Former DQ Leader May Buy Faribault Woolen Mills

Onetime-International Dairy Queen CEO Chuck Mooty and his cousin, Paul Mooty, have told Faribault officials that they are interested in buying the facility and reopening it as a woolen mill-but the current owner wants the City of Faribault to forgive $72,000 in utility bills first.

The former CEO of International Dairy Queen has indicated interest in purchasing and reopening the iconic Faribault Woolen Mills.

Chuck Mooty couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday morning. But Faribault City Administrator Charles Whiting told Twin Cities Business that Mooty and his cousin, Paul Mooty, have spoken to city officials about their interest in the 145-year-old facility.

“It looks promising,” Whiting said in a phone interview. “The community has always wanted to see the Woolen Mills [back] in operation.”

The Faribault Daily News reported that the Mootys are looking to finalize the purchase as soon as possible-possibly by the end of this week-and the Mootys told the newspaper that they intend to ramp up production as soon as possible, maybe by late summer. Even limited production would mean 40 jobs, according to the Faribault Daily News.

“Anytime you're talking 40 to 50 jobs, that's pretty good for a community of our size,” Whiting said. Faribault has approximately 23,000 residents.

Although the sale could be imminent, it's contingent on the Faribault City Council approving a request made by the property's current owner, FWF Fund One, LLC, which wants about $72,000 in utility bills forgiven. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday. Whiting said that city officials are also in discussions with the Mootys about tax credits that they may be eligible for because of the historic nature of the building.

Faribault Woolen Mills was once the nation's largest manufacturer of wool blankets, employing more than 150 workers. It closed in 2009 after operating for several years on $575,000 in state and local loans.

Chuck Mooty first joined Dairy Queen in 1987. He worked his way up the ladder and eventually became president and CEO in 2001-positions that he held until stepping down in 2008. He told the Faribault Daily News that he's been looking for a new project since.

The Woolen Mills reportedly fit the bill. “We wanted to look at something that could be part of a legacy,” Chuck Mooty, who has three children, told the newspaper.