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July 28, 2009
Argus Leader
by Molly Young

Two S.D. manufacturers merge

Brookings-based company buys Watertown's Superior Homes

Brookings-based Larson Manufacturing's acquisition of Watertown's Superior Homes this month should strengthen both, officials with each business say.

Dan Beinhorn, vice president of manufacturing and engineering at Larson, said his company became interested in Superior Homes earlier this year after studying its products and national housing trends.

Officials with both businesses had become familiar with each other several years ago when Superior Homes began using Larson products.

"It certainly started as a customer-vendor relationship," Beinhorn said. "Business growth and diversity is what we were looking for."

Larson Manufacturing, which produces storm doors and windows, employs 700 in Brookings and 1,500 nationwide. Since 2005, it has bought three businesses that have contributed to the company's growth, Beinhorn said.

Superior Homes' ready-built structures are sold as houses, classrooms, offices and hotels to customers and dealers throughout the Midwest. the Watertown manufacturer's business model and employees, about 80 in all, will remain in place, said Allen Gordon, chief executive officer of Superior Homes.

"This is a very good fit for us and our company, and I think Larson is looking forward to the diversity our company can provide," Gordon said.

Larson is interested in a long term presence in Watertown. The company's ownership will provide greater financial stability for Superior Homes, Gordon said.

to improve efficiency, Larson Manufacturing and Superior Homes plan to take advantage of one another;s resources.

The acquisition probably won't create more jobs in Brookings, but it should strengthen Larson's business, said Al Heuton, director of the Brookings Economic Development Corp. The manufacturer, which moved its headquarters to Brookings in 1964, is one of the town's largest employers.

"I think any investment they make in the region is good for the region and, in turn, good for Brookings," Heuton said.

Larson's acquisition on Superior Homes became effective July 20.


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