Here's a flick of information about Bic
Dear Answer Man, on a recent visit to Red Wing, I noticed that Bic owns a plant on the north side of the city. What do they make there? Pens? — Susan
The Norwood Bic Graphic plant at 5151 Moundview Drive, along U.S. 61 on Red Wing's north side, is operated by BIC Advertising and Promotional Products, a division of BIC USA Inc., and it makes and imprints all kinds of promotional products under contract. For example, if I wanted to sell high-quality pens with Answer Man emblazoned on the side, I might place an order at Norwood Bic.
Bic bought what was formerly Norwood Promotional Products in 2009, expanded the building by 40,000 square feet and added about a hundred employees. At last report, upwards of 600 people worked there. I called the Red Wing plant as well as home office in Florida to learn whether they make pens in Red Wing, but the company wasn't forthcoming with details.
For your information, Bic was founded in France in 1945 and began doing business in the U.S. in '58, when it acquired Waterman Pen company. Bic is a shorter, snappier form of co-founder Marcel Bich's name.
Where does Norwood Bic stand, among Red Wing's biggest employers? Excellent question, if I do say so myself. This is from the Port Authority of Red Wing; the data is a few years old, but Randy Olson, the port's executive director, said Monday he believes the numbers haven't changed much:
Treasure Island casino and hotel: 1,500
Red Wing Shoe Co.: 817
Fairview Red Wing Medical Center: 780
Xcel Energy, operator of Prairie Island nuclear power plant: 750
Norwood Bic: 525
Red Wing school district: 500
DBI Capital Safety: 400
Express Services: 185
SB Foot Tanning Co., 166
Fairview Seminary Home: 115
St. James Hotel: 105
Riedell Shoes: 84