A vacant building and an entrepreneurial spirit helped launch a small Michigan manufacturer

A veteran of the beverage industry, in 2010 Mike Otterbine found himself with a vacant facility and an entrepreneurial spirit. After selling distribution rights to Chippewa Beverage where Otterbine previously served as president, he wracked his brain to come up with an idea for a business that could provide a service his hometown needed, a passion project for the second half of his career, and a purpose for the former sugar beet factory on West Pickard that formerly housed the beverage company.

By February of 2016, he had his answer: custom-made trailers. “While trying to find a way to utilize the property I already owned, I was drawn in by the market for these particular vehicles. The need for this equipment always has and always will be there,” he explained, but a constant need doesn't mean a smooth start. As someone brand new to manufacturing, Otterbine says he found both opening a business and entering a new industry to be, “quite the learning experience.”

 

Otterbine invested heavily in both time and money at the start in order to learn new skills, and gain knowledge of the manufacturing industry in general and that has really paid off. Today, MVM7 is flourishing, recently expanding into providing trailers at retail prices to the general public, as well as offering built-to-specification trailers for both businesses and individuals.

Today, MVM7 trailers can be found all over the country, from New Hampshire to California and many states in between.

 

Otterbine says that in its third year of operation MVM7 is looking to find its place in the hearts of the people of the Mt. Pleasant community. “We really care about the community and look forward to finding opportunities for more involvement very soon," he shared. Recently, the business has put some of its focus on creating smaller, more localized aluminum products, like shanties intended for ice fishing on local lakes.

Otterbine hopes his business will become a staple among other local establishments in Mt. Pleasant and plans to offer ongoing opportunities for local talent, in addition to high quality products and services. “We are always accepting applications and looking to hire good, local people,” he said.

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