Jeff and Gina Halter and their children were living in Florida but longed to move back to the region to be close to family. Relocation also presented a chance to branch out in a totally new career direction.
The couple searched for a business to buy – one that felt like a good fit – and in 2016 they took ownership of Range Steel Fabricators (RSF) in Hibbing. Although neither had any experience in the metal fabrication business, the 100-year-old company offered plenty of opportunity for new growth.
That was a challenge the Halters wanted and welcomed.
Northland Foundation had a part in securing financing for the purchase, as well as loans to put up a large addition equipped with a 10-ton overhead crane and high-end CNC burn table. Jeff describes it as the best table north of the Twin Cities, capable of precision cutting sheets of steel up to 8’ x 24’.
For the first five years, Gina and Jeff aggressively invested in RSF by adding the new equipment, diversifying product lines, and nearly tripling the number of workers. Then came 2020.
It was their vision for expansion, supported by flexible financing, that helped save the day. The increased capacity “kept us alive during the pandemic” said Jeff, “with the ability to win projects we could not have done without the new building and equipment.”
Now, well into 2021, things are settling down. Jeff and Gina are focused on sales and marketing and further developing their team. They have grown steadily from a half-dozen employees in 2016 to 25 today.
The Halters’ gutsy move and willingness to go all-in is paying off. A longtime Iron Range-based business is stronger than ever, and a young family has put down roots in the community.