|Name Red Iron Studio and Jon Michael Route
Business Type Artistic and Custom Metalwork and Showroom
Location Frederic, Wisconsin
Owner/Manager Jack and Michael Route
Year Opened 2008
Phone 715-371-0034 (Red Iron)
715-371-0144 (Jon Michael)
Products Sold & Niche Developed
Father and son, Jack and Michael Route, work independently side by side bringing artistic and custom metalwork to rural northwest Wisconsin. Their buildings together house two metal studios and a showroom.
How it got started
In 2008, the empty buildings were owned by the Village of Frederic and were slated for demolition. Michael wrote a proposal to acquire the property for very little, which was eventually approved. Michael was able to keep his startup costs low and the village has now had a business occupying the space and improving the property for the last 8 years. Jon Michael Route Studio moved into the space in 2012 and recently developed the showroom in the front.
Who it serves
Their businesses have done work nationwide through commissions and craft fairs. Recently, they added a showroom in hopes to become a stop for tourists and locals to admire and purchase their metalwork and art.
The buildings were essentially ready for demolition. The roof leaked, along with the back wall, which was also rotted. Not much was left for installation or electrical. Over the years a new roof was added along with a 10-foot addition to the back and a separate studio space. The owners also replaced large service doors with windows, and have greatly improved the landscaping. The front showroom got new windows and a door along with a nice stucco façade. The owners still have numerous plans to keep improving.
Other than the sweat, tears, and cash, the majority of the funding for our buildings has come from the Regional Business Fund – Façade Loan. It is a wonderful program that has really helped improve our buildings along with many more in the area.
Reviewed by Emily Lutz, UW-Extension CCED