"Bart has walked through the changes with us and has made it a really enjoyable experience. He is a quality builder. He listens to our ideas and gives us his perspective. If it's possible, he'll make it happen."
By Ryan Bentley, News-Review Staff Writer
With roots as a one-man logging business, Northern Michigan Hardwoods has blossomed through the past quarter century into a considerably larger company.
And soon, the lumber and hardwood flooring producer will sprout a new branch along U.S. 31 South where it can store and sell its wares.
Northern Michigan Hardwoods' new sales location, which Colwell-Wangeman Construction is constructing at 5783 Charlevoix Ave., is slated for a grand opening sometime around Thanksgiving.
"We're putting more emphasis on local sales, and that requires road visibility," said Northern Michigan Hardwoods president Phil Manthei.
The new building includes 15,000 square feet of floor space, 5,000 of which will be devoted to sales. This is about triple the sales area currently available at the company's Manthei Road site.
Showroom space at the front of the new location will feature examples of flooring, kitchen cabinetry and millwork from hardwoods.
"The basic idea in here is to replicate a house, so people can see what their house could look like and get some ideas," said Seth Manthei, Phil's son and the new location's manager-to-be.
The building also will feature office space and a cash-and-carry sales area for contractors. Racks toward the back of the building will provide storage for molding, millwork and lumber.
Northern Michigan Hardwoods will keep landscaping and mulch products outdoors at the back of the property.
Now employing about 24 people, the hardwoods company has expanded through the years to include a sawmill, forestry crew, dry kiln and molding department along with its showroom/gift shop.
"The hardwoods in Northern Michigan, especially the maple and the oak, are known in other parts of the nation and really the world as the finest there is," Phil Manthei said. "Our weather here offers an ideal growing climate for hardwood. We also harvest sustainably, which means we harvest in a way that enables the forests to grow healthier and stronger trees during the next growing cycle. And what is not used in our manufacturing is the double-ground into landscape mulch which is purchased by landscapers and homeowners throughtout Northern Michigan. Even the sawdust is not wasted."
Phil Manthei spoke favorably of Colwell-Wangeman's involvement in his company's building project. As at Northern Michigan Hardwoods, a second generation of family is getting involved in the Petoskey commercial construction firm's ownership.
"It has been a pleasure working with Bart (Wangeman)," Manthei said. "For us, this expansion has been a work in progress, just like the last 25 years. Our growth has been in stages and building this facility on U.S. 31 is another step in that growth. Bart has walked through the changes with us and has made it a really enjoyable experience. He is a 'quality' builder. He listens to our ideas and gives us his perspective. If it's possible, he'll make it happen. I say all this because this is what we have in common - both our our organizations work hard to provide clients what they want, offering quality products as well as friendly, accommodating service."
Ryan Bentley can be contacted at 439-9392, or email@example.com