Manufacturing Expansion

Bill Sweasy continuously invested his time and talents in the businesses and citizens of Red Wing, Minnesota. Sweasy was committed to manufacturing in this city and to using local skilled labor, championing the development of the Red Wing Industrial Park.

“ If we are privileged to grow, the Industrial Park is where we’d like our expansion to go. We’re very fortunate to be in Red Wing.
*Bill Sweasy, as quoted in the Red Wing Daily Republican Eagle, August 23, 1963.”

Photo: Bill Sweasy in his downtown office during his tenure as Chairman of the Board. Photo by Chap Achen, ca 1980s.

Red Wing Shoe Company was the first business to purchase land in the park, building a shipping warehouse there in 1959.
By 1964 the original manufacturing facility in downtown Red Wing couldn’t keep up with the orders and a second factory,
Plant 2, was constructed in the Industrial Park..

    Photo: Red Wing Industrial Park as seen from the air, ca 1961. Note the RWSC shipping warehouse in the foreground.

    Photo: Plant 2 under construction, July 1964

    Photo: Plant 2 construction progress, October 1964. The factory became operational and began production in December, 1964.

    Plant 2 opened with cutting edge technology for footwear manufacturing. Always an innovator, Sweasy sought to improve the manufacturing process—whether to design a better shoe, to improve productivity, or to meet the needs of workers. Sweasy and his team experimented with several new manufacturing processes and the new Plant 2 factory provided enough space for a dedicated Research and Development laboratory. With this investment, Red Wing engineers designed state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and equipment.  Plant 2 has operated continuously for over 50 years.