Merrill Sheet Metal Works enters second century with Firefly Lodge
Merrill Sheet Metal Works, Inc. is celebrating 100 years of serving the Merrill area in 2013.
Even though the business has built a strong reputation over the last century, company president Kurt Wendt and his staff aren’t about to let Merrill Sheet Metal Works rest on its laurels. Beginning in the Fall of 2012, Kurt and his team added a Hearth department to Merrill Sheet Metal.
This year, they transformed the showroom at their 1204 N. Center Ave. building from a utilitarian space to a fireplace showcase. Starting on New Year’s Eve, they removed a half-wall and cut out spaces to display fireplaces. The project included electrical work, new gas lines and masonry work by Brian Oestreich. The new display space has been dubbed the Firefly Lodge.
Merrill Sheet Metal Works has become a dealer for Brownstone Distributing, a Minneapolis-based company that offers a wide variety of hearth, barbecue and outdoor products from manufacturers such as Vermont Castings and Majestic Fireplaces.
Merrill Sheet Metal Works had been servicing hearths for years but Wendt saw an opportunity to get into the sales side.
“Having a showroom is what we needed to present ourselves as a hearth dealer,” he said.
Mike Ninnemann has taken on the role of hearth sales manager for Merrill Sheet Metal Works.
Ninnemann said he’s excited about the ability to show customers a selection of the actual product.
“We want people to come here and sit and stay and talk about it and make a decision they’re going to be happy with,” he said.
For Merrill Sheet Metal Works, hearth sales is another opportunity to diversify. The core of their business has always been heating and cooling, and hearth sales is a good complement, Wendt noted.
“It’s another tool in our toolbox,” Kurt said, “another product we can offer to the homeowner.”
Merrill Sheet Metal Works offers a comprehensive service to homeowners, including air cleaners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and HRV systems in addition to furnaces and air conditioners.
In 2011, Kurt Wendt became the third generation of the Wendt family to own and run Merrill Sheet Metal. Merrill Sheet Metal Works has been in the Wendt family since 1953, when Kurt’s grandfather, Myron Wendt bought the business. Kurt’s dad, Mike Wendt, became the second generation owner of the company. Merrill Sheet Metal Works moved from its previous 123 S. Genesee St. location to its current home on Center Avenue in 2004.
Kurt credits the company’s continued success to excellent customer service and knowledge of the products.
“It’s about taking the time to talk to the homeowner about any issues they have with their home, and taking the time to do it right the first time,” Kurt said.