MNS is the second business to occupy the land at 1200 Judd Avenue. The Alabastine Mining Company began open quarry mining on the site in the early 1890s in search of gypsum. In 1907 they began exploiting the rich gypsum deposits in the area and began a full-blown mining operation. This endeavor continued until 1943 when the company was forced into bankruptcy. The property remained vacant until 1946 when Bert Kragt purchased it with the intention of manufacturing furniture. He purchased the property and attempted to bring his vision to fruition. Unfortunately, the operation did not prove to be as successful as he had hoped.
In the meantime, the local wholesale produce market relocated near 1200 Judd and this gave Kragt a terrific idea for the use of the property.
The six miles of tunnel he had acquired naturally held a cooling temperature of 50° F creating the perfect environment for storing and distributing produce. So Kragt and his son Paul began clearing out the tunnels, pouring concrete floors and creating a suitable warehouse for produce storage. In 1957 Michigan Natural Storage Company was founded.
Throughout the 1960s, additional space was added to the underground facility and more commodities were included in the goods stored. As the business grew his other son Rich was hired on. The business continued grow, slowly at first, but as more customers were added, more employees were needed. By 1973, the volume of frozen commodities exceeded the capacity of the old elevator, and the first freezer was built above ground. A second freezer followed in 1975 and a third in 1977.
The 1980s brought continued growth. A second, larger elevator shaft was added to enhance the capacity of the mine. This coincided with the addition of another freezer in 1982, creating a separate complex on the property. Further expansion of this complex occurred in 1986, 1991 and 1993. During this time, storage space was also added in the mine, a process that continues almost every year as needed.
By the 1990s, the third generation of the Kragt family was actively involved in the business. At present, our employees operate over 400,000 square feet of storage space. Michigan Natural Storage has become a full service warehouse supported by over 200 years of combined experience in warehousing.