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With economic turnabround, Red Wing Shoe brings back second shift

RED WING - With an economic turnaround, Red Wing Shoe Co. announced Tuesday it will bring back its second shift at Plant 2 in the Red Wing Industrial Park sometime in early summer and is looking to hire 80 new workers.

Company officials say there's been a turnaround in the market and sales for work boots are doing better than expected.

"We are very encouraged by this positive trend and believe this investment in adding new employees is the right course of action," Dave Murphy, president and chief operating officer, said in a press release.

In addition to the 80-fulltime workers the Shoe is looking to hire, the company also wants to hire seasonal workers for the summer.

The Shoe cut Plant 2's second shift in November. The decision was prompted by a long lull in demand for work boots related to the downturn in the construction market. The company also closed its plant in Danville, Ky.

The company avoided layoffs at Plant 2 by offering early retirement packages to senior employees and incorporating second-shift workers into the first shift.

The Shoe's announcement is certainly good news for Red Wing, said Vicki Koehn, business service specialist with the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employment Development.

Other local businesses may also find opportunities to add jobs over the next year, Koehn said, as the economy recovers. But those gains in employment will likely be much smaller than the Shoe's, she said, as many employers remain cautious.