May 5, 2015

Building a Family Business With Morton

Stokes Homestead Farm Market is settled in the small unincorporated area of Grand Junction, Mich., less than 15 miles from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. In addition to the farm market, the property also includes a long list of festivals, events and activities that has made it a community institution every spring, summer and autumn.

Proprietors Roger and Kim have a history with Morton Buildings that covers nearly two decades. The couple first heard about Morton through a friend and built a frozen packing plant in 1998 for their trademark blueberries. Over the years, they added to their growing collection of Morton buildings with a support facility for the frozen packing plant, a fresh packing plant, a workshop, a three-car garage and an equipment storage facility.

Six buildings, all Morton buildings.

“This building, the farm market … is our seventh Morton building,” Kim explained of the 60’W x 13’H x 100’L gem surrounded by Morton’s red Hi-Rib steel. It was built in 2012 by a Morton construction crew from Three Rivers, Mich. “We felt this was the right answer to go with Morton again.”

Built over a full basement at more than 7,000 square feet overall, the farm market is the crown jewel of the expansive operation. The structure is overflowing with Morton’s industry-leading features, including cupolas with windows for natural light, dormers and a wrap-around porch that is 10 feet wide on three sides of the building. The custom features provide a comfortable atmosphere for customers that Kim desired.

“We want to make it feel really comfortable where people want to find a place to come and relax and hang out with friends and family. We expressed that to our sales rep and to the folks at Morton that that’s what we were looking to do. That’s the feel we wanted and they were able to assist us with that very nicely.”

While the exterior look of the building has made the farm market a hit in Grand Junction, the interior of the market is also aesthetically pleasing.

“When you walk into the building, you see the (trusses) and they’re big and they’re beautiful,” Kim boasted. “We have the metal on the ceiling that they had put there up for us … it just adds something unique and old-fashioned and beautiful when you leave those (trusses) exposed.”

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With fresh produce in such a large structure, climate control can be an obvious concern. Morton’s Energy Performer insulation package, long known for its ability to battle hot, humid summers and bitter cold winters, has delivered efficiency to calm any of the family’s concerns.

“We have three furnaces because of the size of the building and three cooling units. They do a great job at doing what they need to do and that’s all due in part to the insulation. Every one of our buildings is insulated very well. It’s one of the things that we never have to worry about on the insulation that they put in.”

Roger and Kim have known for years what many traditional Morton customers are quickly learning: Morton’s experienced team of project managers, construction estimators, drafting technicians and construction coordinators provides custom state-of-the-art commercial buildings for a wide variety of purposes, including restaurants, office buildings and retail facilities.

“Each time when we would discuss adding on another project, it just became more and more evident, even if we may have turned to look at a few other builders to see which way we wanted to go, we would always come back to Morton,” Kim said of her family’s shared legacy with Morton. “Just because of all the service they had given us and all the good work. They stand behind what they do. It’s just been a great experience all around.”

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If history proves to repeat itself, Roger and Kim probably won’t stop at seven Morton buildings.

“If we were to put up another building – and it is something we are thinking about in the future for cold storage – it would definitely be a Morton building. The (construction) crew, the professionalism of all of them, the sales people that we’ve dealt with have been wonderful. It’s just a good experience.”

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