When Merric Millwork & Seating recently worked on a new, four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Wentzville, MO, the project traded on its capabilities in finishing. Merric, based in St. Louis, handcrafted and installed lobby casework, cabinets, millwork, trim/panels, seating, and registration desks, as well as guestroom millwork. It also stained veneer suite soffits for 23 king suites for the client. Midas Hospitality of St. Louis was the project developer and Killian Construction, Springfield, MO, was general contractor.
Finishing was also key when plans were drawn on another project, this one involving renovation of a chain hotel in an affluent Los Angeles suburb into a boutique inn, The Anza Hotel. This time the focus was a modern design, contemporary decor, and a casual vibe. The client sought “casual, but timeless” and “modern, but comfortable.” They also called for a distressed, grayed-out wood finish to be used on the bar’s millwork.
Working under the direction of California-based general contractors Comren, Inc., Merric Millwork & Seating implemented the grain-defining cerusing technique. Done by hand in the hotel’s bar on panels, columns and die walls, the distressed effect opened the wood pores, putting the grain in relief.
By necessity, Merric performed the custom cerusing process on each component by hand, sanding each piece, then scratching the wood’s surface with a wire brush, going with the grain, to create the distressed effect. Merric then stained, sealed, scuffed and glazed each piece, before adding a double top coat. The process helped to achieve the owner’s vision for a casual, but modern hotel.
“We are seeing an increase in requests for custom finishes like cerusing,” said Merric CEO Dan Claypool. “There are also fewer and fewer woodworking shops like ours with the capabilities and the expertise to do this type of work on a large scale.”
Merric also crafted the hotel’s front desk, computer stand, sundries area, coffee/condiment station, cafe bar, wall panels, fireplace mantle and wood slat screen walls.
Furniture Brands Background
Claypool, a former Furniture Brands executive, acquired Merric Millwork & Seating in December 2012, when its owner retired.
“Assuming ownership of Merric was a nice fit for me after having worked in supply chain management, sales and customer service for Furniture Brands International.
“While there, I learned the ins and outs of the furniture manufacturing industry and how to develop a world-class sales and operations plan for a $1.5 billion company,” Claypool says of his background. “When the opportunity to purchase Merric presented itself, I had the experience and was excited to make the move.”
Claypool said last year that Merric’s revenue has increased by 20%.
Founded in 1989, 40-employee Merric Millwork & Seating operates in a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. In addition to design, manufacture and installation of custom architectural millwork, Merric also produces upholstered booth seating, custom cabinetry, tables, podiums, POS fixtures and deco walls for the restaurant, hospitality, healthcare and education industries. The company also fabricates solid surface and laminate countertops, restroom partitions and vanities.
Merric operates two specialized finishing booths for applying finishes on all types of wood and metal.
Current clients include IHOP, Marriott Hotels and Denny’s Restaurants. Claypool said he plans to broaden his client base in the healthcare, education, cosmetology and casino industries. He also plans to upgrade Merric’s design software and technology to further streamline the manufacturing process.