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Pulp business may add 65 jobs in Devils Lake

A prototype of BioFiber planting cups on display during the meeting Thursday at Devils Lake City Hall. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

DEVILS LAKE — A startup pulp product business based in Wisconsin is in the early stages of setting up shop in Devils Lake.

Bio Fiber LLC made a lease proposal to the city in December and now is in the process of purchasing equipment before moving into the industrial park on the city's west side, said Rachel Lindstrom, executive director of Forward Devils Lake.

Lindstrom said the company plans to make garden supply products such as gardening pots and mats. Eventually, it also may produce other pre-manufactured wood products, she said.

The company will be taking over the 125,000-square-foot precast building vacated about two years ago by UltraGreen. That company was another pulp company, which used straw-type materials and bamboo to produce paper supply products such as plates and pizza trays.

"I think anytime there's a new business coming to town it gets people excited about the possibilities," Lindstrom said. "And especially since this is an industrial, primary sector-based business, we are excited about the possibilities it holds for the future."

Lindstrom said Bio Fiber expects to employ about 25 workers for the first shift, and be up to 45 and 65 workers, respectively, after adding second and third shifts within 18 months of operation.

Lindstrom did not immediately have details of the potential economic impact for the city. She said Devils Lake likely will see some action in the industrial park over the summer, but she did not know a date certain for the company to begin operations.

Forward Devils Lake is the economic development corporation for the city of Devils Lake and Ramsey County.