Business Matters: Maple Grove’s Nevers Finds a Niche
Tucked away in an industrial area of Maple Grove, you’ll find an operation where large companies come calling. Located at 6845 Wedgwood Court N, Nevers Industries makes custom tables for corporate board rooms across the country.
“The company has done some really big projects with some really big high-profile customers across the country,” said Chris Evenstad, CEO of Nevers Industries.
“Sometimes it’s just back-of-the-napkin type stuff. And we make that dream into a reality if you will with a one-of-a-kind custom piece or it could be just a standard type product.”
Evenstad took over the business from his uncle, Gerald, who passed away in 2015. Gerald Evenstad launched the business out of a garage back in 1976.
“He was a great woodworker,” said Evenstad. “It was important for me to keep his legacy alive.”
Nevers Industries Evolves
Nevers Industries got its name from a region in France.
“They make wine barrels there out of oak. They’re supposed to be the best in the world. So there’s a really nice quality tie-in with what he was doing,” said Evenstad about his uncle.
The company started out making presentation cabinets. Tables made out of oak soon followed. Today Nevers Industries makes tables out of a variety of materials. Walnut and cherry are the most popular wood varieties. It also uses natural stone thanks to a partnership with another Minnesota family-owned company, Cambria. Most of the materials Nevers uses come from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
A Who’s Who of Clients
About 85 to 90 percent of what Nevers does is custom made; about 65 percent of the business is tables. Other companies have taken notice. Companies like 3M, Medtronic and the Mayo Clinic have purchased from Nevers to name a few. Other clients include government agencies, which bought tables for the Pentagon, and pro sports teams, including the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Hundreds of tables are shipped out every year. Evenstad credits the nearly two dozen woodworkers on staff.
“They’re artisans, they’re craftsmen,” said Evenstad. “They’re not just button pusher-type people in a factory. There’s a lot of handwork in what we do. But there’s a lot of care in what we do as well because they know their reputation is on the line as well.”
The average tenure of woodworkers at Nevers Industries is 17 years. Eric Julseth has been at Nevers for almost 19 years.
“You can see the final product, where you feel like you’ve accomplished something and it looks good when it leaves. It gives you pride in what you do.” said Julseth.
They help keep a legacy alive, but also put the focus on the future.
“There’s a lot of areas of us to grow,” said Evenstad.
The company is eyeing new growth opportunities, including possibly expanding its product line into the Middle East.