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News
  Roofing company stays put in Michigan, and succeeds
Oakland Press
Posted May 2006
 
  Robert Allen isn't running away from Michigan's economy like other roofers.

Instead, his business, Allen Brothers, will adapt to changes in the marketplace, he said.
  Allen Brothers
  "Especially in the construction here, at least southeast Michigan and Oakland County, it's really depressed," he said. "Everybody's talking gloom and doom."
  Allen Brothers  
  Many of his competitors are moving out of state, he said, chasing jobs to states with better economies and areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.  
  Allen Brothers  
  On the one hand, that means less competition, but on the other hand, there are fewer jobs.  
  Allen Brothers  
  "We all know our economy ebbs and (flows) with the auto industry," he said. "But I believe the auto industry is going to rise again."  
  Allen Brothers  
  While there is still activity in high-end homes, the commercial market started to slow three years ago.  
  Allen Brothers  
  So Allen Brothers launched a division this year called Retrofit Roofing. The company trained 15 workers to replace roofs on existing buildings.  
  Allen Brothers  
  Replacing a roof with people below takes special equipment and expertise, Allen explained. For instance, the roof has to be sealed to prevent water from leaking into the building.
  Allen Brothers  
 

The concept is not new, but is becoming important, he said. Locally, businesses have stopped expanding, and families have hunkered down in their homes. Despite the economy, existing businesses need to maintain their facilities, he said.

 
  Allen Brothers
  Retrofit Roofing is already beating Allen Brothers in sales, which have been on the decline.
  Allen Brothers
  "It's working," Allen said. "There's definitely a desire in this town for people to maintain what they've got and not let it go."
  Allen Brothers
  Allen Brothers will continue to offer other services. The business has three more divisions: Metal Merchants of Michigan, which does sheet metal fabrication; Rochester Roofi ng; and Birmingham Roofing, which both do residential work.
  Allen Brothers
  Founded in 1986 by Allen and his brother, Gary Allen, the business has grown each year. Allen Brothers is known for large and high-profi le projects such as Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfi eld Township and Booth mansion at Cranbrook Schools.
 
  The Allens grew up in the roofing industry. Robert Allen, 52, and his wife, Nicole, have three children and live in Oakland Township. Gary Allen, 45, and his wife, Dianne, have five children and live in Oakland Township.