March Gathering Notes

A Visit to Great Lakes Yard:
A discussion with owner Meegan Czop
about the business of old growth lumber, past and present.

 “We mowed down our white pine and hemlock forests and built entire railroads to move our maple, birch, ash, basswood, and elm. This is what was used to build the industrial infrastructure of our region and what holds up the houses we live in.”

– Meegan Czop, owner of Great Lakes Yard
After studying painting at Western Michigan University, Meegan Czop jump-started her professional journey by stalking the work sites of a historic masonry restoration company. She eventually approached the owner with the proposition that she’d like to join the crew—who, up until then—had been all-male for as long as they could remember…

This was not unlike previous and subsequent work she would dive into, including high-end architectural salvage, construction for a building restoration company, and building sets for the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2009, Meegan became the Director of Business Development at Chicago’s Rebuilding Exchange and later consulted for a local environmental organization as well as various “rust belt” cities on how to turn a liability like construction and demolition debris into an asset.

Meegan’s field work continues to include excavation trips and the bounty of those adventures are now on display in her own specialized warehouse in the Garfield Park neighborhood, Great Lakes Yard. Great Lake Yard offers for sale the highest quality heritage materials in the Great Lakes region.  When thinking of demolition work and wood reclamation, the picture that can come to mind is often a masculine one, but Meegan disrupts that image and gives it a twist that’s all her own. 

If you haven’t already, take a very enjoyable moment to peruse the @greatlakesyard (and@meegoczop) Instagram feeds. They are rich with enjoyable details like a timber air guitar, driving a forklift to the beats of  Motown, and shop talk with beloved shop dog Steve McQueen.

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