Photo: Art Sidner
Mankato: Northern Energy Homes
Melissa Orthun and her brother Michael Stenzel know something about houses.
Their grandfather, Walter, and his brother, Charlie, were prominent home builders in the Mankato area from the 1960s to 1980s, and their father Mark Stenzel started Northern Energy Homes, Inc., based in Wells, in 1986. While Mark Stenzel has pretty much retired, Orthun said, his wife Mardel still works here, along with Orthun and her brother Michael.
“It’s been our heritage for a long time,” said Orthun, who acts as the business office manager.
Michael Stenzel has worked at Northern Energy Homes for 11 years, but Orthun joined the business in 2014, after working nine years in the automotive industry. She said she needed a change—and now she loves her job so much, there’s no going back.
In September, the siblings moved the location of their business to Mankato, branching out from a small basement office to a renovated auto repair shop that now features a showroom with private offices, two custom kitchens, a custom fireplace and a custom tile bathroom.
Orthun said that the decision to move locations came about because most of their housing orders were coming from the Mankato area, so they wanted to be closer to their customers. And thanks to the new showroom, customers are also able to better examine what the business offers.
According to Orthun, Northern Energy Homes helps customers line up everything from a house design to finding the right lot to installing kitchen cabinets. While they work with subcontractors, they still walk customers through every stage of the project.
“We take all of our customers to every place, to look at the flooring, the windows, etc.,” she said. “Everything is very hands-on. All you have to do is come to us, and we’ll take care of everything from there. We’re a one-stop-shop.”
Northern Energy Homes
Address: 1750 Bassett Drive