North Star Foods won't rebuild St. Charles plantby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio,
Bill Catlin, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — North Star Foods has decided not to rebuild a meat and poultry processing plant in St. Charles that was destroyed by fire last year, eliminating 250 jobs.
Instead, the nearly 40-year-old firm is merging with Illinois-based Quantum Foods.
The company had been the southeastern Minnesota city's largest employer. The fire on April 17 forced the temporary evacuation of the city's 3,500 residents.
In a joint statement released Friday, company officials said that "market conditions and the cost associated with constructing or acquiring a new facility compelled North Star Foods to end its operations in St. Charles."
Patrick Thesing, vice president and co-owner of North Star, said a new food processing research center "may be located in or near" St. Charles.
"The center would focus on developing even more innovative ways in providing protein food service products and mass production," according to the statement.
North Star Foods co-owners Thesing and Brad Arndt will remain in leadership roles in the merged company.
Quantum Foods plan to hire several of North Star Foods' remaining employees to work in operating, sales and research and development positions.
Madeleine Baran is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.