Not baaahd: Revived Faribault Woolen Mill celebrating 150 years


The closing of the Faribault Woolen Mill in 2009 came as a shock to town on the Cannon River.

But from today's perspective it looks like only a hiatus for a business that's back on all fours and celebrating its 150th anniversary Saturday, beginning with a Running of the Sheep event.

It's been quite a ride for the company that started when the Civil War was ending. A century later it was in its heyday – making the majority of the blankets sold in the U.S., according to a timeline on its webpage.

It was the fifth-generation owner of the plant, Tom Klemer, who made the difficult decision to close it in '09.

Once it was shuttered, it became clear that the mill had an important place in Faribault's heart, as well as its wallet.

" target="_blank">The Star Tribune describes how 42-year employee Dennis Melchert not only gave tours of the plant to potential buyers, but also rigged up a line of funnels and drains to prevent water damage from a leaky roof, chased away pigeons and people who were staying there, and even ran the machinery occasionally to keep it from seizing up.

It was Twin Cities attorney Paul Mooty and his cousin Chuck who purchased the plant and the Faribault Woolen Mill name in 2011 and spent millions on upgrades.

Hence the reference on the company's website to its "new" mill that was built in 1890.

Faribault's mill is one of the few in the country that does all of the processing – from raw wool to finished product – under one roof.

Its new anniversary line includes blankets, throws, scarves and pillows, all named after Minnesota towns and landmarks, Minnesota Monthly says.

The reopening of the mill in 2011 was a bright day in Faribault, which is still home to Tom Klemer. He tells the Star Tribune he's delighted to see the business his great-great-grandfather started is thriving again.

Next Up

Joel Eriksson Ek

Eriksson Ek's hat trick completes Wild's rally over Jets

A late review helped the Wild win their home opener.

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 8.11.35 PM

Watch: Marcus Foligno starts fight with a superman punch

Foligno was not messing around in the first period.

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

At least 1 dead after 'serious crash' on I-94 in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.


144-year-old Woolen Mill reopens in Faribault

The 144-year-old Faribault Woolen Mill closed in 2009 because of the recession. Work started back up again today at what's believed to be the only fully-integrated mill in North America -- meaning it washes, dyes and weaves wool fiber into finished products.

faribault woolen mills

Faribault Woolen Mill opening fourth retail store

The new shop is just a few blocks from Lake Minnetonka.