Winter Guard fully recovered from devastating fire

In this Made in Michigan, NBC25's Kevin Usealman visits a mid-Michigan business that has recovered from a massive fire in 2005.

Winter Guard Custom Windows and Mill Work in Clio has built made-to-order products for homeowners for 30 years. And, while new construction in Michigan has drastically slowed, the business has stuck around and even survived a devastating fire five years ago.

Winter Guard Custom Windows and Mill Work Read the Nov. 8 Q and A live chat with the owners Best Bets home and garden listing Made in Michigan features

"We had a reputation out there and the people stuck with us," said Winter Guard co-owner Brett Mudge, regarding a fire in 2005 that destroyed the building. "Even the people building new homes said, 'You know what? We'll wait for you.' "

Winter Guard makes custom doors, windows, moldings, mantels and more at its factory. All of the products it mills are purchased in the United States, with a lot coming from Michigan.

The company was founded in 1980 by Daryl Mudge. He still works there along with several family members. His son, Brett, is the shop foreman and Brett's wife, Lisa, also works at the business.

Brett Mudge explained that customer service is always a priority for the business, which can even measure and design your remodeling project.

"They want to come right into the factory, see how it's constructed," said Brett Mudge. "They want to have their own little detail added to that kitchen or cabinet, and we can do that."

Winter Guard also has 53 profiles of molding that it keeps in-house. But it has 1,500 profiles available in its library.

"A lot of times, they'll have a renovation project," said Brett Mudge. "Maybe a 150-year-old building. They'll bring us a piece of wood. (We can) grind a new knife and we can match (the molding) exactly."

A fire destroyed the Winter Guard building in 2005. But just two weeks later it was up and running in a temporary location. In early 2006, the company opened its new warehouse and showroom in the Clio Industrial Park on Tacoma Street behind the Dairy Queen on Vienna Road.

General Manager Dave Koster said much of the company's focus is on high-end custom work, but that it might soon change. People who can't afford energy efficient upgrades will soon be able to get low-interest credit for a Winter Guard installation through

"It's a very simple process," Koster said. "You can go online and get approved in a matter of minutes."

Winter Guard ships its products all across Michigan.