Gartner Studios expanding to former Duro Bag buildingArea News
-- The former Duro Bag factory in Hudson has a new occupant.
By: Randy Hanson , Pierce County Herald
HUDSON, Wis. -- The former Duro Bag factory in Hudson has a new occupant.
Gartner Studios will use the 147,000-square-foot facility to produce its Duff Goldman line of cake baking and decorating products.
The Stillwater-based stationery and party goods company also will launch a candy-packaging business from the plant, and make it the distribution center for all of its paper and food products.
Gartner Studios founder and CEO Greg Gartner confirmed the move in a phone call last week from the company’s headquarters in Stillwater, Minn.
Gartner said the move into the former paper-bag-manufacturing factory is already underway. He said the food distribution and candy packaging will begin first, and be operational by early April. The food manufacturing and paper distributing will start closer to June.
The facility will employ 40 full-time workers and hundreds of temporary workers when it is fully operational, Gartner said.
Gartner, a St. Paul native and former University of Wisconsin-River Falls student, started Gartner Studios out of his home in 1998. It began with a line of do-it-yourself greeting cards that could be produced on a personal computer.
The business has grown to include some 8,000 products that, in Gartner’s words, “celebrate life’s events.” They range from wedding invitations to baby shower decorations to party favors and stationery.
In 2003, Gartner Studios moved its distribution center to a new building in Hudson’s St. Croix Business Park. Gartner said the company outgrew the building four years ago, and the 10-year lease expires in June.
Gartner has been renting warehouse space in River Falls from Tom Elbert, the rural New Richmond investor and property manager who last year purchased the Duro Bag building and its 72 acres for $3.15 million.
The two finalized the deal for Gartner Studios to move into the vacant factory last August, according to Gartner.
He said the way he has been welcomed to Wisconsin -- beginning with former Hudson Mayor Jack Breault and Development Director Dennis Darnold -- influenced his decision to expand here.
“Those guys made such a positive impression on me 10 years ago that I never forgot how they worked with us,” Gartner said.
He credits St. Croix Development Corp., Forward Wisconsin and Gov. Scott Walker with influencing his decision this time around.
Gartner is relocating the production and distribution of its Duff Goldman line of cake mix and decorating products from downtown Stillwater to the Hudson facility. The food production and candy packaging will be done by a spin-off company of Gartner’s, Tylina Foods.
Chef Duff is a television personality and host of the former “Ace of Cakes” and “Sugar High” shows on the Food Network. He created a giant six-tiered cake that was served at the Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama.
Gartner Studios partnered with Chef Duff in 2010 to produce a line of bakeware and decorating products.
The candy line will be rolled out in early April, Gartner said.