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Fergus Falls' ShoreMaster to build in Missouri

ShoreMaster is building a new plastics plant in Missouri. Erik Ahlgren, president of the Fergus Falls, Minn., company, said the 16,000-square-foot plant will open this fall adjacent to ShoreMaster's Galva Foam plant in the community of Camdenton....

ShoreMaster is building a new plastics plant in Missouri.

Erik Ahlgren, president of the Fergus Falls, Minn., company, said the 16,000-square-foot plant will open this fall adjacent to ShoreMaster's Galva Foam plant in the community of Camdenton.

ShoreMaster is owned by Otter Tail Corp. (NASDAQ: OTTR), which has corporate headquarters in Fergus Falls and Fargo.

ShoreMaster and Galva Foam manufacture waterfront equipment, including boat lifts, docks and molded floats.

The new Missouri plant will manufacture rotomolded floats used to support floating docks. Rotomolding uses rotating molds to form a seamless plastic shell.

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ShoreMaster this summer will train Missouri-based staff at its existing rotomolding plant in Fergus Falls, Ahlgren said. The new plant will employ about 20 people. The existing plant in Camdenton employs 100. Shoremaster employs 130 people in Fergus Falls.

"We've consistently expanded production to match the demand for these higher-quality floats," Ahlgren said. "Adding this capability at our Camdenton plant will eliminate significant transportation costs and will give Galva Foam a competitive edge in selling to large marina dock projects."

ShoreMaster acquired Galva Foam in October. ShoreMaster in 2002 generated $22 million in revenue while Galva Foam generated $12 million.

"It's been a good joint effort," said Ken Wells, Galva Foam vice president of operations. "It was a team effort to put this together."

Camdenton, with a population of 3,000, is just south of giant Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Wells said the Ozarks lake area has more than 150,000 year-round residents. The area is also visited by thousands of boating tourists and soldiers from nearby Ft. Leonard Wood, the U.S. Army's combat engineer training center.

"It's a big resort area -- a lot of weekenders," Wells said.

The city of Camdenton will build the new plant on a site in its business park and lease the land and building to Galva Foam, according to Scott Christensen, director of community development and planning for the city.

"Our labor costs are competitive and we have a pretty good labor force," Christensen said, adding that most jobs at the plant will pay between $8.50 and $9.50 an hour.

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"We're excited about their expansion and the fact that they're bringing more jobs to the area," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560

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