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Published May 15, 2013, 09:12 AM

North Dakota pasta plant to restart production

CANDO, N.D. (AP) — The former Noodles by Leonardo plant in Cando will start producing pasta again next week after six months of closed doors.

CANDO, N.D. (AP) — The former Noodles by Leonardo plant in Cando will start producing pasta again next week after six months of closed doors.

The facility is now owned by Cando Pasta LLC, a partnership of local businessmen Jim and Bruce Gibbens and two other investors. The plant should have as many as 20 employees later this month and as many as 40 by next year. They'll make elbow macaroni or pasta shells and package them for other brands, the Grand Forks Herald reported. Most of the recent hires are former employees.

"That's a big deal in Cando," said Jim Gibbens, who also serves as president of the Towner County Economic Development Commission and is a former mayor of the northeastern North Dakota town of about 1,100 people.

Cousins Jim and Bruce Gibbens, a Cando attorney, also are partners in a 12,000-acre grain farm and a hog operation near the town. The others, Bruce Satrom, of Colgate, and Steve Johnson, of Page, also are partners in Abbiamo Pasta Co. Abbiamo, which is Italian for "we have," is building a plant in Casselton.

Satrom also is involved with Bektrom Foods, a food manufacturer with facilities in the North Dakota cities of Michigan and Fargo.

The Noodles by Leonardo plant, founded by Twin Cities businessman Leonard Gasparre, had about 225 employees at its peak in 1989. It employed about 30 when it closed last October.

Gasparre died in 2011. His family consolidated operations in Cando about a year ago and sold the Devils Lake plant to Ultra Green Packaging, a Minnesota-based company that makes biodegradable plates and other food service products. Ultra Green is gearing up to start production this summer in Devils Lake.

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