The 112-year-old insurance firm has hired Amcon Construction tobegin the new facility along Highway 610, Kusch says. The companydoesn't have to be located Downtown to be viable, he says. "Wewanted a home office that we could actually call home. We've beenaround a long time, but there's no real reason for us to beDowntown, the suburbs offer a lot more flexibility and there's noreal need to incur the Downtown costs."

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He says he's not sure how much he pays per month for his currentlease, which is up in October, but that the firm will eventuallysave money when it isn't paying rent. Also, the second buildingshould help bring in revenue, Kusch says. "It's going to depend onwhat the market bears for when we will build the second facility,we're trying to get a read on the markets now. We're hoping tobuild the other building within the next five years," he says.

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The firm's 110 employees are "shoe-horned in" the current space,Kusch says. The new building will better accommodate space needs,he says, but he doesn't see hiring more employees. "We've madequite an investment in technology, which helps us do the jobbetter," Kusch says.

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The company was established in 1896 when a group of farmers fromAustin, MN organized the Farmers United Township Mutual HallAssociation of Minnesota in order to provide crop hail and laterfarm windstorm insurance. The firm moved from Austin to DowntownMinneapolis in 1914. Kusch says the company's revenue has increasedfrom $50 million in 2002 to $80 million in 2007. The firm hasrecently begun concentrating more on commercial coverage, hesays.

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