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Willmar, Minn., business prepares for groundbreaking on major building project

The new location at 1408 Willmar Ave. SE, in between the former Old Home Bakery Store and Independence Place. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

A long-time Willmar business will break ground for a new building Friday.

R&J Tours, currently located off Highway 71 near Robbins Island Park, will be located at 1408 Willmar Ave. SE, in between the former Old Home Bakery Store and Independence Place.

"We've outgrown our space," owner Ralph Engel said. "We sold this building and are building a new building that will have plenty of space for us plus additional area to lease."

R&J Tours' new building will be approximately 6,000 square feet. The cost of the total building project is expected to be about $800,000. TerWisscha Construction, Inc. will oversee the project.

"The new building will have more space and more individual offices for our employees with doors that can close," Engel said. "No more cubicles with partitions we put up ourselves. We'll have a nice conference area, a nice break area."

The project has been in the works since Engel and his wife Jan started talking about building in a new location in fall 2012. In early 2013, the Engels sold the building to Hansen Advertising, which already rented space in the building. Once the building sold, the Engels purchased the property on Willmar Avenue.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at 1408 Willmar Ave. SE. Construction is expected to begin the first week of June, weather permitting, with the completion date tentatively set for late October.

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