by Dennis Dalman
Toppan Merrill announced plans June 25 for a 70,000-square-foot expansion to its Sartell facility. The announcement followed unanimous approval of a business subsidy by the Sartell City Council members at their June 24 meeting.
Toppan Merrill is a specialty digital-printing company (formerly Merrill Corp.) that opened in St. Cloud in 1994 and some years later a branch of the company (fulfillment order center) in Sartell. The expansion will allow Toppan Merrill to increase efficiency and capacity to support an expanding customer base and add additional jobs in the community, according to a press release, with the St. Cloud functions moving to the Sartell plant.
Toppan Merrill’s parent company, Toppan Leefung Pte. Ltd., expects to invest $6 million during the course of the expansion project that will include 13,500 square feet of office space and 56,375 square feet of additional warehouse and production space into the existing 100,000-square-foot building at 300 11th Ave. E. in east Sartell between Hwy. 15 and the Country Manor campus. The expansion is slated to be completed in spring 2020.
The agreement with the city of Sartell involves the city giving the company a $50,000 subsidy on the costs of water-and-sewer access charges for the expansion project. Sartell Development Director Anita Archambeau, who helped negotiate the deal, said the city would more than recompense the subsidy cost by retaining the company in the city.
Expansion plans began when Toppan Merrill was considering options for combining activities performed in its St. Cloud facility into the Sartell and/or Grove City sites. The request for a subsidy came about when bids for the expansion came in much higher than expected, putting the company in a tight spot. Last month, the Sartell City Council approved a $42,000 subsidy but agreed later, at the June 24 meeting, to an extra $8,000 for the total amount of $50,000.
Douglas Boser of Inventure Properties, St. Cloud, was instrumental in negotiations to keep Toppan Merrill in Sartell and to facilitate its expansion. He spoke at the June 24 council meeting.
“It’s been a long journey . . .,” he said, referring to the negotiations. “This is the place Toppan Merrill will make its home for many, many years. We appreciate it (the subsidy).”
Along with Archambeau and Inventure Properties, others involved in the negotiations were personnel from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.