HECU breaks ground

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 7, 1999

Hormel Employees Credit Union will never be the same.

Thursday, October 07, 1999

Hormel Employees Credit Union will never be the same.

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On Wednesday, ground was broken for a new $1.2 million expansion that will provide an additional 5,000 square feet of work space, while another 3,000 square feet of existing space will be remodeled.

Wagner Construction Company is the general contractor for the project designed by Paul R. Johnson Architects, Inc.

With HECU staff and directors observing, Mahlon S. Krueger, president and chief executive officer, recalled how the credit union originated in 1930 and has grown from $500 start-up deposits to over $60 million in assets.

"We’re all looking forward to improving our services to our members and to combining all our services under one roof," he told employees. "The hard-work, understanding and patronage of our members have created this success story and we must also thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence."

Paul R. Johnson told the employees, "Everyone’s cooperation will be paramount to the success of this project."

When the ceremonies concluded, everyone got a "We broke ground" button to wear to commemorate the festivities.

Among those watching the gold-shoveled ground-breaking ceremonies were directors Ken Guckeen and Jim Larson, who serves on the HECU facilities committee. In addition, Louis Anthonisen of the supervisory committee also was a guest at the ceremonies.

The project will involve extending the HECU building by its full width 32-feet south toward 3rd Ave. N.E. for the 5,000 square feet (upstairs and downstairs) in new space, plus the existing interior space to be remodeled.

There will also be a new front entrance with elevator access to the lower level.

According to Krueger, the lower level will be the headquarters of HECU’s "call center" or where staff answer the telephone inquiries of members.

Krueger said there will be more space for mortgage lending in the form of conference rooms to ensure clients’ privacy during such transactions.

New offices will help HECU’s expansion into the area of financial planning, plus there will new consumer credit counseling areas.

Fox Electric and Harty Mechanical head a list of major sub-contractors.

No new employees will be needed, at this time, according to Krueger, who said staff will see their existing office and other spaces upgraded and remodeled with various workplace enhancements.

HECU opened Dec. 1, 1930, with Jay C. Hormel’s own support and cash. The son of the founder of Hormel Foods Corporation saw the credit union become a trusted financial friend to his employees.

Today, the over $60 million in assets are watched over by 40 total employees and a board of directors.

HECU moved from its old location across the Cedar River, where the Mower County Shopper offices are located along 4th Ave. N.E. in 1984. It was one of the first new projects in the near-downtown area at the time and remains an anchor there today.

"There will be no interruption of services, including our drive-up services. We will all have to make some adjustments, but we will do our best to ensure there is little inconvenience," Krueger said.

Completion is expected in May 2000, according to architect Johnson.