Orion Hunting Products is IM’s newest manufacturer
IRON MOUNTAIN — As a youngster, like many others in the Upper Peninsula, Beau Anderson hunted out of scaffolds and blinds built by his father.
“Dad was a carpenter, but they were a little rough — ‘Yooper built’ — you might say,” he said.
Decades later, back in his home town of Norway, engineering credentials in hand, Anderson started making structures for his own family.
How the hobby has grown.
His father, Fuzzy, might recognize the inspiration, but the towers and blinds being sold today by Orion Hunting Products can’t be confused with “home made.” They’re high-end products, built for comfort, mobility and easy assembly.
“We’ve got a little backlog of orders,” Anderson said, noting an empty storage lot at the manufacturing facility the company opened this spring in Iron Mountain.
The former machine shop on Pewabic Street totals 10,000 square feet and there’s room to expand. Delayed by the pandemic, Orion expects to be fully up and running this summer, growing from the current full-time staff of four to as many as 20 in the years ahead.
Anderson is the president. His partner Dave Brule II is chairman, with Jamie Hedlund on board as production supervisor and Cole Welch as operating engineer.
The most unique thing about Orion’s blinds is a patented latching system that’s the key to quick assembly.
“Just you, a buddy, your pickup truck and two hand tools,” is all that’s needed to set up an insulated and elevated hunting blind that can “pass the shake test,” Orion advertises.
“No screws or bolts,” Anderson added. Disassembled, the blinds and towers will weigh about 350 pounds each.
On the manufacturing side, Orion has a system to glue each structure’s components — aluminum, foam, wood and carpet — into light, strong, durable panels. Essentially, a hunter needs only snap them together to form a multi-windowed shanty.
The metal and wood is cut and shaped at the Iron Mountain plant, with a painting unit now the final detail. There’s also a “wall of fame” — photos of successful hunters using Orion blinds.
The company is taking orders online. There’s also a growing network of retailers, including Hardcore Outfitters in Iron Mountain.
Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-2772 ext. 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.