LE CENTER — A Le Center native and wholesale candy producer CEO has returned to her hometown to provide it a sweet new opportunity: a brand new primary factory for the Minneapolis-based Maud Borup, Inc.
A grand opening ceremony for the factory was held Thursday in Le Center.
Christine Lantinen grew up in Le Center and earned her degrees in public relations and marketing at Minnesota State University. At the same time she earned her degree, she served for 10 years as a field medic in the Minnesota National Guard at Fort Snelling from 1991 to 2001. She then worked at Target Corp. as a product manager for four years. Then, she worked as sales and marketing director at Bay Island, Inc. in Minneapolis. In 2005, she took over as CEO and President of the 106-year old Maud Borup, Inc.
The open house event at the Le Center factory drew more than 140 local residents, far exceeding the projections. Lantinen said she has wanted to give back to her hometown community for years and finally found an opportunity when the company was able to take over a former counter-top manufacturing site. She said the town is so closely knit that she was ever surprised by learning after the purchase that her father owns farm land touching the property.
The site is now fully operational with 30 full-time employees. The factory will run all year around and will hire up to 40 part-time seasonal employees for its busy season around Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day.
The factory will focus more on finishing and assembling much of Maud Borup's product. Lantinen said Le Center was an ideal site because of its safe environment, access to Twin Cities and the local worker pool being ideal for the work that focuses on use of hands.