window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function() { jQuery(window).load(function() { jQuery('.recent-posts-container').flexslider({ directionNav: false, controlNav: false, }); jQuery('.reviews-container').flexslider({ directionNav: false, controlNav: true, }); }); });

City Page Title

This is the archive page description

GNB Cares: River Heights Chamber Ambassador Volunteer

We love getting involved with our community! Great Northern Builders is a proud member of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. Our amazing staff member Natalie Velez is a Chamber Ambassador and enjoys welcoming new members to the community! Pictured below is a recent Ambassador’s visit with Patty’s First Aid! Every month, Natalie volunteers her time with the River Heights Chamber Ambassadors to help connect, inspire and welcome new members.

Great Northern Builders staff member Natalie Velez with River Heights Chamber

Great Northern Builders staff member Natalie Velez with River Heights Chamber Ambassadors

Great Northern Builders Creates Hip Reclaimed Commercial Space for Award-Winning Retail Client  


Great Northern Builders, local leader in residential and commercial construction, restoration, remodels and insurance restoration work throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, recently designed and built the award-winning Atmosfere retail space in the North Loop with 70% reclaimed materials including barn wood and adornments.

“The owners of Atmosfere came to us because they liked our design style at our offices, and knew we could achieve their specific and unique vision,” says Chris Biljan, owner of Great Northern Builders.

Blank Canvas: Before Photo of Award-winning retail space “Atmosfere”


Last April, Atmosfere’s co-owner, Damon Capetz, gave Great Northern Builders (GNB) 100% creative freedom to design and build out the company’s dream space. The two companies collaboratively sat down and talked about ideas and direction for the design aspect of the build out that would accentuate the new location, showcase their products, and draw customers in.

Co-owner of Atmosfere, Damon Capetz stated, “Right then and there, we knew these guys were awesome craftsmen. And we knew they could achieve our vision. That trust factor alone is so important. Working with a construction company who can help you visualize and translate your ideas and actually implement them is an amazing experience. We are so happy with the look and function of our new store! They really made the best out of our space and blew away our vision into something even more spectacular.”

The design mentality of the store was geared towards a modern yet timeless approach to coincide with the location and the Atmosfere brand.  Since many of the buildings in the area are historical, the retail space was built and designed to maintain a rustic, industrial feel with a twist of refined.  The Minneapolis Warehouse Historic District’s North Loop is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Great Northern Builders took great care in their design decisions to create a space that integrated into the historic business district. The area still retains the feel of its industrial past, as many newer buildings have attempted to replicate the style of the old warehouses. The district was included in the National Register of Historic Places due to maintaining the feel of the past in all new renovations.

“The design of our space really accentuates our product and ties in well with our historic location in the North Loop. It really looks amazing,” says Damon Capetz, co-owner of Atmosfere.

Great Northern Builders worked with architects and electricians on the overall layout and design of Atmosfere. The overall project build took about a month. The wood selected for the build was reclaimed barn wood and corrugated steel from Signature Woods in Zumbrota, MN. Each piece was handpicked by the Great Northern Builders team. A lot of galvanized corrugated roofing material was also sourced and utilized in the build.

“We really enjoyed designing and building this unique space and worked very hard to ensure every detail tied in with the North Loop’s vibe and historic feel,” said Chris Biljan, owner of Great Northern Builders.


Reclaimed wood (wood that is recovered from previous use) has several advantages:

  • It looks great, and brings a kind of look, feel, and character to a space that is almost impossible to duplicate.
  • It saves energy and is environmentally friendly.
  • It’s a strong, lasting product that is durable.


Great Northern Builders team made the reclaimed woodwork by designing a display wall for merchandise. The end result, Atmosfere’s “Feature Wall” that showcases the store’s outfits. This wall is the most unique and talked about design feature amongst customers and visitors. The wall has received a wealth of praise already, as it has served as the backdrop for many photos taken in the store and shared widely. Recently featured in Minnesota Monthly, both Atmosfere’s design and products definitely make a statement.


Great Northern Builders made the most out of both design and location by creating a “Thomas Edison” lighting effect along the reclaimed barn wood panels which creates a glow effect. Great Northern Builders chose white porcelain, old-school style lights with Edison salt to provide an ambience of low-level incandescent lighting. The visible conduit runs across the store’s display wall to highlight merchandise. Great Northern Builders owner, Chris Biljan, worked with his electrician to snake all of the conduit to give it a random, accidental type of feel. The retail space is located in a lower-level walk-down from the sidewalk level, so Biljan chose a lighting placement that would also emit out a glow into the street to attract passersby.

The store exemplifies the terms rustic, yet clean and modern to a ‘T’. Track lighting was chosen to be placed throughout the store, adding beautiful highlights and accents to the products and clothing, while also creating an inviting feel for guests.

One of the innovative design decisions for Atmosfere’s new space was creating the dressing rooms from 4×4 and 6×6 barn wood posts. The rooms are all hand built, and created with recessed panels with rusted corrugated steel. Even the door handles tell a story, as each were salvaged pieces found around Minneapolis from the 1920’s and earlier that have been fabricated and retrofitted for each dressing room.


Atmosfere’s co-owner, Dan Capetz stated, “There was never a time we thought we had to be at the store throughout the design and build to see if we liked it or to see how something turned out. We completely trust Great Northern Builders and knew it would turn out amazing.”


Atmosfere is a must visit for anyone in the area, and is a brilliant example of how a business can easily “be green” by choosing to use reclaimed materials to design a modernized, unique store or office space. All of the building materials in the 2,500 square foot space are reclaimed materials, right down to the handles on the dressing rooms.

Atmosfere opened their modern, New York boutique inspired retail space in the North Loop in early June and recently won “2015 Best Clothing Store” in City Pages Minneapolis.

With over 15 years of experience and an impeccable reputation, Great Northern Builders specializes in residential and commercial construction, renovation, remodels, and restoration throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin with expert crews, unrivaled customer service, and quality workmanship.

After the Storm: Importance of a Hail Damage Assessment


Hail Damage

Often, hail damage cannot be seen from the ground, so it’s important to have your property inspected by a certified team of storm damage repair experts. If hail damage goes undetected, this can not only lead to future leaks and water damage, it can also shorten the warranty and service life of your roof, exteriors, and structure. It’s important to contact a storm restoration professional after a hailstorm for a free roof and property inspection.

Hail damage can cause bruising, cracking, denting, and granule loss to your commercial or residential property, including roofing, siding, gutters, windows, patios.  If undetected, hail damage may void the manufacture warranty as well as shorten the service life of your roof.

We see it on our automobiles but we rarely get up on our roofs. It’s imperative to have your property inspected after any type of storm including thunder and wind storms to ensure no hail damage has occurred to avoid future leaks, premature aging, and deterioration of your property.

Protect Your Investment!

If you’ve experienced hail damage throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, a Great Northern Builders Project Manager will conduct a free inspection and take photos of all damage, prepare proper scope of damages, estimate at fair market pricing. We help you get the repairs you need in a timely fashion.

Call the Storm Damage Repair Experts at Great Northern Builders at 651.455.9371 for a Free Property Inspection!

Great Northern Builders is a local leader in residential and commercial construction, restoration, remodels and insurance restoration work throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a licensed general contractor, we can help you with all of your projects with expert crews, unrivaled customer service, and quality workmanship.  With a Better Business Bureau A+ rating, we are also proud members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Great Northern Builders specializes in storm damage repairs and insurance restoration work including hail and wind damage repairs, water and mold damage, and fire restoration work.

How To Choose a Window Contractor

How To Choose a Window Contractor

When it comes time to choose Minnesota’s best window contractor, don’t get fooled by those commercials and advertisements promising low cost windows. Many of those companies advertise the cost of the window itself, but forget to mention the up-sells and additional costs of actually installing the windows.

You won’t get that with the professionals at Great Northern Builders. We provide competitive prices, but we are also honest and upfront and will send a trained field supervisor to discuss whether you need a window replacement or complete new window installation package. There are differences and that’s what many companies forget to tell customers in those commercials.

How Do you Know When Your Home Needs New Windows?

There are some obvious warning signs, such as a draft coming through the windows.

“If you feel air coming through your windows, it’s time to consider installing new windows,” says Chris Biljan, owner of Great Northern Builders.

And that’s what you want to avoid. You’re basically throwing money away if that’s the case, especially when it comes to the cold Minnesota and Wisconsin winters, or those extremely hot summer months. Homeowners with poor quality windows, leaky windows, cracked windows or windows that don’t open and shut properly are throwing money away because many think the solution is to turn the heat up or air conditioning down to help regulate/find the right temperature.

The bottom line is this: Drafty windows can drive up energy bills, costing you more money over time.

Common Window Specifications

Choosing The Right Window Contractor“Installing energy efficient windows lowers your energy bills because your heat is not leaking out in the winter and your cool air is not leaking out in the hot summer months,” says Biljan.

Contact Great Northern Builders for a free estimate and analysis. We’ll come out to your house and look at your windows and point out potential trouble spots. We’ll show you areas where improvements could be made and discuss how the right window can help you save money. We’ll answer your questions and help you understand the window replacement or repair process. Do you need new windows? Do you need the windows wrapped for extra insulation? Do you need new trim on the outside of the windows when replacing existing windows?

GNB is a certified lead paint contractor and have experience tackling window replacement and repair jobs on homes that are both old and new, big and small.

Leaky windows can keep you cold in the winter, hot in the summer and stressed all year long. Don’t throw money away, contact GNB for a window assessment and evaluation today. Remember, getting an evaluation is free! Call today.

How To Choose A Siding Contractor

Don’t Choose The Wrong Siding Contractor

Curb appeal. It’s important to homeowners. When people drive up or past your house, they immediately notice the exterior appearance. Whether it’s wood, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass or hardboard composite siding, among others, the type and quality of your home’s siding goes a long way towards improving exterior appearance.

But what’s just as important as how new siding can help protect your house. It is important to choose a siding contractor that will not only help the appearance of your house, but to also help find quality materials that will last a lifetime.

“The benefits of new siding go beyond appearance,” says Chris Biljan, owner of GNB. “New siding can help secure your house and provide added water protection. Insulated siding can also reduce energy costs providing extra protection.”

If you’re considering updating your siding, contact GNB. A trained GNB field supervisor can provide a free analysis, cost options and a plan on the best siding options for your house. Most important though, the professionals at GNB provide a reputable, trustworthy Minnesota roofing company dedicated to completing your project on time and within budget. References are available and we have outstanding example of work on our web site and by request.

When choosing a siding contractor, ask questions. At Great Northern Builders we provide a dedicated team of local workers who have experience to do your siding job the right way. We are licensed, insured and bonded and completely committed to providing you with the best service and quality of work possible. We will discuss timeline, outline the process to complete your siding project and provide you with options to find a siding project that fits your goals, and budget. We can work with you to find the best products out there will still fitting within your budget.

And about that curb appeal?

“An old house can turn into the nicest in the neighborhood with new siding,” says Biljan. “And a newer house can get a new unique look customized to the homeowners wants and needs.”

Call us today for a free consultation! 651-455-9371

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

Don’t Choose The Wrong Roofing Contractor

It’s been an unusually wet Minnesota spring and summer. Just ask those with leaky roofs. Take Corey for example, the Cottage Grove resident was sitting at home one weekend night in mid-June when the heavy rain storms not only beat down on his roof, but started seeping through the roof to his newborn daughter’s bedroom. It spelled trouble. Not only did he have a roofing problem, he now had water leaking through the ceiling along and the walls and down the carpet. What started out as a leaky roof turned into more work than it needed to be, more money and more time.

Corey may have learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. When searching for the best Roofing Repair for Leaks, Storm Damage” Minneapolis/St.Paul roofing contractor look no further than Great Northern Builders (GNB). A free estimate with a certified GNB field supervisor can help you understand your roofs condition before the next big storm hits.
“We’ll be able to quickly point out where damage may have occurred and help you troubleshoot potential trouble spots,” says Chris Biljan, owner of Great Northern Builders.
Even if you don’t think recent storms have damaged your roof it’s a good idea to understand how natural wear and tear, previous storm damage and the general lifespan of a roofing when determining if you need to hire a Twin Cities roofing contractor.

It always good to have a specialist walk your roof to make sure you do not have any missing shingles or damage to the shingles caused by wind or hail,” says Biljan.
Some roofing systems will not last more than 10 years before repairs are needed, says Biljan.  Others can wear out much sooner pending on quality of product. Others may have more wear and tear than normal based on past storms or previous damage that’s gone unnoticed. That’s why it’s a good idea to know how to choose a roofing contractor that has experience, and make sure you look at the when selecting your contractor. Call GNB to have a trusted field supervisor inspect your roof and provide a free analysis. The trained roofing professionals at Great Northern Builders can also help you understand how to work with your insurance company if an insurance claim needs to be made.
GNB services the greater Twin Cities, outstate Minnesota and Wisconsin and has a team ready to assess and handle your roofing needs.
Don’t wait until it’s too late like Corey did. At Great Northern Builders we provide a combination of quality work, outstanding services and fair prices. And most of all, we can provide a peace of mind and confidence your roof will be able to handle the worst of these Minnesota storms.
Call us today, we service the twin cities and surrounding subur

Choosing The Right Contractor

Choosing The Right Contractor
How to choose a roofing, siding and window contractor

Making the decision to repair your roof, install new windows or add siding to your home or business is a big one. To help make that decision it’s important to choose the right residential or commercial roofing, siding and window contractor. A reputable local general contractor like Great Northern Builders has the experience, reputation and references to provide the services you need.

It all starts with a free estimate. A certified GNB field supervisor will come out and discuss the services and options available. GNB services the greater Twin Cities, outstate Minnesota and Wisconsin and has a team of professionals ready to assess and handle your property needs.

How do you determine if it’s time to put on a new roof, install new windows or add new siding?
Consider these tips below:

Age of roof The quality of your roofing system can determine when it’s the right time is to add a new roof. Some roof systems will not last more than 10 years before repairs are needed. Others can wear out much sooner. Others may have more wear and tear than normal based on past storms or previous damage that’s gone unnoticed. A field supervisor can inspect your roof and provide a free analysis.

“It always good to have a specialist walk your roof to make sure you do not have any missing shingles or damage to the shingles caused by wind or hail,” says Chris Biljan, owner of Great Northern Builders.

Draft coming through windows: If you feel air coming through your windows, it’s time to consider installing new windows. Especially when it comes to the cold Minnesota and Wisconsin winters – and even in the summer when the air conditioning is on. Drafty windows can drive up energy bills, costing you more money over time.

“Installing energy efficient windows lowers your energy bills because your heat is not leaking out in the winter and your cool air is not leaking out in the hot summer months,” says Biljan.

Benefits of new siding: Curb appeal. An old house can turn into the nicest in the neighborhood with new siding. A newer house can stay updated and looking sharp with new siding. But the benefits go beyond appearance. New siding can help secure your house and provide added water protection. Insulated siding can also reduce energy costs providing extra protection. There are a wide variety of siding options available, including vinyl, LP, cedar and hardie. A GNB field supervisor can discuss best options and prices during your free estimate.

Home improvement loans available: Remember, there are home improvement loans available through various counties throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Dakota County, for example, offer no interest home improvement loans to assist in these repairs. Every county is different and has different rules/qualifications so check with your local county office or on the county website for more information.

Tax credits: There may be tax credits available for new roofing, siding and windows. Also, if you own a home office, these repairs may also help reduce taxes. Credits also change from year-to-year pending on new tax laws. This is not tax advice, just a suggestion to check with your accountant to see what is available.

Investment in property: By investing in your property it can raise the property value of your home. And it can save money over time by maintaining your homes.

When choosing a roofing, siding or window contractor be sure to get references and be sure they are registered with the Better Business Bureau and have a good reputation. Most of all, be sure they do what’s best for your situation.

“We’ll take the time to really listen to what you want and need to help make sure your project is done right and completed the way you expect,” says Biljan.

Call Great Northern Builders today for a free estimate 651-455-9371

Storm Damage Repair: Hire Local, Avoid Storm Chasers

Volunteer Street Canvasser Knocking On Doors

How To Spot Storm Chasers When You Have Storm Damage 

A severe storm that causes widespread damage is a home or business owner’s worse nightmare. A tornado, thunderstorm, hail, high winds or heavy rain can blow through a Minnesota or Wisconsin neighborhood and quickly damage the home you’ve worked so hard to make beautiful.

And when that happens, contacting a trusted, reputable general contractor like Great Northern Builders should be the first step you take. Great Northern Builders provides a free property inspection with a certified field supervisor to determine the extent of any storm damage while working with you to create a plan to help you through the repair or restoration process.

“Our company is very knowledgeable in all areas of restoration and construction,” says Great Northern Builders owner Chris Biljan. “We can provide you with a list of residential and commercial references that can vouch for our hands-on approach with any and all projects we work on. We pride ourselves in making sure our customers are well-informed of any and every step of the procedures and processes involving their project.”

When storm damage occurs, avoid storm chasers looking for a quick fix and looking to make a quick buck. Companies that show up from out of nowhere are considered storm chasers and are often looking to pressure you into quickly signing a contract to repair your home, while promising low prices and that they will handle everything with your insurance company for you.  Great Northern Builders is an established Twin Cities residential and commercial general contractor with a strong reputation and the references to prove it.

“You should be leery of any door-to-door salesman that make promises to fix or repair your home at an extremely low cost,” says Biljan. “It violates Minnesota Statue 325E.66 which indicates contractors cannot advertise or promise to rebate or credit any part of insurance proceeds. As a contractor we pride ourselves in staying up to date on all policies and statutes set forth by the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

Watch for these storm chaser warning signs, according to the National Storm Damage Center:

  • Out of state license plates
  • No local office
  • No insurance or under-insured
  • Won’t provide local references
  • Demands upfront cash or deposit
  • Poor BBB ratings or no local ratings

In some cases, storm damage may not be immediately noticeable. If neighbors have damage, chances are you do to. Small issues can lead to big problems. Contact GNB to come out and assess your property and make sure you are not overlooking any areas

GNB is a local company that takes prides in building and maintaining relationships with customers for the long haul. By choosing GNB you are sure to be working with a reputable local storm restoration specialist that you can trust and that will be there for you. Since they are local they will be there should any problems or warranty questions arise now and in the future.

A storm may cause immediate damage, but Great Northern Builders can provide a lasting solution. When a storm hits your neighborhood, home or business contact GNB for a free property inspection report and you’ll be on your way to making a decision that will help you repair your home the right way, with a reputable local general contractor.