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Brian hansel | Daily journal

Tour guide: Dan Moske, left, guided a tour group around the production floor at Vector Windows and Doors Thursday morning in Fergus Falls. Tour organized by Greater Fergus Falls went through Vector Windows, Shoremaster and StoneL.

It was not a fit day to work outdoors in Fergus Falls on Thursday – the wind was cold, the sky was cloudy and the streets were wet – but inside the manufacturing plants of the city it was just another work day.

All hands were busy as tour groups organized by Greater Fergus Falls visited three Fergus Falls businesses — Vector Windows and Doors, Shoremaster and StoneL.

Tour groups fed their curiosity about what happens inside manufacturing as they were guided through the local production facilities. They saw the bustle of the production floor while also hearing the sounds of men, women and machines at work.

Families, job seekers, schools and community members were all invited to learn firsthand how finished products are turned out at the three businesses.

“Supporting our local manufacturers are crucial to economic development. With over 50 manufacturers in Fergus Falls, it’s important we do everything we can to support their success and growth in our community,” Greater Fergus Falls (GFF) CEO Annie Deckert said. “Manufacturers provide highly-skilled, well-paying jobs, which increase our area median income and population. Both of these are factors that retail and restaurant industries look at when choosing their next location.”

Deckert had not been back in Fergus Falls very long last summer when she zeroed in on the manufacturing sector as being her group’s best bet for a “Greater” Fergus Falls.

In a July interview with The Daily Journal Deckert said, “My approach is working on the current businesses that are here. I want to make them happy.”

Deckert firmly believes manufacturing is the backbone of Minnesota’s economy. According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the industry impacts over 30% of Minnesota jobs. The tours were supported by Greater Fergus Falls with a sponsorship from the Tri-State Manufacturing Association. GFF also partnered with Independent School District, to bus in any students from high school with an interest in the behind-the-scenes look at alternative career paths.

According to Deckert, the mission at GFF is to support and grow the area business community by retaining existing businesses, revitalizing the local economy and recruiting new entrepreneurs and innovators.

Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer proclaimed Oct. 1-7 as Minnesota Manufacturing Week at a Sept. 16 meeting of the City Council.

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