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Local businessmen set up shop at former Straub building

Staff writer

When Mike Beneke bought the former Straub International building at 601 W. Main St. in Marion, he needed it mainly as storage for his farm equipment.

Two local businessmen saw the office and store section as an opportunity for a headquarters, and both have rented space in the building.

Chris Sprowls had been working for Winter Construction for at least 16 years when Earl Winter retired in 2018. He decided to create his own business, Sprowls Construction Restoration, and hired Todd Winter as an employee. He is a sub-contractor that provides historic window restoration.

Sprowls and Winter had worked together under Winter Construction to redo the courthouse windows. This was an opportunity to continue in that line of work, Sprowls said.

He is grateful for the opportunity Beneke gave him to have a large shop in Marion.

“I’d like to stay in Marion all of the time and not travel out of state and be away from my family,” he said. “Mike has done wonders for us and for the Marion area. He couldn’t be nicer to get along with. We all get along.”

Sprowls has lived in Marion since fourth grade. His wife, Sandy, works at Container Services in Hillsboro. They have three grown children — Tina, Randi, and Matt — and seven grandchildren.

Winter grew up at Marion. His wife, Shawna, works in the physical therapy department at St. Luke Hospital. Their daughter Grace is a senior, and son Campbell is a sophomore.

Sprowls and Winter spent 10 months working on windows on a historic 100-year-old hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. Now, they are repairing and repainting window frames from the historic flourmill at Lindsborg.

NF Construction, general contractor

Cody Nelson is a general contractor who operates NF Construction. He collaborated with Ron Fowles of Manhattan to establish the business. The company was incorporated in May 2017 and oversees construction of commercial enterprises.

Nelson graduated from Council Grove High School in 1999 but has lived in rural Marion since 2010. His younger brothers, Cory and Casey, are Marion High School graduates.

Nelson has a degree in construction science and management from Kansas State University and has been involved in construction management since graduating from college.

His business started in Manhattan, and he began to pick up quite a few jobs in McPherson.

He started looking for an office in Marion. He had known Beneke for years, and reached out to him.

“It made sense to have an office here,” he said. “The space works out well for us.”

He manages commercial and public projects. As a general contractor, he is required to have general liability and workmen’s compensation insurance and follow all government rules and regulations.

NF Construction bids for projects within a 100-mile radius of Marion. Nelson handled the remodel of the KDOT building at Marion. He oversaw the first phase of the county transfer station and has submitted bids on the next two phases. He is the general contractor for the job that Sprowls is doing for the Lindsborg mill.

“We’ve been successful,” he said. “I like building stuff. It’s neat to see a remodeled project finished or to see nothing and building something on it. It can be stressful at times, but it’s a challenge, and at the end of the day, it’s rewarding.”

His wife, Libby, is a nurse. Their two sons, 16-year-old Rope and 6-year-old Tripp, attend Marion schools.

Last modified Dec. 19, 2019

 

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