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Gusmer Enterprises to expand

Company adding 42,000 square feet to facilityBy Angie Landsverk

Gusmer Enterprises Inc. is adding a 42,000-square-foot addition to its facility to house manufacturing, lab, office and warehouse space.

The multi-million dollar project is being driven by continued manufacturing business growth across multiple product lines and markets, said Chris Gusmer, the company’s executive vice president.

The site plan review was before the city of Waupaca’s Plan Commission on Wednesday, July 8.

The commission approved it, with Commissioner Alan Kjelland abstaining from the vote. Chris Gusmer is his son-in-law, and Kjelland’s daughter Pam is also part of the company.

The site plan review does not have to go before the common council for approval.

The project at 1401 Ware St. includes the demolition of about 18,000 square feet of existing pole building structures, retaining walls and hard surface areas to the east side of Gusmer Enterprise’s last expansion.

“The applicant looks to begin construction relatively soon. They need some parts of it operational by the end of December,” Brennan Kane, the city’s community and economic director, told the commission.

The company anticipates starting the demolition of the old warehouse section before the end of this month and then starting work on the footings and foundation the first week of August, according to Steve Nieland, who is the director of product and process development at Gusmer Enterprises.

Jeremy Walker, senior project manager at Consolidated Construction Company Inc., described the project on behalf of Gusmer.

He said the addition will match the existing construction, incorporating the white architectural metal wall sheeting and blue decorative metal mansard.

The two-story office facility will have a partial basement, Walker said.

The expansion of the manufacturing, lab and warehousing space will include a three-station dock area on the east end of the building.

The parking lot at Gusmer Enterprises will also be extended to allow for the number of new employees the company plans to employ, Walker said.

Gusmer Enterprises projects adding an additional 15 to 20 employees within the next three years, Walker said.
The positions are expected to cover a few departments, but primarily to be focused on manufacturing roles, with some professional positions, Chris Gusmer said.

The company currently has approximately 135 employees at its Waupaca facility and is running most of its operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

Walker said the target is to have the building envelope completely enclosed by Dec. 1.

They plan to have temporary occupancy in the warehouse by the end of December, with final occupancy by early March, Walker said.

The project will also include upgrading the landscaping and installing a monument sign on the property.

The company’s last expansion project in Waupaca took place almost three years ago, when a 7,000-square-foot building was constructed.

That project was a manufacturing lab for the filter products it makes for the pharmaceutical industry.

Prior to that, the last major outdoor expansion at its Waupaca site was around 2007.

The business was founded in 1918 by Aage Gusmer to serve the brewing industry.

It has four locations in the United States. In addition to its plant in Waupaca, those sites include Mountainside in New Jersey and Fresno and Napa in California.

Harold Johnston founded the Waupaca location in 1938 as Filter Materials to manufacture Filtermass, a cotton filter pulp used primarily to filter beer.

Gusmer purchased an interest in Filter Materials in 1940 and bought the remaining stake in 1962.

The company’s largest markets include wine, biopharmaceutical, edible oil and brewing, with other target markets including specialty products, distilled spirits, juice, fruit and food.

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