By Taya Banjac
CENTERVILLE – After being located near the University of Minnesota for the past 60 years, Ruffridge Johnson Equipment Company is moving to Centerville.
A new 19,000-square-foot building will be built on a 5-acre parcel of land located on the corner of Commerce Drive and 20th Avenue South. Oppidan will be in charge of the construction.
Ruffridge-Johnson was started in Minneapolis by two men back in the 1930’s when they began selling rock crushers and other equipment needed to build streets and highways.
After World War II, the company took off and moved to its current location between the TCF Bank Stadium and Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis. But since 1956, the area surrounding the company has changed dramatically.
Ruffridge-Johnson President Jon Pederson said the company managed to get through the changes to the area such as the construction of the TCF Bank Stadium and the light rail station, but over time it became “locked in” and they started looking to move its headquarters elsewhere.
“A lot of our customers are coming from outside the area and a few of them are intimidated by driving in Minneapolis, especially to pick up or bring in equipment,” Pederson said, adding he wanted to do what was best for their customers and employees.
He said Centerville was the obvious choice: it’s outside the city, right off of Interstate 35E and gives Pederson the small-town feel he had growing up and raising his kids.
“We’re really excited about becoming a good community member up in Centerville,” Pederson said, adding the company’s 15 employees, who will all be relocating, are excited about the move as well.
Centerville City Administrator said he is happy about the move because it will be good for the community to have a successful new business.
Since the future site of Ruffridge-Johnson had been prepared for construction for a number of years prior, Oppidan will begin construction next spring. The building will take four months to build.