A Thriving Environment
The City of Antigo has demonstrated the ability to effectively engage in a competitive economic development environment. Its foundation for business development and growth include a well-educated workforce, expansion of existing business, managed economic development, and a safe and healthy environment.
In addition to eight financial institutions with assets exceeding $325 million Antigo offers a revolving loan fund, industrial and hospital revenue bond financing and public improvement (lease-purchase) loans. With over 30 industrial firms located and expanding in the area, such assistance has clearly met with favorable response.
The city is strategically located only 30 miles east of I-39/US-51 and 80 miles west of I-43 and Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport. The municipality’s own airport provides charter, fuel, maintenance and tie down services and several motor freight firms serve local business and industry.
Strong & Growing
The city operates a 100-acre industrial park that houses many firms but several firms are located on private property within the city limits and on its borders. Of those firms, a dozen employ over 100 people and four either equal or exceed 150 employees.
Included among the products produced are gears, cargo handlers, farm machinery, plastic mesh produce bags, ergonometric equipment, flooring, lumber cores for veneer, wood shavings, wooden pallets, specialty wood products, interior plank paneling, cheese and steel piers.
Of particular national and international note are Sheldon’s, Inc., which produces the world famous Mepps fishing lures and Robbins, Inc. located in nearby White Lake, which is the world’s largest producer of NBA basketball floors.
Langlade County fields 132,000 acres of farmland, keeping one of Antigo’s historic and mainstay industries thriving. Potato growers produce 3.5 million cwt. annually and milk producers accumulate a yearly total of over 125 million pounds of milk annually. Other principal crops include corn, oats, winter wheat and snap beans.
One of the more unique farming ventures involves growth of hydroponic tomatoes grown in chemically enriched water in a computer-controlled environment, pollinated by imported bees from Holland.
A sampling of the Antigo area’s industrial base presents an accurate and appealing sense of the excellent work force and pro-active municipal response that awaits interested businesses and industries and keeps current firms here.
The Antigo Cheese Company, formed by employees has demonstrated why bright prospects await businesses and industry that consider making the Antigo area home.
Kretz Lumber Company
Kretz Lumber Company, in existence for 75 years, has grown to include a sawmill, 13 dry kilns, a dimension plant, veneer operation and truck brokerage woodland realty divisions. Now employee owned after years of equally successful operation under current president Dan Kretz, the firm has remained on the cutting edge of tree-harvesting and woods product production while winning the 2002 Wisconsin Manufactures & Commerce Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2001 National Hardwood Lumber Association Forest Stewardship Award.
Kretz Lumber Co., Inc. produces 4/4 Northern Hardwood lumber from a variety of species, resulting in 15 million board feet of green lumber annually and 10 million feet in its dry kilns. Its Veneer Division also buys three to four million board feet of veneer logs each year.
Excellent stewards of the forest, the company constantly works to reduce waste and productively use the resources it harvests, utilizing bark, chips, sawdust and grindings for various products. It also includes a state-of-the-art dimension plant that utilizes wood components to produce high quality hardwood and softwood maple parts for industrial applications, furniture, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, flooring, butcher block, door rails and stiles, glue edged panels and more.
As much as Kretz quality is a result of experience and technology, having mastered the process of drying and conditioning lumber to become known as industry leaders, employees are its most important resource.
President Troy Brown notes, “Yes, relative to the lumber, we deal with what the world is beginning to recognize as an important resource. But without question, our most essential resource is our people.”
Nationally known for its cheese that includes superior flavors of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago in various forms, the thriving company that employs over 100 people in Antigo along with another 40 at the sister facility it owns in Blackfoot, Idaho, has won numerous awards over the years. Most recently the American Cheese Society awarded Antigo Cheese Company’s Stravecchio Parmesan first place at the 22nd Annual Cheese competition in July 2005.
Among them are the Wisconsin State Fair 1st place Governors Sweepstakes for hard style Italian cheese, First Place National Cheese Makers Contest, the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award for emerging companies for 1996 along with the 1998 special award for Community, Business and Employee partnerships and was named ESOP company of the year by the State ESOP association in 2003.