Cottage Grove man buying post office to relocate startup businessJim Lemons is buying the U.S. Postal Service’s building at 7130 East Point Douglas Road in Cottage Grove and moving his Manufacturing Solutions of Minnesota startup firm closer to home.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Jim Lemons spent six months looking for space to relocate his business called Manufacturing Solutions of Minnesota.
Then his wife went to the post office and returned with stamps and a solution to the property pursuit.
Lemons is buying the U.S. Postal Service’s building at 7130 East Point Douglas Road in Cottage Grove. That building has served as the post office, but the postal service is moving all customer service operations to its annex facility in the city’s industrial park. It put the post office building up for sale earlier this year.
Lemons put in an offer after deciding that the location is good for many of his 21 employees and the 4,000 square feet will provide enough room for the startup business to continue growing. Lemons’ firm distributes manufacturing products, mainly precision cutting tools. It buys directly from tool manufacturers and then sells to shops and other businesses that use the tools.
“It’s very much a niche product,” he said. For example, they might sell a $200 specialty drill bit.
The business launched three years ago in Oakdale, but Lemons was leasing property and had an interest in moving the operation closer to his Cottage Grove home. He also looked at other spots in the Twin Cities area.
“I did a six-month search on properties,” he said. “The timing of the post office coming up for sale was perfect.”
Lemons plans to close on his building purchase July 31. He has hired a local contractor to gut the interior and rebuild so that it is designed for the new business. Most of the space will be office use, but it will include a warehouse because the business holds and then ships about 5 percent of its sales.
Lemons wants to move in by the end of September. He said he plans to hire one more employee right after the move, and anticipates hiring two more sales representatives in 2013.
Lemons has been a Cottage Grove resident around 14 years and has young children. He said that while he’s always supported the community, living and working in town will make that easier.