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Lakestate Industries expands to Marquette area

July 30, 2014
JOHN PEPIN and RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writers ( , Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Lakestate Industries, which has been established in Escanaba for over 40 years, recently expanded to the Marquette area, opening an outlet at the former Varvil Center in Chocolay Township.

A non-profit, Lakestate is a vocational training center for people with barriers to employment.

"We're very excited to be in Marquette," said Lakestate's executive director, Cheryl Ohman. "We really want to be a part of the community and have the community accept us and we want to be available to businesses."

Article Photos

Lakestate Industries makes products including fire starters made from wax, shredded paper and cardboard rolls. (Journal file photo)

The organization has about 80 people working at the Marquette location and 180 in Escanaba. The outlets make products including firestarters made from wax, shredded paper and cardboard rolls.

Like the Escanaba location, the Marquette outlet does document shredding, janitorial contracts and sells the firestarters, which are produced and packaged by Lakestate Industries trainees and employees.

Other products the organization makes include pallet cutstock, wood pallets and survey stakes.

"Whether it be notched stringers, unnotched stringers or deckboards; we can make the size you need. We produce both hardwood and softwood pallet cutstock in a wide variety of lengths and widths," the organization's website said of the cutstock. "No matter what size pallet you manufacture we can supply you with the stringers and deckboards you need."

Pallets are hand-crafted and designed and engineered to exact specifications. A range of survey are manufactured including lath, hubs, grade stakes, garden stakes and tree stakes.

The people who work at Lakestate earn a paycheck based on how well they work.

In Escanaba, Lakestate workers shred confidential documents brought to the facility from Delta County and, in Marquette County, the same service is provided at the new location.

Lakestate expanded to Marquette on July 1, 2013 and then relocated to its outlet along M-28 in the

Workers at Lakestate also subcontract for some assembly-type work, for example, punching holes out of piece work that needs to hang on hooks in stores or stuffing envelopes.

Light assembly work like gluing sticks on paper fans is another undertaking.

"We also, for example, do survey stakes for AT&T," she said.

Lakestate also manages the recycling center for Delta County.

Ohman said some businesses with work to do may find it easier or cheaper to have Lakestate do it for them.

"We have people who are ready to work," she said.

Lakestate workers also produce furniture sold in the Rustic Room onsite in Escanaba and online.

"We sell a lot of our furniture to outdoor organizations like Ducks Unlimited," Ohman said. "These items are used as prizes in raffles."

For more information on Lakestate Industries, visit its website at or call 273-2131 for the Marquette outlet or 786-9212 for Escanaba.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.



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