Thursday, May 17, 2012


The famed Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, home to the last performances of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, is a renowned museum and home of the annual Winter Dance Party. And now, the Surf Ballroom overlooks Three Stars Plaza, a permanent tribute to the three, which features a one-of-a-kind sculpture that was created by local metal fabricator, Steve Sukup of Sukup Manufacturing. The eye-catching structure is a stack of records on a spindle (for those of us who remember those!). The 1500 lb center supports three neon-lit “records” made from 7 gauge stainless steel, laser cut and TIG welded. The Three Stars Plaza story, from Fabricator magazine, can be seen here.


Naturally, we talk about Wisconsin a lot, but we’ve got some fine customers in surrounding states, too. So it was great to read this ‘good news’ on manufacturing growth in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Manufacturing activity in the Midwest strengthened in April, according to a survey of supply managers, reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Business Conditions Index for Minnesota and a nine-state region climbed to 60 from 58.6 in March. (Above 50 indicates expansion.)
“Despite higher energy prices, manufacturers, particularly those tied to international markets and agriculture, expanded "briskly" for the month, said Ernie Goss, a professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who conducts the survey. In Minnesota, as in past months, durable goods manufacturers such as metal producers are growing, even as nondurable producers, such as food processors, are registering no growth.”
For the state, the index climbed to 61 from March's 56.7. In addition to upturns in hiring, manufacturers and non-manufacturers are increasing the hours their employees are working, Goss said.