Grown Locally: Putting people first, Epic Manufacturing.    

February 18, 2022

Grown Locally: Putting people first, Epic Manufacturing.    

Grown Locally is presented by House of Flavors Restaurant of Ludington and features locally owned businesses and locally produced products.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

  • Epic, (noun): A long story of adventure, heroic feats and legendary history. 
  • Job shop, (noun): A business that performs custom parts manufacturing for other businesses. 
  • Epic Manufacturing Inc., (noun): A locally owned job shop owned by siblings Mike Anderson and Jill Peterson, utilizing the skills of third generation machinist Paul Cooper. 

LUDINGTON — Epic Manufacturing Inc. officially began operating in October 2020 after owners Mike Anderson and Jill Peterson, who also own Anderson Electrical Services, saw a need for a machine shop in Mason County. They brought on their friend Paul Cooper to lead the shop.

Paul is a third generation machinist, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Fred L. Harrington, along with his father, Duane Cooper and uncle, Fred T. Harrington. Mike and Jill are part of a third generation electrical business, started by their grandfather, Willie Case, and continued by their father, Tim Anderson. 

“We really enjoy the history that came before us and the adventure that is ahead of us,” Jill said.

Harrington Tool was an anchor business of downtown Ludington for over 50 years. Fred L. Harrington started the business in 1937 and moved it to Ludington in 1957. While at Harrington Tool, Paul was the shop manager and learned all he could from the skilled machinists who worked there. Harrington Tool, located at the northwest corner of Ludington and Rath avenues, closed in 2013. 

Paul spent 10 years working for a company in Manistee when he and Mike started forming the idea for Epic. 

“I left a job that was paying very well,” Paul said. “It’s always kind of scary to leave that comfort and to take a new risk. But, it’s great to be back working in Ludington and serving Mason County,” Paul said. “I strongly believe in putting the customer first and working with Mike and Jill gives me that freedom.”

Paul said many of Harrington’s former customers are now customers of Epic. In its short time, Epic has built professional relationships with Lake Michigan Carferry, FloraCraft, House of Flavors Manufacturing, and many more area industries, including farmers. 

“We create parts for people who are creating products and services,” Jill said. “Our clients do not need quantity parts but typically need a speciality part created.”

Paul said he enjoys the challenge of solving problems for customers. “When I was at Harrington, I had a whole team to work with. At Epic, it’s me and one other person working in the back designing and fabricating the product. But, it’s a great experience.” 

The one other full time employee is John Mucinski, who comes to Epic after spending decades in Grand Rapids working in the tool and dye industry. Mike, and Jill’s husband, George, also offer their help with problem solving and providing support elsewhere in the business. 

Jill said the business philosophy behind Epic is to follow an “80/20” model, meaning that the business will spend 80 percent of its time and energy producing an income for its owners and employees to make a living while it then spends 20 percent of its time and energy helping people. 

“That type of help may be working with someone to create a prototype for an inventor, or just helping the community,” Jill said. 

Adding to the heritage element that is important to the Epic team, the company has been able to buy back several of the machines that once belonged to Harrington Tool. 

“It’s been really special to be able to use these machines again,” Paul said. “The real challenge is now getting more people to work with the machines.” 

“Machinists are typically at least 55-years-old or older,” Mike said. “We really want to find a way to work with West Shore Community College and other educational institutions and develop a program to train machinists. It’s a great career that offers lifelong skills.” 

Epic Manufacturing Inc. is located at 5608 W. Sixth St. It can be reached at 231-425-3138 or inquiries@epicmfginc.com. 

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