The orange cones are gone, but construction is still underway along Belknap Street.
Fastenal is remodeling the former Erlanson Lumber building at 310 Belknap St. The industrial and construction supply company, located at the Mariner Mall, plans to move into the Erlanson building by the end of January.
“We’ve been looking to get into a different location and that was definitely an ideal location for us,” District Manager Sam Puza said. “As we grow as a company, we really look for efficiencies and the mall has become a little bit inefficient for us.”
The search for a space more tailored to a business like Fastenal ended with the purchase of the Erlanson building.
“Square footage-wise, it’s about the same as what we have in the mall,” Puza said.
Work on the building and grounds started in April and picked up steam during the summer. The project will include new metal siding similar to that of the neighboring Dollar General store, as well as a large parking lot behind the building and an access road off Mortorelli Drive.
“It won’t look anything like it does now when we’re done,” Puza said. “The whole outside will be brand new.”
Tenant businesses Shirts Unlimited, Superior Fly Angler and Once Again Used and New will remain in the building.
Shirts Unlimited will even grow. Owner Tina Prior said 1,000 square feet will be added to the shop and an interior wall will be opened so both storefronts will be connected.
In one storefront Tuesday, Nov. 20, a mother and daughter picked up a Spartan letter jacket. In the other, Prior’s daughter Taylor embroidered the finishing touches on custom jackets for snocross racers.
Business has tripled since Shirts Unlimited moved to the Erlanson Building in 2013, Prior said.
The building, at more than 100 years old, has been a challenge to remodel, however.
“Structurally, we’ve run into some issues, that’s for sure, but we tried to save everything we can,” Puza said.
In addition to some foundation cracking and footing issues, the wall of Prior’s shop started to fall when construction crews dug under it to put in new gas lines.
“It’s an adventure every day,” Shirts Unlimited graphic designer Savanna Schatz said.
Employees at the fly fishing shop said they appreciated the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning that have been added as well.
About 99 percent of Fastenal’s sales are business-to-business transactions.
“We are open to the public. We’re open to people who need different parts for whatever they’re working on, but it’s a very small portion of our business,” Puza said.
Fastenal carries merchandise in 13 categories, from fasteners, safety equipment and cutting tools to chemicals, paints and material handling supplies.
“It’s a one-stop shop for a business,” Puza said.
Fastenal opened its Superior store about 12 years ago.
“We started over on Ogden Avenue by Carlson Ice,” Puza said. “As we outgrew that location, we moved to the mall and now as we’re outgrowing the mall, we have found this location.”
The Superior store employs nine people and is backed by a multi-billion-dollar company.
“We’re in all 50 states and 23 countries,” Puza said.
With headquarters based in Winona, Minnesota, Fastenal has 25,000 employees and 2,500 stores in the United States.
“We definitely try to be a small-town community type business, but we’re backed by a pretty large corporation,” Puza said.
The business’ local growth speaks for itself.
“Superior has been a really good town to be in for the business and community wise, so we like to put back in when we can,” Puza said. “We like to reinvest back in the community, so that’s why we’ve looked at buying this building and upgrading it.”