Hard Work Pays Off
Minnesota Exteriors, Inc. adds new commercial division
Minnesota Exteriors, Inc. has set down deep roots, growing multigenerational connections and a legacy of tradition and trust, and now it has expanded these roots into commercial through a new company, Minnesota Exteriors Commercial, LLC. Family businesses thrive when they offer long-standing service to their customers, build a sense of togetherness, embrace an endurance mindset, develop a legacy of leadership and clearly define succession, giving new generations the opportunity to learn and layer in time-tested skillsets with technology and innovations. Such is the heritage of the Minnesota Exteriors name.
Minnesota Exteriors Branches Into Commercial
Family-owned and operated since 1948, Minnesota Exteriors, Inc. has formed lasting, generation-spanning connections in the residential sector, establishing a culture of gratitude and service from the outset toward the community of customers, employees and subcontractors in and around the Twin Cities. With the recent launch of its commercial company, Minnesota Exteriors Commercial, the organization is poised to extend its expertise and talent into exciting new territory. Its reputation as a go-to resource for residential construction, remodeling and distribution has provided a solid foundation for the new commercial business to build on and prosper. And, with the introduction of commercial, it’s bringing some familiar faces into the new company.
Commercial Sales Representative Doug Cousins has been in construction since 1987, and part of the Minnesota Exteriors team for two decades. Within the last year, he’s focused his talents on growing Minnesota Exteriors Commercial, bringing three decades of construction expertise and strong client relationships into this component of the business.
“What’s made the last 20 years enjoyable for me is that the family of Minnesota Exteriors listens to employees at all levels of the company,” Doug says. “Most of the changes that we make are from customer responses and employees’ ideas. We listen to our customers, and meet once a week on all projects, potential and current. We all meet together—team members, the company president, job superintendents and sales staff. We don’t always agree, but we find solutions that are best suited for our customers.”
A Customer-Centric Approach
Doug is part of a tenured team that includes Sales and Marketing Manager Scott Hansen, Commercial Sales Representative John Geis and Sales Support Representative Cassie Guzzo.
Together, their customer-centric approach has complemented the reputation of this family business, whether it’s finding solutions to fit budgets and design, or partnering with clients to understand the vision of the job. These are relationships built on-site, on the job, in the office, over the phones and at special events with clients.
“Most of the customers and developers that the division serves are friends from over many years,” Doug says. “We’ve developed friendships and teamed with companies. We’ve signed over a million dollars in contracts with these companies and we’re excited to start working together in commercial. That’s what makes it so enjoyable—the company allows us to go out and expand our business and build a good team experience along the way.”
Better Solutions from the Experts
“We love it when clients come to us because they’re looking for our expertise,” Scott says. “A lot of contractors stick with new construction or remodeling. Clients appreciate that we do both. And with our distribution/supplier partnerships, we’re able to negotiate pricing effectively on a wider range of materials. We buy very aggressively and pass the savings on to our customers.”
He continues, “We did an apartment building in St. Michael, Minnesota, and the siding that was specified wouldn’t work with the aluminum trims. The general contractor relied on us to come up with a solution for it. We recommended a different siding product to go with the trim that fit the design of the building. That comes from having distribution capability built into our company. It’s ingrained. Other companies often aren’t as familiar with the full depth and breadth of products on the market.” “That happens quite a bit,” Doug adds. “Clients look to us for better solutions.”
Even competitors have come into the company’s distribution center to see what’s available and ask for guidance from the team.
“We have a lot of competitors come into our office looking at our distribution side and asking us for our opinion and how to find certain products, and that’s unique,” John says. “We’re one of the few companies in the metroplex that has an unbiased opinion on materials. A lot of other companies lock onto one brand or manufacturer. In our case, we’re focused on what type of product suits the project, instead of forcing a product onto a customer. Our customers feel like we come in with an open mind and unbiased opinion and an educational approach instead of a sales pitch.”
“We are a true independent installer and distributor not beholden to any manufacturer,” Scott adds. “And we don’t just do work in the Twin Cities. We reach out to greater Minnesota. We recently had a ski-in, ski-out resort project with the Caribou Highlands Lodge on Lake Superior. They turned to us because they didn’t trust the local companies to do the work and because they wanted to get it done in a timely manner.”
Clearly, the organization’s reputation extends beyond the Twin Cities. Clients and customers know that Minnesota Exteriors has done quality work from installation to distribution. Now that same peace of mind is extended to Minnesota Exteriors Commercial. And it has the awards to prove it. Thanks to Doug’s expertise, the company has won many Trillium Awards through a local builders association for work in cooperation with a builder, installer and supplier. And John’s leadership led to a company award for Best Exterior project last year in the Twin Cities, which was a commercial remodel project voted on by the Minnesota Multi Housing Association. “That’s one of the things that attracted me,” Scott says. “I wanted to work for a company that’s a leader in its field.”
A Culture of Gratitude, a System for Support
According to Scott, each member of the commercial team is valued for who they are and what they bring to the company, and everyone is inspired by one another and the work they do.
“There’s a family aspect of the culture here,” Scott says. “You’re not on your own. There’s support up and down the company. Everyone has a vested interest in making this company better and we are always striving to make the future better than today. Cassie, for example, has been crucial to the internal support of the commercial division. She’s the one behind the scenes making sure things get done.”
The focus on talent and togetherness is the platform for recruiting and retaining staff at Minnesota Exteriors Commercial. And that perspective has led to a multifamily workforce. Many employees, including Scott, John and Cassie, have family members who work for the firm.
“We do a lot of official and unofficial events, customer appreciation days and off-site activities,” Scott says. “We think of it as commonplace. It seems to kind of just happen. That’s the special thing, it just happens.”
“This company is owned by a group of brothers, and a lot of emphasis is on family throughout the company,” John adds. “There are a lot of kids and brothers and moms and daughters.”
This mentality is the result of the planning, work and growth that was done previously by Minnesota Exteriors, Inc. over the past 70+ years. There are new roads, new clients, new projects and challenges ahead—but it’s clear that the Minnesota Exteriors family of companies will continue to honor their foundational values and tradition of excellence for many years to come.