ONE OF THE Marquette area’s best known family businesses is changing hands after more than 60 years.
Fraco, known for its masonry, concrete and retaining wall work, is being sold by the Frazier family to the Crimmins family. The deal should be completed by May 1.
Don’t expect any big changes at Fraco because there won’t be any. Business as usual. Lin Frazier is staying on as president and the entire staff is being retained. It will be a stand-alone company and the name “Fraco” remains, as well.
So why the change? Frazier said Fraco had been doing so much business–rocks and such–with Lindberg and Sons, owned by the Crimmins family, over the last few decades that it just made sense to finally merge the two operations.
Frazier expects to remain with the company for another 2-5 years before retiring.
YOU WOULDN’T KNOW it by looking at their entrance–no big sign, just a single, inconspicuous door with the words “Easy Ice” on it–but Marquette is home to one of the fastest growing businesses in the state.
Easy Ice. The company leases ice-making machines to “subscribers”–restaurants, bars, universities, stadiums–all over the nation. All repairs, maintenance, and back-up emergency ice are guaranteed for a single monthly fee.
The company is the brainchild of Mark Hangen who spends half his time in Marquette, the other half in Scottsdale, Arizona.
He started the business in 2009, and since then, he says, revenue has grown every single month. Pretty impressive.
Easy Ice now has 7000 machines in 46 states. Revenue last year was $15 million.
Hangen sees no reason for the explosive growth to slow down. Why? Because ice machines–combining water and electricity–can be a pain in the ass to maintain, and business owners don’t want the hassle and uncertainty. They just want ice every day, guaranteed.
Easy Ice, behind that inconspicuous little door on West Washington Street, is the only company that provides this kind of subscription service for the entire nation.
A NEW FACE at Fox UP.
Justin Razavi, out of the St. Louis area, started anchoring their 10 pm news on Friday night, taking the place of Ben Oldach, who’s moved on to Des Moines.
Razavi comes here after a stint in Peoria as a producer. He’s also worked in sales for tech companies.
Steve Asplund, the news director at both TV6 and Fox UP, may have plugged one hole at the Fox station but now he’s got five others to deal with at TV6. That’s right, five.
- Reporter Rebecca Himmelstein recently left to take a job in Grand Rapids. Nice move for her.
- Weekend anchor and weekday reporter Nick Brennan is leaving shortly.
- Videographer Phil Ford is taking a job in Fargo as a sports producer.
- The Escanaba bureau reporter’s job is still unfilled.
- The morning producer’s job is also open.
Anybody want to get into the glorious and lucrative profession of TV news?
WELL, NOT SO glorious for some alumni of Upper Peninsula television.
Former Local 3 anchor Gabe Caggiano has pled guilty to federal stalking charges. He faces up to five years in prison. He’ll be sentenced on July 13.
It’s a strange, sad and frightening story. Caggiano, who had been a well-traveled TV journalist prior to arriving here, left Local 3 rather suddenly last year; the station never explained why but it was clear they wanted him gone.
Turns out, back in 2008 he had stalked and threatened one of his former news managers in San Antonio, Texas. The manager’s wife had also been threatened.
Then last year after the charges were filed, he had his bail revoked when it was alleged that he had been fondling himself in front of other people, including a child. So he’s spent the last four months in jail.
And now a guilty plea and the prospect of prison.
Caggiano had a reputation as a tempestuous character while he was here. Apparently the man was fighting some demons.
WHILE YOU MAY have been briefly distracted by an irresponsible report about Marquette’s iconic ore dock back on April 1st, there’s actually something happening with the ore dock. Honest.
Actually, the low profile effort’s been underway for four years. A group known as the Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center has been meeting regularly with the idea of transforming the ore dock into a publicly owned botanical and ecological center.
With a promenade around the huge structure and through it. With trees, plants, and gardens, inside and out. Meeting rooms. An amphitheater. A venue for exhibitions and festivals. A place to fish.
Yeah, yeah, you say. Nice idea. Nice pipe dream.
Well, these are serious people, headed up by Gisele Duehring, a mechanical engineer who started with a few rudimentary sketches on a piece of paper five years ago. Now the group is making presentations and has entered the SmartPrize competition in town this week. (You can see their exhibit in the lobby of the Landmark Inn.)
They hope to go before the Planning Commission within the next couple of months.
How much money do they need? Four million dollars, they figure, just to get the promenade built. That’s a lot, but grants are available and foundations are known to be generous when history is being preserved, the educational benefits are clear, and the public–all of us–get to enjoy it.
It might be more than a pipe dream.
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