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Local manufacturing tours set this week

BEMIDJI — For anyone who is curious about how local manufacturers make products, a number of Bemidji-area businesses are showing off their manufacturing plants to the public on Oct. 24-25 as part of the Dream It Do It Statewide Tour Of Manufacturing.

Everything from vintage aircraft to construction equipment to lawn ornaments to shooting targets will be featured on the Bemidji area tours, officials said in a press release. The public is invited on the tours, including families, job seekers and school and community groups, to learn first-hand how local companies make products used every day in Minnesota and around the world.

On Oct. 24, some of the companies where tours are available include Next Innovations LLC in Walker, which makes everything from lawn ornaments to shooting targets, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Anglers can see how the fishing tackle they use is made at Northland Fishing Tackle in Bemidji from 3 to 7 p.m.

There are also tour hours at the Bemidji branch of Nortech Systems, an electronics manufacturer, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Norbord Minnesota in Solway also has hours from 3 to 5 p.m. They make wood-based paneling.

North Central Door Co. in Bemidji makes garage doors and will be open to the public from 3 to 7 p.m.

AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji has open hours from 3 to 7 p.m., as well.  AirCorps restores and repairs vintage aircraft.

Potlach, a tree farming and wood manufacturing operation in Bemidji, has hours from 3 to 5 p.m.

La Valley Industries in Bemidji, which makes pipe-handling attachments for construction cranes, has hours from noon to 3 p.m.

Real Stone in Bagley has hours on Oct. 25 from 12 to 3 p.m. They manufacture stone walls and other building finishes.

According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, manufacturing impacts more than 30 percent of Minnesota jobs. “We are looking forward to showing the kids and the community what we do. We believe we have a good story to tell and for the right individuals a potential career and very good job! The opportunity to open up our doors and have people see firsthand what we do in a single day is a very good showcase for us,” Jack Wallingford of Norbord said in a press release.

The local tours are supported by Greater Bemidji, Bemidji Area Chamber, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, 360? Manufacturing and Applied Manufacturing ATE Regional Center of Excellence, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association, Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association, Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association and the Minnesota Manufacturers Coalition.

To learn more about the tour, visit