Former Glenwood City Ford houses car dealership and metal fabrication shop

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — Two new businesses have opened in Glenwood City’s former Ford garage on Oak Street.

Doug Doornink and his son Tyler purchased the building at 133 West Oak Street, and are using it for Doornink Motors and Doornink Fabrications. Doug is overseeing the operations of the used car dealership (Doornink Motors), and Tyler is using the rear garage bay and shop area for the metal fabrication business he started after high school.

The father-son duo moved into the building in late 2016. Tyler has been completing his fabrication orders and setting up his new shop space since they moved in, but Doug just started selling cars a little over one month ago. 

The elder Doornink was previously Glenwood City’s director of Public Works, and has spent the last few years buying, remodeling and selling houses. He had previously tried to convince the city to purchase the empty building, but was not able to persuade them to.

“It just felt like the poor Ford garage was going to waste,” he explained.

Doornink hit on the idea of buying the building with Tyler, who previously ran his fabrication business out of a garage at home, when he saw the building was still on the market after being for sale for an extended period of time. The two had looked at buildings in other areas, but wanted to bring a new business to Glenwood City to keep the downtown thriving.

“There’s obviously better places to have a used car lot than Glenwood City, but for him (Tyler), it does not make as big a difference where he has his shop,” Doornink stated.

Doug and Tyler are both graduates of Glenwood City High School. Doug lives in Hudson now, and Tyler lives in Boyceville. The younger Doornink seemed pleased to expand his offerings to customers.

“I started out building bumpers for diesel trucks when I was in high school,” Tyler explained. “I didn’t waste any time in school, I just went right into it.”

Tyler has built a following with his fabrications, and said he has not advertised for his work because there has not yet been a need to. The completely self-taught metal worker has the ability to create a line of specialized items not created by other shops, but said he will likely stick to automobile parts for now. 

The Doorninks would love to see the business become more of a motor sports shop. Both are very interested in ATVs, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and motorcycles, but as Doug said, there is not currently a large market for those things in Glenwood City.

“Trying to have that niche in Glenwood City is maybe not the best way to start, which is why we started with things people need,” Doug clarified.

The duo plans to keep selling items people need to build the business. When it has reached a point where they are comfortable switching over, the Doorninks would like to provide more “fun-based” motors and items for the community.

Right now, Doug and Tyler Doornink are getting accustomed to their new work space and the time it affords them to do what they love.

“We started out, we’re both creative and love motors,” Doug said. “This is a great place to have fun. My brother comes over with his kids and we all work together.”

Doornink Motors and Doornink Fabrications are located on the west end of Oak Street near Nilssen’s Market and are open normal business hours Monday through Friday.