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Published July 12, 2012, 02:49 PM

Canadian Company 'Sweeping' More Jobs into Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - More jobs are coming to Grand Forks as a new company sweeps into the city. A Canadian-based street sweeper manufacturer is expanding to the United States and setting up shop right here in Grand Forks.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - More jobs are coming to Grand Forks as a new company sweeps into the city.

A Canadian-based street sweeper manufacturer is expanding to the United States and setting up shop right here in Grand Forks.

The Manitoba-based company, Challenger Manufacturing, is now operating a US base. The new branch, called ODRA, is in the Grand Forks Industrial Park.

"Very excited about it. Particularly the opportunity to service a company from southern Manitoba in Grand Forks. We see grand forks as a gateway to the US for companies in Manitoba," Economic Development Corp. Vice President Keith Lund said.

Aside from the proximity to Challenger's hub in Winnipeg, the expansion to Grand Forks extended the company's presence to where it does most of its business.

"85 percent of our sales annually go to the US, and because of this we wanted to have our presence in the US," Challenger Manufacturing President Mirek Byczynski said.

"Many of their clients are municipalities that are funded by the dept of transportation that have by america requirements, so a certain component of the street sweepers they sell are made in the US," Lund said.

Most of all, the move was prompted by Challenger's recent alignment with Elgin, the oldest sweeper company in the world, working with more than 100 dealers worldwide.

"It's great for us. Elgin is a really great company with a really great product, and we are glad they recognize the quality of our product and they want to sell it under their name," Byczynski said.

ODRA will be hiring an accountant, welders, shippers and office staff.

Challenger Manufacturing is in talks with companies overseas to continue its expansion, which could lead to even more production in Grand Forks and a lot more jobs.

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