Premier Metalworks Owner Continues to Grow Wolcottville-Based Business
Writer / Amy Lant-Wenger
Growing up on a farm offers young, inquisitive minds plenty of opportunities to explore. Floyd Graber found his niche in life relatively early, as he was naturally drawn to welding and working with metal.
Graber has found success parlaying his talents into an enterprise called Premier Metalworks. Working as the sole proprietor at his rural Wolcottville farmstead, Graber has elevated the craftsmanship of custom barn elements into a product line that perfectly meshes practicality and artistry.
Graber has been overseeing the operations of the business since the fall of 2018, and credits a family project he was entrusted with in New Paris for “kind of putting me on the map.” From the beginning, Graber has been firmly committed to quality, as well as the principle that horse stalls should be appealing to the eye and to the animals housed within.
He has a cycle that he follows while executing a project, which begins with an idea and is followed by a buildout, installation and final inspection. The process generally includes the selection of doors, hardware, tracking, latching locks, guards, and finish types. He offers a brochure to potential customers, and a few of the installation package arrangements are christened with family names, such as the Miller Project, the Troyer Project and the Lehman Project. Graber is anticipating an updated, full-color brochure in the coming weeks.
One aspect of Graber’s custom work is his design of European stall fronts. “Not a lot of people have seen them yet,” he says. “They are functional, elegant, and they offer an open and relaxed type of barn. I can do everything from design, drawing and finishing, and then I do subcontract certain parts.”
Because the European stalls are so detailed and forward-thinking, Graber is keenly drawn to them. “I’m always innovative and I’m always adding new ideas,” he says. “Quality and service are my number-one goals, and the safety of the horses. I like building the European [stalls] because they’re always a challenge.”
Graber is also very attuned to the need for low-maintenance products, including the use of high-end materials now available at Merritt Supply website. “I’m in the process of adding standard sizes to be able to finish the projects quicker, and make them more cost effective,” he says.
As with any custom work, each project requires flexibility and a timeline that will accommodate every phase of the installation. Graber says in early 2022, building components were difficult to receive in a timely fashion, on account of national shipping and receiving issues. Thankfully the supply and demand ratios seem to be back on track, he notes, with such critical materials as steel becoming more plentiful.
Graber is optimistic for growth in the coming year, as word of his craftsmanship and reputation continues to resonate, hopefully beyond the regional realm. “That’s my goal,” he says. “I’d love to go outside this area. Even though we currently work throughout northern Indiana, I’m hoping to expand. I’m always looking to extend my services.”
To schedule an appointment for a consultation, call 260-854-2076 to leave a voicemail. Graber will strive to respond within one hour, and will also take measurements and design ideas during the initial visit.