It has the makings of a great riddle: what's a West Michigan company that does amazing work and creates products Grand Rapidians know well, but not very many people know its name?
This is a tough one, because unless you are an owner or in management within the local hospitality industry, you probably have never heard of Studio Wise — even though you have most likely enjoyed an experience brought to you by the company at a local restaurant or brewery.
Eric Lanning, a Studio Wise partner, says the relative anonymity goes with the territory of making products for other people in the B2B (business to business) space.
"Our name is not necessarily well known among the general public, but if you mention Studio Wise to members of the hospitality design and owner community, you'll find many folks who know us well,” he says.
Studio Wise designs spaces and manufactures a wide variety of products for the hospitality industry. Lanning explains their business is about helping customers create something really interesting and unique.
"At the fundamental level, we're makers of really cool stuff,” he says. “But in reality, we help establish designs of spaces to help owners realize their vision, we translate those designs into tangible pieces, and we produce those pieces. All of this results in iconic spaces that people fall in love with. A few that you might recognize are Maru, Brewery Vivant, Cedar Springs Brewing Co., and, coming soon, New Holland Brewing on Bridge Street."
The firm was founded more than eight years ago by Troy Bosworth and now has three partners. Bosworth directs the creative efforts and product design, John VanZee oversees production, operations, vendor relationships, and Lanning manages finances, as well as the Studio Wise product sales representative network. Lanning says the 16-person firm does not work from a formal hierarchy and instead focus on great design and getting the job done.
“'We don't go by titles, as we all focus on doing whatever needs to be done,” he explains.
With its local success and well established reputation, Studio Wise is entering the next phase of its growth, which will require a little less anonymity. Lanning says Bosworth had an early vision to not only design and produce products for their customers but to also establish their own product line and brand.
The firm now offers two table lines that include FUSE, a line of custom finishes that are available in solid hardwood butcher block and veneer, and POP, a powder coated wood, which are available in any color, size and shape.
"We know a lot of people want to buy our products so we are now working on creating and expanding a national sales organization,” Lanning says.
To learn more about Studio Wise, you can visit their site here. If you have an interested in working at Studio Wise, the firm has an immediate opening for a wood finisher. You can contact them directly to learn more.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor