Faribault Woolen Mill celebrates reopening

  • Article by: SUSAN FEYDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 14, 2011 - 10:26 PM

A workforce of 31 will produce Faribo blankets and throws at the historic mill.

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File photo: Cousins Paul, left, and Chuck Mooty have purchased the closed Faribault Woolen Mills factory and plan to reopen it soon. During a tour of the historic building in Faribault, they stood between two weaving looms that were stopped in mid-production of a blanket when the business shut down.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Closed since 2009, Faribault Woolen Mill Co. is beginning a new life under new owners. Gov. Mark Dayton and other officials are scheduled to attend ceremonies Thursday marking the re-opening at the historic mill purchased in June by Edina businessmen Chuck and Paul Mooty.

The plant, which dates back to the 1890s, at one time had a workforce of about 80 and produced half the woolen blankets made in the United States. The mill is resuming production with 31 workers, including some former employees, said Paul Mooty. "Our goal is to build that back to one full shift with about 50 to 60 people," he said. Extra shifts could be added, depending on demand, he said.

At a time when most textile production has moved overseas, the Faribault mill is thought to be North America's only fully-integrated facility with equipment that washes, cards, spins and weaves wool into Faribo brand blankets and throws.

The Mootys' purchase included equipment, most of which proved to be serviceable, Paul Mooty said. The new owners are adding four new looms, two other machines for finishing blankets and also are upgrading the building's engineering systems.

A "first-run" wool blanket collection is now available online at faribaultmill.com and also will be sold at a tent sale 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the mill, 1500 Second Ave. NW in Faribault. Paul Mooty said products also will be available later this year at the Mall of America Gift Store. The Mootys also want to target the hospitality and health care markets and recently have gotten orders from the Waldorf Astoria and Hudson hotels in New York.

Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723

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  • A history of Faribault Woolen Mills

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    1865: Founded by Carl Klemer, a German-born cabinetmaker, the mill supplies blankets to Civil War soldiers.

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