Quality craftsmanship, superior service and steadfast reliability — Grazzini Brothers & Co. has built its name and its nearly 100-year-old reputation on these core values. “With every project, we continually strive for excellence and customer satisfaction,” president and CEO Greg Grazzini said.
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Grazzini Brothers executes projects throughout the U.S. and has completed several projects abroad. Its tile, terrazzo, stone and soft flooring installations can be seen in airports, hospitals, military bases, museums, schools, shopping malls and transit centers, among others.
So how did this this longstanding company, established by Italian immigrants in the Midwestern United States, become such a force in Alaska? According to Greg Grazzini, a fourth-generation family businessman, it all goes back to those same core values, a lot of hard work and a little luck.
In 1920, two brothers, Frank and August Grazzini, formed a partnership installing cement sidewalks. Three years later, they added terrazzo installation to their list of services. In 1927, Grazzini Brothers & Co. officially formed and purchased its first building at 620 16th Ave. in Minneapolis.
From the late 1920s to the early 1930s, Grazzini Brothers projects were limited to the Midwestern states. In addition to terrazzo — a composite material that is polished to give it a smooth and shiny surface — services were expanded to include tilework. The 1940s and 1950s provided steady growth; completion of the Grand Island VA Medical Center near Omaha, Nebraska, helped solidify Grazzini Brothers’ reputation as a quality-driven company.
The company completed many complex and innovative projects in the 1960s, including nine city blocks in downtown Minneapolis in the area known as the Nicollet Mall and the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle. Industrial flooring was added to the company’s list of services.
Rapid growth in the 1970s and 1980s positioned Grazzini Brothers as a premier installer of tile and terrazzo. Work expanded beyond the U.S. at this time to include the Teva Pharmaceutical Industries building in Israel.
In 1993, working with longtime client M.A. Mortensen Co., Grazzini was awarded the contract for the Composite Medical Facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
“We hired several local tile workers. One of them, Earl Andersen, took the lead on the project for us,” Grazzini recalled. “As we were finishing work on the medical facility, I began discussing with Earl the possibility of opening an office in Alaska. Grazzini Brothers began bidding work and procuring more Alaska-based projects, and Earl proved to be the leader we were looking for.
“Another employee, Jon Trosvig, took over the bidding and project management roles. Key to our success was AGC of Alaska membership, whose members have been very welcoming to us.”
The new millennium ushered in many large-scale national projects. As out-of-region projects grew, the company took the step of creating offices and establishing work crews in other states including Alaska, the Dakotas and Iowa. From these satellite offices, Grazzini Brothers executes work nationwide; work is generally occurring in 12 to 15 states at any given time.
The Composite Medical Facility at JBER was the company’s first major project in Alaska.
“This important step led to many projects throughout the state,” Grazzini said. “Alaska has become a major source of work for the company. Government projects particularly rely on Grazzini Brothers for ceramic tile and terrazzo. From an Anchorage-based warehouse, a full-time crew of 20 craft workers and an area manager complete projects throughout the state.”
To date, Grazzini Brothers’ has executed nearly 50 individual projects in Alaska in locations as diverse as Anchorage, Barrow, Fairbanks, Homer and Kodiak. Anchorage-based Watterson Construction Co. has worked on two projects with the company: a Warrior-in-Transition Complex (completed December 2011) and a Brigade Complex Phase I Company Operations Facility (com-pleted January 2013), both on JBER.
“Grazzini Brothers has a longstanding reputation for being one of the best tile installers in the state of Alaska,” said Laura Nelson, Watterson’s corporate secretary and project manager. “They are known for their quality installation and being on or ahead of schedule. Their crew is very professional and experienced.”
In 2015, for its work on Alaska’s Department of Public Safety Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, the company received the Associated Builders and Contractors–Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter “Pyramid Award” for excellence in construction. The project, completed over a 230-day period, involved installing 24,200 square feet of porcelain and stone tile on the building’s exterior and in the interior floors, restrooms and stairway.
By 2006, Grazzini Brothers had established four divisions: tile, terrazzo, stone and soft flooring (carpet, vinyl and wood). “There have been many changes, challenges and tremendous growth, but the core values of the company remain the same,” Grazzini said. “Client satisfaction remains our top priority.”
In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Grazzini Brothers has been honored to work on Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the U.S.; Minneapolis City Hall Courthouse; Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team; Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild hockey team; and many others.
The company participates in many trade and civic organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, Associated General Contractors, Minneapolis Builders Exchange, St. Paul Builders Exchange and United Way.