Wolverine Glass has a new home

July 26, 2010
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After years of looking, the search is over for Wolverine Glass Products. The company recently bought the building it had been seeking for almost three years. The structure is at 5801 Clay Ave. SW in Wyoming and has nearly 53,500 square feet of industrial space, enough for the firm to consolidate its business under a single roof.

“What we discovered in our search — and we’ve been looking for two or three years — is that there is not a lot available in that 50,000 to 60,000 (square foot) arena. There are much bigger ones available and lots of 20,000 and 30,000 buildings. Very few have really come up on our radar. But as soon as we walked in the door in this one, we knew this was the one,” said Mark McGann, founder, president and general manager of Wolverine Glass Products.

“We were close to settling on one that wasn’t nearly as good of a fit, and I’m glad we didn’t.”

The building once belonged to Gill Industries and has a heavy industrial infrastructure complete with cranes and compressed air lines. On top of those features, it offers close access to U.S. 131 and M-6, which is important for Wolverine because its products are widely distributed.

Colliers International represented Wolverine in the transaction. “Mark is actually somebody that I have been doing business with since 1991, and I’ve watched him grow and survive multiple challenges to the economy and have seen him continually come out stronger and better,” said Duke Suwyn, president and CEO of Colliers International.

“They were able to acquire a building at a good price in this market, which will reduce their operating costs,” he said.

McGann started Wolverine Glass Products in 1991 as a producer of after-market rearview mirrors for cars and trucks. The mirrors were distributed throughout North America. A year later, the firm expanded into other areas of glass manufacturing including glass fabrication. Then eight years later, Wolverine began making insulated glass, which was soon followed by its production of frameless beveled mirrors.

“We machine glass instead of steel, which means we grind and polish and bevel and do all the various value-added processes of glass,” said McGann.

Wolverine recently added a new product to its lengthy list of offerings called bioglass, and it’s found a market in both commercial and residential buildings.

“That is actually recycled bottles that are almost fully melted down, but you can still see the different textures in the glass. We can produce different colors of it by using different colored bottles in the formula,” said McGann.

“Primarily, it’s used as countertop material. It’s LEED friendly; you get a lot of LEED points for a building,” he added.

McGann said he will consolidate operations at the Clay Avenue location. The company has been leasing space on Chicago Drive in Grandville for the past 17 years and has outgrown that location. In fact, the firm had to lease another building about a half mile from its main site to accommodate its growing business. McGann hopes to have Wolverine completely up and running in its new building by Sept. 1.

“But construction is going to kind of dictate the actual date,” he said. “We have to add truck wells for receiving and shipping. We also have to do a lot of interior work on the floor because our machines use a lot of water. We have to be able to catch the water into a trench drain.”

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