in farming, as is the general manager, Clay Roll.
While the first two phases are under way, Cody Fast said those are the only current plans.
“We do have the land over there, but there is nothing in process,” he said. “This will fill our capacity and will take care of what we need for the years to come, that’s for sure.”