Great Northern Builders has been serving the area for nearly 15 years. It’s safe to say a lot has happened in that time! Our company has grown and flourished, and we are so grateful to help local families create their dream homes. While we often showcase completed projects, we thought it would be fun to pull back the curtain and share our company story.
Keep reading to learn how our owner Chris got started in the industry, what inspired him to open Great Northern Builders, how we stay involved in the community, and more!
Going Into the Family Business
Some of Chris’s first memories are of following his father around the house or garage, working on random projects, and tagging along to the lumber yard. He also has fond memories of spending weekends at the shop, a custom door and millwork company his grandpa started in the early 1970s. The business started out specializing in pre-hung residential doors and interior millwork. Years passed, and his father, the oldest of seven, fell into managing the family business.
“After my grandfather’s passing, the business went to my grandmother, and a decision by my father and uncle was quickly made to step up and help keep the business alive and support the rest of the family,” explains Chris. “My dad and two uncles eventually bought out the business. The business continued and was even my first job. I continued to return year after year as I was in school.”
This Is What I Was Born to Do
While in school, Chris took every woodshop, auto shop, metals, drafting, and architectural class he could.” I loved working with my hands and creating something from nothing. The art of building, designing, and fabricating is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. I knew it was for me.”
In high school, he took a course at the local DCTC College and was a part of building a home from start to finish. In addition to being a great course that offered college credits, it made Chris understand what he wanted to do once he graduated. He went straight into the workforce after high school, working a short time in the Laborers Union and making his way to a local high-end builder, where he apprenticed as a trim/finish carpenter.
From the Shop to Great Northern Builders
“In 2009, Great Northern Builders was officially formed. It was all me — my way. I was now free to make my vision a reality,” Chris recalls. “Almost 15 years later, we are a family-run, award-winning business with nine employees and a new building and studio space. The new studio will ensure we offer the best possible experience for our clients and their families. [It] will also allow us to hold community events, workshops, and more.”
The new building and studio space are located in the same place Chris’ grandfather built in the 70s, making it all the more special to him and the GNB team. They have truly come full circle.
Volunteering in Our Communities
Chris and his team have a deep love and respect for the communities they serve. The company is proud to participate in many great local organizations, including the Dakota County Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Housing First, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Great Northern Builders has also earned its certification as a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) and is a certified installer of dozens of building products and materials.
GNB also strives to give back to its community as much as possible. They advertise locally with the Eagan Hockey Association in support of the Wildcats. The team also volunteers and donates time and funds to organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, Wishes and More, and contributes annually to fundraising campaigns for scholarships and benefits.
The Light of Our Lives
While he loves what he does, Chris is a family man at heart. “I have two boys, Camden and Jack, with my Fiancé’ Natalie. They are the light of our lives, and we just couldn’t be happier,” Chris explains. “Camden loves playing hockey and baseball. I even help on the bench with the hockey team from time to time. Jack loves car shows, Legos, and Hot Wheels — and he just might be the next boss at GNB!”
Looking to the Future
Great Northern Builders has helped countless homeowners make their dream homes a reality over the years, and we look forward to continuing to do so for years to come. We are thankful to have an amazing team and get to serve a wonderful and supportive community!