Plymouth-based Maud Borup, the century-old candy and food gift company, will break ground in December on a 65,000-square-foot expansion of its Le Center manufacturing plant and warehouse.

 “It’s exciting to take the business to the next level,” said owner Christine Lantinen, who grew up on a Le Center area farm in southern Minnesota and expects sales of more than $20 million this year.

The company expects Le Center employment to grow from 120 to 150 thanks to the expansion, including “professional chocolatiers.” The building addition and equipment in LeCenter will cost about $5.5 million, including a loan from Old National Bank.

The addition is expected to open next summer.

Lantinen bought Maud Borup in 2005 with her husband after she was let go by a rival company; the owner told he couldn’t afford her $125,000 salary and bonus.

See my column of last summer: 

Things have worked out well, if not exactly to plan, for the driven, often-laughing Lantinen, 45, who served as a medic in the Army for 10 years after high school to afford college. She was named Minnesota's small business person of the year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Lantinen has transformed Maud Borup from a small retailer to a wholesale business: a growing manufacturer of chocolates, peppermint bark, fudge cups, other candies and food gifts. 

“I think Maud has been watching out for us,” Lantinen said last summer from her Plymouth office and warehouse, which employs another 20 people. “This edition will allow us to expand our offerings inspired by some of Maud’s original recipes from over 100 years ago."

The Le Center plant is powered by a huge wind turbine. Lantinen has worked to reduce packaging and Maud Borup has been recognized for its environmental initiatives.

“I feel each of us should do our part and landfill less,” she said. “We’re trying to build a great company.”



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