May 13 2024 0Comment
Three generations of Comstock men with black suites, white-collared shirts and ties on brown backdrop

A Century of Craftsmanship: The Story of Comstock Construction

Black and white headshot photo of Clark Morrell Comstock who founded Comstock Construction in 1924
Clark Morrell Comstock

Journey from Farming to Construction

Comstock Construction’s journey traces back to 1924 when Clark Morrell, a farmer by trade, took a bold step into the world of construction.

“He was a farmer, and at some point, decided that wasn’t his forte. So, he decided to sell the farm,” says Clark’s grandson, Bob Comstock.

Leaving behind the fields, he sold his farmstead, auctioning off his belongings, and moving to Wahpeton, ND to start his own construction business, Comstock Construction.

 

 

Older white male with white hair smiling wearing a black stripped-suit with white collared-shirt and red polka-dot tie with thesaurus library backdrop.
Lynn Comstock (2nd Generation)

Becoming a Family Business

Clark’s work began with barn straightenings and small residential repairs and remodels.

As the years passed, the reins of the business shifted from Clark to his son Lynn Comstock, who joined his father after serving in World War II.

Together, they continued with residential projects, later expanding into light commercial work. While growing their skillset, they were building the company’s reputation for quality craftmanship within the community.

 

 

 

Middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair wearing black suite, white button-up and red speckled tie on brown backdrop
Bob Comstock (3rd Generation)

Brought Back by a Bobcat

In 1974, a pivotal moment arose when Bob Comstock, Lynn’s son, poised for law school, was drawn back to the family business. Amidst plans for a different path, the purchase of a Bobcat sparked a new direction.

“And that [Bobcat], at that time was a big deal because we really did not have any equipment other than a very small tractor and an old air compressor and a couple of old pickups” recounts Bob.

And with that, Bob changed course and decided to come back and work for his dad.

 

 

From Humble Beginnings to Expansive Horizons

In the basement of Lynn Comstock’s home, Lynn, Bob, and a couple other men worked the business. Then in 1976, Comstock Construction was incorporated. Shortly after, they started building larger homes and farms in the area and dabbled in some light commercial work. They also expanded to offer earthwork services.

For the next four decades, the company grew rapidly under Bob’s leadership, adding two more office locations in Fargo and Fergus Falls, growing from a team of four to 100. And the projects grew alongside it, focusing primarily on larger commercial projects.

Black and white headshot photo of Clark Morrell Comstock who founded Comstock Construction in 1924
Fargo Office
Brown brick Comstock Construction office building with sign in the foreground on grassy knoll with bright blue and clouds sky in background in Wahpeton, ND
Wahpeton Office
Comstock Construction precast concrete building in Fergus Falls, MN with dark green panels with Comstock sign in the foreground and bright blue sky with clouds in the background.
Fergus Falls Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

White male with short brown hair and a brown eyes smiling wearing a black suit jacket and white shirt with blue geometric tie on white background.
Michael Comstock (4th Generation)

Fourth-Generation Legacy

A fourth generation of Comstock’s joined the legacy when Bob’s son Michael joined the team 2002 after graduating college.

Having spent years learning the ropes in the field pouring concrete, setting steel, rough carpentry, and precast, his focus shifted to the office.

Michael began his work as a project manager, using his years of experience in the field to his benefit. He slowly grew more and more knowledgeable until taking over from his father running the business operations.

 

 

 

Value Over Price Model

During that change in hands, the company started shifting into what is called “preferred” work or “value over price.”

Around 2015, roughly 90% of Comstock Construction’s business model was hard bid. That meant the lowest price bidder won the project. To now, nearly 90% of their work is preferred. So that means the owner selects Comstock Construction over a variety of factors important to them, not solely based on price.

 

Navigating Industry Evolution

Adapting and embracing change over the past century is what has helped the company stay competitive.  Over the decades, they’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the construction landscape. Technological advancements, from GPS to financial and project management software, have transformed the way they work. This results in not only a safer construction environment, but a more productive one.

 

The Right People

But above the technological advances, Bob Comstock says “I think the key to our longevity and success has been the quality employees that have worked with us for many, many years.”

And some of these employees have been with Comstock for 20, 30, 40 or recently one retired after 50 years with the company. With that longevity comes a welcome benefit of being able to mentor and grow newer people on the team. Michael Comstock feels the same.

Michael says, “I feel it’s pretty basic. . . When you surround yourself with the right people, things generally good happen and continue to happen.”

 

A Century of Thanks

As Comstock Construction celebrates a century of achievements, they do so with gratitude for all who have been part of our journey.

Michael extends a special thank-you message: “I’d like to thank everybody, including our clients, our customers, our trade partners, as well as all of our team members and staff for a successful one-hundred years in business. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.”

Looking ahead, they remain committed to growth, guided by the principles of integrity and excellence that have defined them since the beginning.

Here’s to the future – here’s to Comstock Construction.

 

Watch Comstock Construction’s History video below:

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