Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. -Theodore Roosevelt
Our home state, North Dakota, is booming. It is in the headlines, negative and positive. We want to make a difference for good, doing what we know best. What do we know best? Building. It’s in my husband’s family’s blood. For generations.
In 1962, my father-in-law, Eldon, started working as a carpenter in North Dakota. His dad was a carpenter in rural North Dakota. His grandpa, Henry, was a carpenter, originally in Germany and immigrated to the United States, eventually making his home in rural North Dakota. Henry’s tools are still treasured possessions of our family’s. In 1976, Eldon and my mother-in-law, Carol purchased the lumberyard in Wishek, North Dakota. The buildings are over 100 years old and Eldon and Carol are just the third owners of the business in Wishek. My husband, Nathan, grew up in the Pinke Lumber business as his passion. I always said since I met him that talking about the lumberyard made his eyes sparkle.
But Nathan didn’t want to be a builder or a lumberyard owner, he thought in his young age. He was ready for the big world beyond rural North Dakota. He earned a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He spent years in sales and sales management in the pharmaceutial industry with great success, opportunity and growth. The future was bright and he needed to make a leap to keep climbing the corporate wheel or change his path. With age and experience, your priorities often change and refocus.
After our marriage had started, Nathan and I decided climbing the corporate wheel and potentially relocating far from our home and family wasn’t going to be best for our son, Hunter, who was a third grader at the time or for the future children we hoped to have.
So on a bit of a whim, over the phone, while he sat in a far away hotel room and I, at our previous home in Fargo, North Dakota, I said “Let’s move to Wishek!” It meant a huge change for Nathan. But I knew it was in his heart at age 31 to be back with his parents in the business he loved. The leap was not easy. We couldn’t see the future but had faith. We made the leap into the family lumberyard business six years ago, with the help and support of Eldon and Carol.
Today we are owners together in the family business. And we are growing with the state we love. 85% of our business is agriculture related to buildings and custom homes on farms. But 200 miles to the west of us is an energy boom, with more jobs than people. North Dakota needs affordable housing in order to be able to keep up with the growth and sustain.
How could use what we know to address a need while growing our family business? We want housing for families to fulfill their American dream with new jobs and new money in North Dakota. Therefore, what started out as dream and then to a flushed out idea around Eldon and Carol’s kitchen table has turned into a reality due to the tenacity and work of my husband and father-in-law. Pinke Homes starts today. It is a new business for us. We are going to build homes using local contractors, across the street from our lumberyard that can be moved and relocated more than 60 miles from where we are located. Within 60 miles, we still can build on-site with the local crews we partner with.
But our first Pinke Homes house isn’t being moved. We decided our first Pinke Homes house would be in the small town that is our home. We want to fill a need in housing in our home town and to jump-start hopefully a new housing development that was already in the works through the city and local economic development.
It is a duplex, designed by Eldon and Nathan, built by people who we know and trust, our friends that have local concrete, carpentry, electrical, heating, plumbing and other businesses.
The duplex is for long-term rental in our small town. Tonight we are having an open house to spark interest and ideas about building and growing North Dakota, one home at a time.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. My dad said that quote to me many, many times in my childhood. It’s originally a Theodore Roosevelt quote. But I only know it as my dad’s. Our family believes those words and lives them out in many aspects of our lives everyday.
We are doing what we know to do the best we can for our home, North Dakota. The first home that will be built to be moved is called the McIntosh Custom Built Home, named after our county. As construction gets started on it, I am thinking already of a family in North Dakota that may buy that house to become their home. It’s a tiny bit that we can do to make a difference for good in our home state while expanding our family business and creating hopefully a few more jobs in our small town.
It’s our family story that I am proud to be a part of, here in North Dakota.