Giving Thanks: Big Projects & Bountiful Friendships

It was another ordinary day driving the truck and trailer down I-94, on a gas-guzzling trek to western North Dakota for a project install. Conversing about the day, the rest of the weeks plans and looking forward to the weekend ahead, we received a phone call. On the other line was a soon to be client/friend, Christie. She had just passed us on the interstate and was struck by the Grain Designs graphics on our trailer. After a brief conversation, only 30 minutes later we were having coffee in a Bismarck Starbucks. Unknowingly this interaction was about to turn into one of our largest and most rewarding projects to date.

As we shared the information about our company, we too learned more about Christie and her company. Christie is the President of Union State Bank in Hazen, ND and was in the planning phase of a renovation of their home branch in Hazen, ND. We quickly got to brainstorming and conceptualizing highlighting the services we could provide as well as the products that would fit her vision. Short thereafter the conversation turned into an exciting new project for our team, and an ambitious one at that.

This was the summer of 2017 and the first phase of the project was quickly underway. The project included a handful of desks with custom touches, coat racks, wall shelves, and other unique fixtures. Phase 1 of the project is highlighted here:

In late 2018 the phone buzzed again and Christie has another project on her mind. Phase 2…

We quickly realized this project was going to need to be broken in its own phases of design, building, and 3 separate installs. Our gas-guzzling truck and trailer can only haul so much furniture at once. We spent the first half of 2018 working through every detail of this build.

As part of phase 2, we had essentially been tasked with “building-out” the interior of the bank. Supplying them with a rather large reception desk, transaction tables, more office desks, conference tables, chairs, signage, and more.

This started with some intense design conversations about how clients use the space, what can be preserved and reused from the renovation, how staff work at their desks, and Christie’s most important requirement. “How can this furniture speak to the community, invite them in, tell a story and allow our staff to serve our customers better?”

Design happened, then this fall building ensued, and the three “mini phases” of build/deliver/install unfolded. To be frank it CONSUMED our shop the entire month of September and trickled into October. Long hours, time-consuming details, and a huge testament to our awesome staff to see this project through!

While we say it was a three-phase install, our job wasn’t done yet. The grand opening was taking place a few short weeks after our third install, and we had intentions to do everything we could for at least a member or two of our team to attend. Then Christie was generous enough to offer her family cabin on Lake Sakakawea for us to stay in if ever needed. Feeling grateful for not just her support and trust in the craftsmanship of our team, but also her kind treatment through the entire process, we wanted to return the support in the best way we could. We quickly decided we would all attend the grand re-opening.

So on Thursday October 24, 2019 the entire Grain Designs team packed into the truck and made our way to Hazen for the fourth and final phase of this project. We made some small touch-ups at the bank, then headed to get settled in at Christie’s lake home on Sakakawea. Upon our arrival at her home, she had a basket of food in the kitchen. We should mention that during each phase of our install, Christie gifted us with a variety of meats and cheeses sourced from the local meat locker. When we walked into the home and saw the basket of meat, cheese, and a plethora of other goodies. We could see Cody’s eye literally light up. For anyone who doesn’t know Cody, he is an outstanding chef who is always eager to cook something up for us. He instantly started whipping up a meat and cheese tray.

Shortly after, we headed back to the bank just in time for the re-opening. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say, the members of Union State Bank sure know how to have one heck of a good time.

Moral of the story, we are thankful for being on an install the day we were driving down I-94 and having graphics on our trailer that were enticing enough for Christie, a complete stranger at the time, to give us a call. A call that turned into not just a great project for Grain Designs, but a new friendship and experience our company will cherish. Thank You, Christie. We wish you, Union State Bank, and the community of Hazen all the best!

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