By Keri LanghorstFeatured in Make It Minnesota's Winter 2014 issue.
Schroeder Log Home Supplies, Inc. was started in 1986 by Gary Schroeder. Gary has a degree in Forestry and started his career working with Finnish log builders in the Grand Rapids area. After 12 years, he started his own company mostly restoring old buildings. While working in the restoration field, he discovered a shortage of supplies. So in 1986, he and his wife Kathleen started their own supply company in Grand Rapids to meet those demands.
According to Gary’s son John, the business started out with “Gary restoring, Kathleen answering phones, storing materials in a 13-foot trailer, and a 1-page catalog.” The company has grown from a one-man business to a world supplier, adding employees and warehouses. The catalog is now 52 pages. John joined the company working in customer service and marketing. His wife Stephanie works in the literature department. The company is devoted to supplying the necessary materials for quality, stunning log homes.
A log home is a work of art, a masterpiece of the construction world. It isn’t just another “cookie cutter” home in a suburb, but a building as unique as the owner. Schroeder Log Home Supplies helps customers build their dream house and preserve it. They have expanded by building distribution centers in other states at various times to meet the needs of the current building industry. The distribution centers allow customers to save time and money by cutting back on delivery costs. The current demand is strongest out of the Indiana warehouse, which also serves customers in Michigan and Ohio.
The company also prepares and ships materials to customers in Eastern Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia. One of John Schroeder’s favorite experiences with serving customers from other countries is hearing their different speech patterns. John has a background in theater and said, “Hearing customers’ foreign speech is like speaking with real-life characters.”
The Schroeder Log Home family provides information for customers who need technical support preserving their beautiful log homes. They encourage customers to ask questions, and they support customers with their knowledge and capability to discover new ideas. The extensive website is an information hub for contractors, materials, and tools, and provides a newsletter to share ideas.
The company issues a full color catalog once a year. The catalog provides questions, answers, and a list of products. John commented, “Customers are known to keep the catalogs for several years and utilize it as a source of information.” The company also advertises through their website and Facebook page.
John indicated that sun and weather cause the most problems for log home owners and people with cedar siding or decks. The sun fades the stain applied to wood materials and the rain and snow can cause rotting problems. Schroeder Log Homes is equipped with the knowledge and experience to supply their customers with strategies and products to alleviate these issues.
Schroeder Log Home Supplies, Inc. is a Minnesota-based company that “strives to meet our customers’ expectations in quality products and services,” as indicated in their 2014 catalog. In short, they supply customers with the means to create and preserve their dream homes.