Historic Woolen Mill Expanding

FRANKENMUTH, MI — The historic Frankenmuth Woolen Mill, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of wool bedding, is expanding to meet growing customer demand.

 

 

The business, located at 570 S. Main St. in downtown Frankenmuth, has seen its online sales increase 300% in the last two years, according to owners Matt and Abby Curtis.

 

 

To meet that growing customer demand, Frankenmuth Woolen Mill is undergoing a building expansion believed to be the third major expansion in the mill’s 128-year history.

 

 

The Curtis's are the fourth owners of the mill first established in the late 19th century by Franz Ranke, according to a company news release.

 

 

Today, with century-old equipment and wool and other materials sourced in the United States, the Frankenmuth Woolen Mill team handcrafts all-natural, wool-filled pillows, mattress toppers and comforters.

 

 

 

Related: Machines and processes from the 1800s crank out pure U.S. wool

William Bronner & Son Contractors is handling the nine-month construction project, which is expected to be completed in June.

 

The project includes the demolition of two storage buildings in the back to make room for a 4,000-square-foot warehouse and a new, two-story addition on the Cass Street side, which will house offices, an employee break room and conference room, per the release.

 

The new two-story addition will be clad with vertical board and batten siding, a nod to the site’s historic agrarian and industrial past. The warehouse will feature a drying room for washed wool, a separate area to house raw wool, and an ample storage area for the thousands of yards of fabric the company uses to cover its signature wool bedding each year.

 

“With our internet sales up 300% the past two years, and our wholesale operation almost doubling in that time, we are in need of extra space that the warehouse will bring,” Matt Curtis said in a statement.

 

 

The second-story addition will allow the company to reconfigure its tying and sewing area, gain production and finishing space, and provide a nicer working environment for the tying and sewing team, the release states.

 

In addition, the north side loading dock will receive new steel, wood and cable railing, and a second-floor loading dock will be added to help move large and long products in and out of the second floor of the original mill.

“It was very important to Matt and I that we keep the original building from 1894 intact and a working piece of history,” Abby Curtis said in a statement. “Every square inch of it will remain as it was in 1894 and we will continue to use it daily.”

 

Matt Curtis added, “By returning the mill to more of its original industrial and agricultural look, we feel that we are paying homage to our company’s past all while building what we hope will be another 128 years of success.”

 

 

The company’s recent growth also prompted the Curtis's to hire seven full-time employees, and they aim to add four more when the expansion is complete.


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