By Heidi Sampson
Special to The Free Press
MANKATO — Within the Mankato Design Center on Madison Avenue, is a collaborative effort to bring all aspects of the home building experience into one location for the ease of the homeowner or potential homebuilder. Among the different businesses in the Design Center, is Artisans, formerly known as Mankato CabinetCraft and Artisan Exteriors.
This past fall, the two businesses combined into one. Artisans is owned by Karl Wendland, Rich Amundson and Tony Wagner, however only Karl and Rich are at the Artisans location, which specializes in design, sales and retail of both interior and exterior building products. Tony heads up Blue Lion Cabinetry of Madison Lake, a company that is also owned by Karl. Blue Lion Cabinetry manufactures custom cabinetry and mill work exclusively for Artisans.
“Karl was a partner in Artisan Exteriors but he also owned Mankato CabinetCraft and Blue Lion Cabinetry as well,” said Rich. “As far as this site was concerned, it just made more sense for us to work under a company with only one name.”
Blue Lion Cabinetry
Fifteen years ago, Karl started Blue Lion Cabinetry after attending Hennepin Technical College’s two year cabinet program. At the time Karl started the business, a building boom was in full swing.
“When I started Blue Lion Cabinetry, it was almost all referrals and word of mouth that brought business into the company,” said Karl. “I still think your best customers are those who are referred to your business and that was a lot of what we relied on to get people in the door.”
Karl operated Blue Lion Cabinetry for 12 years. Around 2009, a group of investors bought the Mankato Design Center building with the concept of bringing in different building elements into one location. Blue Lion Cabinetry was selected for the cabinet and countertop component, while lighting, flooring, and interior designers would also occupy the open collaborative concept.