Many Michigan residents have experienced the old-fashioned charm of Mackinac Island. Some have enjoyed scenic horse carriage or bike rides, unspoiled by the commotion of auto traffic due to the island’s longstanding motor vehicles ban.
Perhaps they even wondered about people who live in the houses they saw. But have they asked themselves how exactly island residents take care of their homes in such a remote place? Have they asked themselves, “How exactly do things get done up here?”
Recently, Saginaw remodeling and energy efficiency company Phoenix Über Renewal discovered first hand the challenges of doing business in a place that, by design, lacks many modern conveniences. A mid-sized crew travelled to the island to replace a roof and renovate a deck of one of the island’s few year-round residents.
“At first I thought there would be an exception to the vehicle ban due to all of the materials needed,” says Phoenix Über Renewal project coordinator Bill McDonald. “But, boy was I wrong about that!” He goes on to explain that vehicle exceptions can be obtained during the tourism off-season, but his customer wanted to begin her project immediately.
Phoenix Über Renewal’s supplier delivered all of the materials to St. Ignace. Then, McDonald accompanied the materials on a ferry to the island. Once on the island, materials typically hauled with trailers and large trucks were carried to the customer’s home via horse dray. A dray is a small trailer hauled by two horses, and it is the only means of transporting materials and tools from the ferry dock to a customer’s house (unless of course, you wanted to walk them there.)
“Business as usual becomes much more challenging when multiple trips are required where usually only one is necessary.” McDonald states. “And you have to be sure not to forget anything!” Extra tools and odds and ends are a ferry-ride away.
Other challenges included walking 2 ½ miles to get dinner and using mainly electric tools due to limited gas availability on the island.
McDonald, however, does recognize how the low-tech method of working suits the energy efficient nature of his business. “Since we couldn’t use machines and vehicles like we normally do, everything was handled with people and horses. So that made the whole project very energy efficient!”
Phoenix Über Renewal is a division of the Cech Corporation, a Michigan company that has been family owned and operated since 1936. Phoenix Über Renewal provides service to the entire state of Michigan.
Source: Phoenix Über Renewal