Furniture Manufacturer Committed to Zero Waste

Designing quality-made furniture for residential housing on college campuses, Ludington’s Brill Company has made a name for itself in the manufacturing industry across the United States. It is celebrating its 75th anniversary which, officials say, is a point of pride for not only Brill employees but also for the Mason County community.

The Brill Company is located at 715 S James Street, where it began in 1946 as Brill Manufacturing. Using solid oak, maple, and pine, this business is a leader in American-made traditional, modular, and custom-designed furniture. Thirty-five people are employed locally, growing to 65 in peak seasons at the Ludington facility.  

“Being able to celebrate 75 years of business is truly a blessing,” said Nancy Field, who has owned Brill Company with her husband, David, since 2002. “Not only developing long-term customers, but also being able to work with talented people, is cause for celebration.”

Company history
Founded by Ralph Brillhart, the company’s beginnings were centered around construction of residential furniture. Over the years, it has evolved into manufacturing restaurant booths and, finally, producing student-room furniture for colleges and universities.

With the amount of research that has gone into production since 1946, Brill officials say they hope their quality furniture will have lasting value. Its innovative products, specifically designed for student life, include apartment furnishings, seating, tables, wardrobes, and case goods that include beds, desks, shelves and lofts.

“Brill is a vertical manufacturer, producing every component for each case good item of furniture in Ludington,” Field said.

Brill calls its residential-life furniture a “fresh look for a sensible space,” having both style and functionality. There are 50 ways to configure a room, and set-up is “simple.” There is the choice of a single, bunk bed or trundle configuration, and there are multiple places to place a computer monitor.

The local manufacturer uses computer-controlled machining to ensure precise measurements with the goal to produce attractive, timeless, and maintenance-free products. 

Brill also promotes a zero-waste, #saynotolandfills campaign. The company’s lean manufacturing and use of materials approaches zero environmental impact. 100% of unused woods are used to produce heat for Brill facilities. Wood waste is also recycled for other companies. No production waste is sent to a landfill.

While some furniture companies experienced delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, Brill has been able to continue its reputation for on-time installation, Field said. 

The Brill Company has representatives located in Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, California, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota, covering sales in the 50 contiguous states. Its sister company, Brill Seating, is located in Elkhart, Indiana, and focuses on upholstery. 

Local Impacts
Several years ago, Brill was instrumental in helping develop the Mason County Manufacturing Association. Many Ludington companies joined together to host monthly meetings at their respective facilities to share successes or potential issues they were experiencing. The group met to discuss solutions and collaborate.

Brill has been involved with United Way of Mason County for years. It has also supported Ludington High School Post Prom events and LHS O’bots (Robotics Stem Team).  The company donates meals to families in need during the holidays by partnering with the Salvation Army and Jamesport Brewing Company.

It has also provided materials for local Boy Scout projects, as well as community service projects.

Brill plans to hold a celebratory luncheon for its employees in observance of its anniversary.

“We look forward to many years ahead,” Field said.