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10-09-2003, 09:08 PM
Saint Paul (MN) Pioneer Press:


Crash derails Maud Borup chocolate inventory

Pioneer Press
Posted on Thu, Oct. 09, 2003

Willy Wonka never had to deal with anything like this.

A train car going 60 miles per hour derailed and destroyed the warehouse at Maud Borup's chocolate
factory early Tuesday morning in Perham, Minn., a farm town about 170 miles northwest of the Twin

Although 20 employees were in the adjacent factory at the time, none of them was in the warehouse
and no one was hurt.

"If it had been a day earlier or a day later, there would have been eight people in there packaging
candy," said Kim Kalan, who owns the business with her brother-in-law, Mark.

And if she hadn't asked Mark to pick up a latte for their hard-working factory manager, Mark
wouldn't have been a few minutes late to work. Instead of arriving there just after the train car
hit, he would have been checking inventory in the warehouse.

Shortly after it happened Tuesday, Mark Kalan was visibly shaken and uncertain about what would
happen to the business.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "We do about 80 percent of our business in the
fourth quarter."

But things looked a little better Wednesday as the company vowed to stay in business.

"I'm just hoping our customers will stick with us through this," said Kim Kalan. She hopes for an
increase in orders from local companies that give out boxes of Maud Borup candies as gifts to
clients and employees.

Maud Borup, the candy shop that started in downtown St. Paul in 1907, has stores on St. Paul's Grand
Avenue and at Calhoun Square and Gaviidae Common in Minneapolis.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad train that hit the warehouse was heading for the Twin
Cities from Dilworth when apparently a wheel broke on an empty car. The car No. 23 in a 53-car
two-locomotive train jumped the tracks and raced along the corridor's rock lining for two blocks
before smashing into the warehouse.

The impact of the crash ripped open the 18,000-square-foot building "like a can opener," said Kim
Kalan. The force of the impact popped off workers' hairnets and sent employees sprawling, she said.

"We had a forklift in the warehouse that we still can't find," she said. And who knows what happened
to the chocolate-covered caramels, the marshmallow chocolates and the apricot-caramel "Barbara"

The car severed a natural-gas line when it hit the warehouse, and dozens of people were evacuated
from City Hall and nearby businesses. The railroad is investigating the cause of the incident.

As for the chocolate-covered choo-choo well, the time of day and week of the wreckage couldn't
have been better, but the time of year couldn't have been worse.

Maud Borup's warehouse had about two months' worth of inventory ready to ship to its largest
customers, including Marshall Field's, Caribou Coffee and Borders Bookstores. The lost inventory and
production time mean the company will miss out on some $500,000 in Christmas sales, about a third of
this year's sales.

Since it will take a few weeks to gear up production again, the 20 or so employees at the factory
will be out of jobs for a while. And since Maud Borup's entire inventory was lost in the wreckage,
its three Twin Cities stores will close in two weeks or so, once their in-store inventory is sold
off, and the 20 or so employees who work at them will be jobless for a while. The stores probably
won't reopen until early November, Kim Kalan said.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads has offered to cover what Maud Borup's business-interruption
insurance doesn't, Kim Kalan said. The city of Perham, where Maud Borup moved its factory about 1
years ago, offered to help find new warehouse space, clean up the site and finance the new
operations. The company leases the building from Kenny Nelson, who owns Tuffy's Pet Foods in Perham.

Meanwhile, Kim Kalan, at home in Brooklyn Center on Wednesday with 3-month-old daughter Grace, is
feeling better. When Mark called to tell her about the wreck, she at first thought he was kidding
and then "just started bawling." She called her husband and then her parents, but she had trouble
communicating what had happened.

"By the time my parents got to my house, they had determined the garage door had come off the tracks
and fell on the baby," she said.

The candy company moved its production facility from St. Paul to Perham in part to help the rural
economy. The company also owns Nelson's Confections, a candy manufacturer and wholesaler.


Maud Borup Chocolates will be available for retail and corporate in time for the holidays.

Maud Borup stores will stay open over the next two weeks, close until the manufacturing facility
is up and running again, then reopen in early November.

Customers can call in holiday orders at 651-488-0765.

This story contains material from Associated Press. Jim McCartney can be reached at
<mailto:jmccartney@pioneerpress.com> or 651-228-5436.

2003 Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

10-09-2003, 09:57 PM
:x all the chocolate!

good thin no one was hurt :)