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Johnson Builders and Realtors moves into its new location

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Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/all/themes/dglobe_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Johnson Builders and Realtors moves into its new location
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Johnson Builders & Realtors Inc.'s new headquarters on Oxford Street is part office, part showcase. It not only provides ample space for both the realty and construction aspects of the business, but also gives customers an idea of what can be accomplished in their own projects.

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Johnson Builders and Realtors has been located in the same spot at 1114 Oxford St. for close to 20 years, according to owners and brothers Steve Johnson and Mike Johnson. The enterprise was founded in the early 1940s by their grandfather, Miles Johnson, who was joined in business by their father, Donovan Johnson, in the 1950s. The Johnson brothers later came aboard and purchased the business in 1985.

Although the building -- which once housed a Laundromat and was remodeled to suit their needs -- was functional, it badly needed an upgrade.

"We had wanted to do something for a long time, but the timing wasn't right," explained Steve. "But it got to the point where we just needed to do something. The old building was just tired."

"The building was worn out," concurred Mike, "and we've done a lot of nice buildings for other people around town ... and we thought maybe it was time for us to do something."

Around Labor Day last year, the Johnson staff took up temporary residence in a building on North McMillan Street, and the building was razed to make way for new construction. Mike and Steve had some definite ideas about what they wanted to incorporate into the new structure, but also solicited ideas from their employees. However, the general layout of the office spaces stayed the same.

"We had the plan out for a long time, and everybody shared their thoughts," Steve said. "But everybody was pleased with the arrangement in the old building, so that worked out well."

"Steve and I really wanted to keep the building looking homey, not commercial," explained Mike. "We wanted to bring that residential touch to the area with different roof lines, dormers."

The dormers are a fa?ade, noted Steve, with no upstairs to the facility. There is, however, a downstairs -- a half-basement that provided much-needed storage. The new building is only 300 square feet larger than its predecessor.

The colors and many of the materials for the interior design were selected by Kristy Taylor, one of the Johnson Realtors. The Johnsons also incorporated some amenities to serve as examples to potential clients, making the building a working model. For instance, the main conference room features substantial crown molding, and the woodwork is maple, opposed to the traditional oak that Johnson Builders is known for using. In the construction offices, cabinetry will be installed that incorporates several types of wood.

"We can display a lot of things, like cabinetry samples on a small scale, so that people can pick out things to go into their home," Mike said. "It's helpful for people to physically see it."

Another benefit to the business is an expanded parking area that extends back to adjacent Trojan Field.

"We worked on that in cooperation with the school district, to develop that parking area over onto their property" said Steve.

For the realty aspect of the business, the Johnsons have seven Realtors, a closing agent and secretary on staff, while the construction trade includes eight carpenters and a construction manager. Steve generally oversees the realty operations, and Mike is in charge of construction.

In the real estate market, Johnson Builders and Realtors averages 140 to 150 sales per year. The construction business includes residential, commercial and industrial developments. The Johnsons are currently working on their 11th addition in the Homewood Hills area, which was originally developed by their father.

"We've developed a relationship with Highland Manufacturing to utilize their modular homes in the Northland Park addition," explained Steve. "We were impressed with the quality and think there's a strong market for that price range. We've been pleased to develop a relationship with another local company. That's been exciting for us."

There are still a few finishing touches left to be applied to the new Johnson building and landscaping to be completed, but the staff members are permanently settled into their new home.

"We have great people here who make it happen," Steve said.

"It's a great staff, a great team," Mike said. "It really is a team."

An open house will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the new Johnson facility, 114 Oxford St. Refreshments will be served.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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