Local couple says exporting business in works

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Albert Lea could be home to a new business which would export cars to Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, according to business owner Sharon Astrup-Scott.

&uot;We’ve purchased 40 acres of land out by Erlandson (next to Highway 35 on County Road 46),&uot; Astrup-Scott said. &uot;We are going to build a 120,000 square foot building on that property.&uot;

The company, she said, would export cars to the eastern European nations by way of car-loading trucks, which would transport the cars to North Carolina. From there they would be shipped by sea to ports at Amsterdam, Netherlands and St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Astrup-Scott, a music teacher at Alden schools, said she and her husband, Bob Ackland, as well as two music professors from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, are business partners on the endeavor. She said they also have business partners in the three countries to which they plan to export.

The market for used American cars is large, according to Astrup-Scott. They will sell cars in the $3,000 to $10,000 price range, she said.

The company will be named the Big Red 1.

&uot;Red is symbolic for peace, and one points upward to the Lord,&uot; Astrup-Scott said. She added that the business venture is not just about financial gain, but also promoting peace and positive exchange between nations.

The start for the venture, according to Astrup-Scott, should be soon. She said the building should be up before mid-summer and that the company will have full employment by then.

The employees would perform mechanical work, load the cars and drive them to North Carolina, she said.

The company has not asked for assistance from the city, according to Astrup-Scott.

&uot;We want to do things on our own,&uot; she said.

Currently Astrup-Scott and Ackland own A&A Express Towing. She said this is the reason they chose to stay in Albert Lea.

Mayor Jean Eaton said the news of new business is good for Albert Lea.

&uot;I think it sounds very exciting,&uot; she said.

Astrup-Scott said she hopes that the business will help to fill a void in new jobs for Albert Lea residents.

&uot;I hope we can bring a lot of jobs to the community,&uot; she said.