The building in Karlstad, MN, that housed furniture for nearly 70 years will soon become home to historic Mattracks vehicles and memorabilia. The two major participants in the deal, former furniture storeowner Loren Germundson and Mattracks founder and CEO, Glen Brazier, couldn’t be more pleased.
Brazier says the old furniture store is the “absolute perfect fit” for the Mattracks Innovation Center. He said, “It’s on Main Street. It’s going to be a real asset to the community.”
“I’m very glad that he got it,” Germundson said. “He’ll fill up the empty building on Main Street. I think he’ll do a good job. The community will be surprised by what it’s going to be.” Germundson says the building has been a furniture store since 1948, though he didn’t get involved with the furniture business until 1965 when he became a partner with Bert Trane in his store. Germundson has been the sole owner of the business since 1979. He retired in November 2017, and says he enjoys it “more and more all the time”.
“It’s our 25th year this year” says Brazier of the company he started in 1994, adding that they are the “original inventors of rubber track conversion.” “They” includes his son, Matthew, who at age 11 inspired his father with his drawing of a truck with tracks instead of tires.
“We’re in more than 100 countries and all seven continents,” Brazier said.
Brazier has saved items both big and small from the past 25 years. “I have saved most of the unique things and I’ve got it stored away,” he says. He would have even more things saved had it not been for the wildfire of 2012, which destroyed a million and a half dollars worth of Brazier’s property.
A visit to a warehouse east of town provides a glimpse into what the Mattracks Innovation Center will contain. Brazier has been creating since he was very young and photos displayed show some of those creations—a snowmobile, helicopter, hot rod and UTV to name a few. Brazier mentions that he was the “original inventor of the deer whistle.”
“I have 68 patents throughout the world,” Brazier pointed out. He showed a pickup which displays the first tracks made by Mattracks and a T-1 robot which was used in the movie, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. A 1978 LeMans has a video playing above it which shows how the car can function as a boat. Brazier modified the vehicle to give it buoyancy and took it on the Mississippi River in 1992 in honor of his 40 birthday. A T-4, built for the military and a Vikings cart used in a Super Bowl advertisement are only two more of the many vehicles in the warehouse which visitors will be able to view at the Mattracks Innovation Center.
Brazier is making plans to remodel the front and inside of the old furniture store and set it up for displays. He plans to have the center open by Moosefest 2019 at which time he will host a celebration. He says the center will include a section devoted to Kick’n Up Kountry and Hopes, Dreams and Smiles (an organization which pays the for seriously ill children and their families to attend the country music festival). “And as things go, we’ll be changing things,” says Brazier, adding that, in an effort to support the community, he may eventually include displays for other businesses.
Brazier is excited about purchasing the building and opening the center in Karlstad. Though he says he’s owned businesses in several other places (and maintains an office in Shanghai), “Karlstad has by far been the nicest community with the nicest people.”
Mattracks has been the leader in the rubber track conversion market since its inception in 1994, since then has shipped products to more than 100 countries and can be found in operation on all seven continents.
Contact Mattracks www.mattracks.com.