Representatives of JBS and the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors gathered in August for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility. Project Ice is planned at 186,083 square feet, with an option to add an 84,683-square-foot warehouse addition at a later date.
“This is important, and it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time,” said Brad Hellenga, general manager at the JBS Worthington plant, in an interview shortly after the groundbreaking. “It’s a great feeling to see this happening, and a great feeling to know this plant is expanding. I think it will help us have a great future here.”
Company officials said the new freezer warehouse could create approximately 70 new jobs, ranging from $17.05 to $21.30 per hour, plus benefits. The facility could store up to 25 million pounds of frozen product and 2.5 million pounds of fresh product, increasing the plant’s overall production capacity.
The JBS pork production plant is Worthington’s largest employer, as it currently has more than 2,000 team members and processes 20,000 hogs per day. JBS also announced plans earlier in the summer to donate $2.6 million to the city of Worthington to help the community respond to needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and invest in the city’s future. The donation is a product of the company’s Hometown Strong initiative.
Here’s a selection of development involving new businesses — or ownership or location changes — within Nobles County in what was a challenging 2020:
* Tangent Technologies completed its acquisition of Bedford Technology at the end of February. Headquartered in Aurora, Tangent is a leading manufacturer of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lumber used for outdoor furniture, site amenities, structural applications and marine decking.
* Zombie Martian Robot Arcade Lounge opened in mid-March at 1517 Oxford St.
* Kivu Immigration Law PLLC, located in the former Flynn and Riordan Law Office at 906 Third Ave. in downtown Worthington, opened June 1. The community’s first immigration law office is operated by Erin Schutte Wadzinski.
* Lakeshore Marina, located on private property next to Ehlers Park and across the street from Lakeshore Clips, opened Memorial Day and offers six boating slips for rental.
* Raspados Hernández, offering a variety of sweet icy treats, healthy fresh fruit and savory street corn options, opened in late July at 100 12th St. E. in Worthington.
* Golden Horizons broke ground in September on its memory care addition.
* Fruitissmo, which opened in October by three sisters-in-law, offers treats from their native Mexico.
* Sota Orthodontics opened in a new location on Oxford Street inside the building last occupied by McCarthy’s Floral.
* Essential Senior Service, established by Nobles County native and Rushmore resident Marriah Aggen, assists senior citizens by running errands for them so they can stay safe at home.
* Schaap completed construction in November on a 200- by 40-foot Moving & Storage facility, along Oxford Street just west of Marthaler Ford.
* Scooter’s Coffee opened Dec. 21 along Oxford Street.
There was also one key change at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, as Darlene Macklin retired July 31 after 33 years as executive director. Michael Daley was hired as Macklin’s replacement this fall.
In terms of permanent business closures, perhaps the biggest story was the closing this fall of Lien Electric, a downtown Worthington fixture for 70 years. Richard Steen, who operated Kustom Body Shop for 56 years, also announced his retirement and the sale of the building.
Another noteworthy closure in Worthington was Pizza Hut, which shut its doors permanently this summer.