By Robert Williams
Mike and Joy Summers, along with daughter Kayla Mayer and designer Angela Lindsey, have taken over a hot corner of the Vergas business sector with a full-service home business at the new Summers Construction Design Center and the RE/MAX Vergas real estate office next door on Railway Ave.
The businesses celebrated a grand opening and open house on Saturday, April 9, and are up and running with a few signs and sounds of construction still going on as they put the finishing touches on their new spaces.
The need for space came from running the family construction business out of their home for two decades. They were literally selling flooring out of their living room and never got to use their garage for personal use. It was time for the business to move elsewhere.
“We wanted to get away from home,” said Mike. “Let’s just get a place for storage and then it kind of turned into more of a design center with the storage.”
The space saves time for both their clients and themselves.
“Anytime we did a project with a person, it took a full day to meet with the client and figure out what we were doing,” he said.
Determining what clients wanted involved multiple trips to different stores to pick out anything from appliances to paint colors, lighting and flooring.
“We had all these stops to get everything picked out and now we can come here and design it, pick out everything here: paint color, blinds, fireplaces, furniture, security systems, anything to build a house,” he said. “I’m hoping other contractors will come down and use our facility as well.”
The design center offers samples of nearly everything one needs to build a home.
“It has definitely evolved over the last year of planning and I think it will continue to evolve as we get into projects,” Joy said. “If there’s a need for something and it makes sense for us to carry it and offer it to people, we’re going to add it.”
Lindsey manages the center and designs. She grew up in a family of builders and Joy and Angela are childhood friends.
“I know her talent and style so when we started talking about doing this, I didn’t know she was open to joining us. As soon as she said she was, it was kind of a no-brainer.”Joy Summers
Lindsey ran her own hair business for 18 years.
“I threw it out there I was looking for something maybe part-time, and that’s how it all came about,” she said.
According to the Summers, Angela is the glue that holds everything together. The trio combine for an even democracy of three when it comes to decision-making for the business and their clients.
“It really is,” said Mike. “It helps to have one more perspective.”
Summers Construction itself had a unique beginning, mainly, the family needed a home and Mike had a hammer in his possession and little else.
“I had never built anything before,” he said. “I didn’t even own a saw or anything.”
With nuptials on the horizon, the couple were in search of their first home and coming up empty.
“We were getting married and shopping for houses and nothing fit exactly what we wanted,” said Joy.
The couple decided it was something they were going to have to do themselves.
“I went and bought a nail gun, a compressor and a saw and I started building a house,” said Mike.
He purchased a book on electrical work to complete that part of the house and utilized his local plumbers at Hanson’s Plumbing to help draw out a plan for that aspect.
“They got all the parts for me and had them in boxes. That was no good. They took me in the back room and laid it all on the floor and I numbered all the pieces and then I went home and put it together,” said Mike. I learned as I went. Joy and I did it and we had friends and family, people from church, come over and help us do stuff and there you have it.”
The Summers turned that initiative into a full-service business from the floor plan up, which is key to how they operate.
“I think it starts from the floor plan. We love helping people hone in on what works best for them between the real estate and construction. We see a lot of houses and can help people perfect their plan.”Joy Summers
Mike, Joy and daughter Kayla are licensed real estate agents in the new RE/MAX office next door to the design center.
“We sell in a large radius, but it’s really nice to have an office right here,” said Mike.
The real estate side completes the full lifecycle business with construction and design that even includes a cleaning service.
“If it’s something to do with a house, I think we have you covered,” Mike said.
The business also joins a long legacy given Joy’s family history in Vergas.
She is the great-granddaughter of Edmund Pausch and Wm Sauer, two of the original signers to petition Otter Tail County to change the town name from Altona to Vergas in 1905.
The family lineage includes Peter Meyer, who built many of the original homes in Vergas and co-owned the Stangness & Meyer hardware store in 1907, which was across the street from where the design center sits today. Family connections also include Fankhanel and Pausch Saloon, now Billy’s Bar, which is across the street from the Summer’s RE/MAX office.
It is fitting that the Summers’ businesses are built in their exact locations and being a part of the Vergas business community was a priority for the family.
“We never would have considered doing it anywhere else but Vergas,” Joy said. “Vergas is literally our friends and family. We love it here and to see that the economic situation is healthy and we’re happy to be a part of that. It’s been really fun to see how many people are excited to have another opportunity to keep money in Vergas.”
For more information visit www.summersconstructiondesign.com, facebook.com/summersconstructiondesign, facebook.com/summersremaxconnection, or call (218) 841-4569 for the design center and (218) 841-4569 for the Vergas RE/MAX office.