Progress 2013

Published 4:39 pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

Every year in late February, we at the Austin Daily Herald enjoy taking an in-depth look at all the positive changes taking place locally in our aptly-named Progress special section. And every year after we’ve published the stories on growth and advancement, it usually shows how good we have it here. But this time, Austin’s progress seems overwhelming.

Hormel Foods Corp., the town’s largest employer, has reported four consecutive years of growth and back-to-back record years in profit and total sales, and 2013 could be a banner year for the meatpacker after it announced the acquisition of Skippy with its eye on the Chinese market.

Austin’s only medical center, Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea and Austin, is putting the finishing touches on a $28-million expansion expected to add close to 70 jobs, and the world-renowned Hormel Institute is preparing to break ground this year on a $27-million expansion expected to bring around 120 high-paying jobs.

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In addition, unemployment is at 4.5 percent, a four-year low, and landmark diner Jerry’s Other Place (now Olivia’s Family Restaurant) is open and Tolly’s Time Out will be soon, too.

The grassroots, decade-long community betterment movement Vision 2020 is shifting gears and the rewards we reap from that will continue to sprout up around Austin with more regularity.

The list goes on, but you’ll have to wait a month and a half to get the full picture. We spend months putting together this publication — the largest special section we produce all year — and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy telling the stories. Look for Progress 2013 on Sunday, Feb. 24.