Fred Hicks started Winnebago Manufacturing in 1950 with the name of Hicks Repair. The business was a farm repair and blacksmith type shop. It was located on Hwy 169 in downtown Winnebago, Minnesota.
Cecil Jones, Ray Stifimer, and Al Thisius purchased the company in 1957 and changed the name to Winnebago Manufacturing Company. Cecil Jones also started companies in Mankato with the names of Jones Metal Products, Kato Engineering, KatoLight Corporation, and Ka-Win. Because of this association, Winnebago also did OEM work for these companies along with farm repair.
In 1986 ownership was taken over by the husbands of Cecil Jones’s daughters (Tom Richards and Lyle Jacobson). They both were managing other companies at the same time. Lyle was with KatoLight and Tom was with Jones Metal Products.
Because of growth, the company moved to a larger building in the town of Blue Earth, Minnesota in June of 1987. This is where the company is currently located. The building was originally built by HollyPark Homes in the 1970’s. The building has 58,944 square feet located within 12 acres and has large open areas and substantial ceiling height. This is important with material handling of large parts, weldments and assemblies. The building was shared with Custom Foods until 1993, and then Winnebago acquired the entire building.
During the 1990’s the company moved more to OEM and job shop work with less farm repair. Flame cutting parts for many of the local companies was a big part of the business.
In May of 1999, the company changed ownership to Bob Preston, Daryle Pomranke, and third party. At the time, Daryle was the President and Bob was the Vice President and Sales Manager.
In 2004, Bob and Daryle purchased the third party shares.
Daryle purchased Bob Preston’s shares in 2012 and is now the sole owner of the company.