Case Studies

Architectural Sales of Minnesota Inc.

Providing durable interior solutions around the Twin Cities

Architectural Sales of Minnesota Inc. (ASI) dates back to 1959 when Marv Schenk established a small floor and ceiling installation company. Marv owned and operated the business until 1997, building strong relationships with local and national general contractors. When he retired, father and son partners, Chuck and Mike Tambornino, purchased ASI. The family owners came in from outside the trade, seeing major opportunities in the local market. For more than 15 years, the Tamborninos have worked with major general contractors throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin, delivering unique, long-lasting ceiling and floor solutions for commercial clients.

ASI works on a case-by-case basis, collaborating with architects, general contractors and their clients to provide ceiling and flooring solutions that fit both the aesthetic and functional goals of a construction project. The team of more than 55 employees operates from a single location in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

As a subcontractor, the business has established long-standing relationships with all of the major commercial general contractors in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The crew exclusively provides commercial solutions, providing acoustical ceilings, flooring, access flooring and architectural features for retail spaces, offices, manufacturing facilities and other building types.

Projects with potential

Target recently began building a large campus in one of Minneapolis’ northern suburbs, relocating facilities as the corporation expands and grows. “We were fortunate enough to be selected to do ceilings on the last couple of buildings,” says Chuck. “These are really beautiful facilities with beautiful ceilings. We used conventional acoustical ceilings, as well as linear wood throughout the buildings. We furnished the materials for the Target project from Armstrong World Industries, one of our main suppliers. This was a very high visibility project for us. We worked with general contractor Ryan Companies on the project. We anticipate that the expansion of the campus will continue in the coming years and we hope to be part of the team on future contracts. The schedule for the project was accelerated. We were on the job for virtually a year and it is complete now.”

Chuck goes on to explain that the company delivers both ceilings and floors, which are some of last things to get done in a new building. “If a project is at all behind, the pressure is typically on us to make up some of that time,” he continues. “Target is a very important customer for Ryan Companies and the general contractor is a very important customer for us. We went out of our way to meet and exceed the schedule. We increased staffing, worked overtime and put some pressure on suppliers to meet our timeframe and the customer’s requirements.”

High-visibility work

Another recent high-visibility project has been the new Olympus Medical Equipment facility. ASI worked with Ryan Companies again on this project, which is only half a mile away from the Target campus. “The facility is a combination of manufacturing and office space,” Chuck explains. “The manufacturing space includes a clean room. The client needed a walkable ceiling for this room, which is a very heavy-duty ceiling. The purpose of having a walkable ceiling was so that instead of hanging utilities exposed within the clean room, air quality and mechanical equipment could be installed above. When that equipment needs to be serviced, technicians can get to it without compromising the clean room. We worked with a supplier, Gordon, which furnished materials and helped us come up with a design that fit the client’s budget and the needs of the facility. We were also fortunate to get the contract for the flooring in the building’s office area. We are just finishing that up right now.”

The ASI team also worked with RJM Construction on the Ford Center, a former automobile manufacturing facility in downtown Minneapolis. “Over the years, the auto industry changed,” Chuck elaborates. “The building went through various ownerships and uses, eventually sitting idle. A few years back, a large developer bought the buildings and converted it into office space. Because this is a historic property, they did not want to change the building a lot, but the developer had to update things, such as adding air conditioning and making the space suitable for tenants. They wanted to showcase the unique columns, so the client did not want to hang a suspended ceiling to hide air conditioning vents and equipment. Instead, we installed a raised access floor to hide wiring and to utilize an under floor air conditioning system. We furnished the raised access floor with our partner Hayworth supplying the material.”

The ASI team also did the acoustical treatment and flooring for the two largest tenants in the Ford center, HGA Architects and Olson Advertising.

New opportunities

Chuck and Mike have built up a strong portfolio with the growing company. With an improving market throughout the Twin Cities, ASI shows no signs of slowing down. “We have a robust market here,” Chuck says. We are very optimistic about demand and potential for new projects. Things are picking up and I think that’s true all over the country.”

While the recession hit contractors all over, Chuck notes that his team managed to stay stable enough to grow quickly once the market turned around. “In 2008 and 2009, we had a few tough years,” he explains. “In the last two or three years, though, the market has improved dramatically.”

The business is growing, and the team found a new office with an attached warehouse facility a few years ago. ASI has performed several upgrades to facilities, technology and policy that have vastly improved the efficiency of the team. Chuck says while the business has not added many new employees, the crew can get more work done with these improved resources.

In the coming years, Chuck and Mike are looking forward to taking on new, challenging projects throughout the region. ASI’s customers have come to rely on the business for quality products, innovative design and efficient performance. The trend continues as Architectural Sales of Minnesota Inc. celebrates 55 years in business this fall.

Published on: March 25, 2015

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