Because we are dealing with yet another rain delay, I'm going to focus this post on some of the people that worked behind the scenes to help our vision come to life, and those that help make the lives of the construction workers a little easier :)
Stephanie Howe and her team at Studio E Architects, of Glenwood, MN has worked with us for about 3 years to help put our vision to life. We went through several revisions. We started first with drawings of the entire site which included a larger tasting room, full kitchen, and event center. We quickly realized that was going to WAY out of our budget range, so we scaled back things to what you will see when everything is complete. Her team probably did a happy dance when our prints were finalized, because we changed a lot of things, several times, but we wanted to make sure that we only had to build this once, and that we could grow into it, rather than constantly add on because of space issues. I really do think we go it right. Finally! Studio E also worked alongside Joe Nicholson at Design Tree Engineering to do the structural engineering on the project. This was instrumental in getting the foundation and footing walls done properly.
Brian Schulz and his team at Schultz Engineering were our civil engineers on the project. Because of the scope of our project, the fact that it was a commercial project, and because of the large road we built, Studio E suggested we bring on a CE to help put that part of the project together. It helped us gather a lot of important information regarding elevations, watershed, and soil types. They worked together with Chosen Valley Testing to complete the soil borings and geotechnical reporting.
We have gotten to know Eric at Nyberg Surveying pretty well over the last couple of years. He has come out a couple of times to do different surveys for us, but the most interesting one was the topographical survey he did on the land that the winery will sit on. Our property is very hilly and having that topo map was invaluable to the excavation and engineering teams, and in our eyes virtually priceless.
We can not forget about everyone over at the county office! David Green and his entire team at the Land Resource Management office have been fantastic to work with. They have been so patient with all of our questions, helping us secure our conditional use permit, building permit, and septic permit. We are seriously so lucky to have these people available to us to help make the county such a great place to live!
And let's talk about that septic system for a bit. Scott Elwood from Elwood Septic Professionals worked with us on our septic design. Twice. We dug SO MANY HOLES to find the right spot to put the septic system. He first drew up a mound system plan when our digs came up empty for the right soil types to have a gravity fed system with drain field. BUT, he stuck with us and was so patient. And we found the perfect spot. I wrote about it more here. I couldn't find a website or social media pages for Scott, so here's a link to his BBB rating. A+ and we agree!
HPS Rental is providing our site with "The John" for when nature calls and the workers have to "go." I'm not sure I need to say any much more about this, other than I appreciate having this service available in our area.
Tom Kraemer Inc is providing the waste removal for us. They are literally a phone call away and help us in keeping the site clean. Again, we are so thankful to have this service available to us so close to home.
Neil Nelson from Obenland & Nelson has been our attorney since probably 2012. Neil and Joe graduated high school together, played football together, and now our kids go to school together. He has helped us put our wills and estate plan together, worked on some of our business contracts, set up all of our business LLCs, and helped with a few of our property purchases and sales. He also helped facilitate the loan closing on our winery financing and his office is now doing our construction draws. He's been a great resource (and friend) to help us navigate through all of the questions we had about setting up the winery, protecting our assets, and ensuring our kids are taken care of should anything ever happen to me and Joe. Thanks Neil!
And finally our lenders. This all would not be possible without our financial partners at Glenwood State Bank and Prairieland EDC. We contacted Glenwood State Bank in early 2018 about our project. But the timing wasn't right for either of us. So we were patient and so were they. Then around December of 2018 I reached out to Chris Roering at the bank again about taking another look. We were ready. We just needed someone to take the plunge with us and believe in our vision. Chris found an SBA partnership with Prairieland EDC out of Slayton, MN and we worked for a couple of months to put it all together. With our other business ventures and the farm, our financial portfolio gets complicated pretty quickly. We sincerely appreciate the work of everyone at GSB who worked on helping put this all together.
It's taking quite the team of people to have this all come together. I probably have forgotten some, but I sure hope not. If so, I will give them all the accolades in my next post :) If you run into any of these businesses, please give them all the praise for working with us. It hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows, but we do appreciate all their efforts!
About the Author
I'm Melanie, co-owner of Rolling Forks Vineyards, boy mom & wine lover.