AP NEWS

Wieser Concrete launches $1.5M expansion in Portage

December 29, 2018

Wieser Concrete is undergoing its fourth major expansion since it opened in Portage nearly 25 years ago.

The business launched a $1.5 million expansion in November that will add 20,000 square feet of production space, 1,200 square feet of office space and create 5-10 new jobs.

“We’ll have three and a half times more space compared to our opening in 1994,” said Andy Wieser, who operates the business with his brothers, Mark Wieser and Dan Wieser.

It deals in precast concrete, including more than 60 models of septic tanks, various agricultural products, highway products and other custom structures and also provides installation for many of its products, Mark Wieser said. Extra space allows the company to put in new machines for rebar fabrication.

The city of Portage approved the expansion in November and the Wieser brothers anticipate its completion in mid-March. Their father, Joe Wieser, established the company in Maiden Rock in 1965, where it is still operational, and then retired in 1999. The family business has additional plant locations in Menomonie, Fond du Lac and Roxana, Illinois.

Their Portage plant currently has 45 full-time employees.

“When you consider our yardage expansions, as well, we’ve expanded even more than four or five times,” said Andy Wieser, who estimated their Portage production, storage and office space at a combined 75,000 square feet — up from the 20,000 square feet it started with in 1994.

City Administrator Shawn Murphy said Wieser’s latest expansion shows Portage continues to be a premier spot for manufacturing businesses.

“They’re another longtime business that has grown steadily and incrementally in Portage. We’re happy that they’ve continued to make Portage their home,” he said.

Wieser is among three manufacturing companies whose expansions were recently approved by the city, Murphy said. Dawn Foods will soon add 34,000 square feet of space — doubling the size of its current facility — and it will increase its workforce from about 50 total employees to 90 or more.

The microencapsulation company Encapsys, meanwhile, is planning to add 20,000 square feet of space for storage and production, creating about five new jobs in its third major expansion in six years, Murphy said.

Wieser Concrete delivered product to 29 states in 2017 — its drivers covering a total distance of 329,000 miles, according to a fact sheet provided by the business. The company still pours some of the molds Joe Wieser built nearly five decades ago and today has seven third-generation employees. For nearly 20 years, it has conducted continuing education courses at its plants for septic plumbers, installers and pumpers and provides yearly Mine Safety and Health Administration certification classes, according to the literature.

“We really want to thank the city of Portage for their cooperation and the people of Portage for making this a great location for us,” Andy Wieser said. “Our presence here has been a win-win.”

Mark Wieser attributed their success in Portage to good employees who seemingly stick with the company because they value working for a family business. “Our expansion is really a testament to those who’ve been with us through the years and made it grow,” he said.

The company will likely hold an open house once the expansion is completed.