Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix & Cheboygan Counties.

Manthei Veneer Rebuilds with $280,000 Award

By Hannah Sanderson, Business Attraction & Growth

With a new product on the horizon and production ramping up pace, Manthei Veneer was met with a very unexpected disaster. In August of 2017, Manthei Veneer suffered the complete loss of their veneer mill.  This resulted in 40 employees immediately out of a job and thousands of dollars lost per day due to not being operational.  Resort Bear Creek Fire Department and the surrounding departments fought the blaze; however the mill quickly went up in flames to the point of no return.

Within hours of the mill catching on fire, NLEA had brought a rapid response team together consisting of NLEA staff members, MI Works!, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and Manthei Veneer officials to review the situation and outline various solutions to have them up and running again. 

NLEA coordinated a site visit with MI Works! to have their rapid response team assist with those who immediately lost their jobs.  Whether that meant signing up for unemployment or helping the employees connect with a new job provider, they were there to help.

The next order of business was to find a way to keep production going.  NLEA began making calls to mills around the region to see if anyone would be willing to pick up Veneer’s log cutting and how much they would they charge to cut for their competitor. Manthei Veneer ultimately connected with a company based in the Upper Peninsula.

Within two weeks, once things settled for Manthei Veneer, NLEA had a sit-down with the company.  This primary meeting consisted of NLEA, MEDC, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to dive further into what Manthei Veneer needed to fully open their doors again and what they needed to stay within Resort Township versus the other sites of consideration—two of which were in Wisconsin.  Over the next several months, NLEA helped weigh their various incentive options.  After looking at all of the various incentives, each process, and timeline, it was determined that their best choice was the Business Development Program with the MEDC.  NLEA assisted with the packaging of the necessary information and submitting of the grant application.  Manthei Veneer was awarded $280,000 for the creation of 35 jobs if they were to stay and rebuild at their current site.

To receive the funding from the MEDC, Manthei Veneer needed local support from Resort Township.  They asked the township for an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate—a tax abatement.  NLEA worked closely with both Robert Wheaton, Resort Township Supervisor and Lucy Eppler, Resort Township Clerk to search for the Industrial Development District documentation (a district was established in 1983), the public hearing for the tax abatement and all legal documents.  In the end, Resort Township awarded Manthei Veneer with a 6-year abatement with an option to apply for a 6-year extension at their end of the first 6-year period.  With all of this in hand, things were beginning to look up with a light at the end of the tunnel for the company.

After weighing all of their options and carious incentive packages, Manthei Veneer has chosen to rebuild within Resort Township. NLEA is proud to have assisted with this project and cannot wait to see what the future holds for their company.

For more information on Business Development, contact Hannah Sanderson- Business Attraction and Growth at (231) 582-6482 or hannah@northernlakes.net.

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