In its 26 years, Mattracks has made 164 different models of tracks, reached all seven continents and appeared in countless movies. The idea for Mattracks started from some drawings by Matt Brazier at about the age of 11 in 1992 and has grown to become, what Matt’s father and Mattracks CEO Glen Brazier called, “the biggest track manufacturer in the world.” But, as Brazier mentioned, some locals don’t know exactly what it is.
“We have a lot of customers that come into town, and anybody who pass(es) through town, and they’re sitting in a corner taking pictures and have no idea what this is, or what Mattracks is until they see this stuff,” Glen Brazier said. “And then we really have no place to show them what’s actually the history of it.”
Mattracks is looking to show that history, its story, at the local level through the Mattracks Innovation Center in Karlstad. It hopes to open the space this spring. Glen Brazier discussed how this idea of an Innovation Center came to be, some of its highlights, and his hopes for those who enter when it opens.
Mattracks actually was about halfway into putting an Innovation Center together in the Kamar building east of Karlstad before hearing about Brazier’s “good friend” Loren Germundson selling Germundson’s Home Furnishings on Main Street in Karlstad.
“I looked it over and thought maybe this would be a good fit (for the Innovation Center),” Brazier said. “… On Main Street, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
In early 2019, Mattracks bought the building, according to a Grand Forks Herald article titled “Mattracks buys old Germundson’s Home Furnishings building in Karlstad, Minn.” It has remodeled the space and moved the many artifacts that Brazier has been saving from his and Mattracks’ history, along with other pertinent artifacts, that were once in storage.
Mattracks decided to create the space in movie theatre style, as evidence by the blinking signage out front of the building.
“I always wanted a theater because we (Mattracks) were in so many movies and TV shows,” Brazier said, “that I was kind of really heartbroken 20 years ago when they tore down the theater in town that we had.”
It actually will have a theatre in the facility, one where people will be able to watch various selected skits on a screen. As for movie appearances, Mattracks products have appeared in countless ones, such as “The Fate of the Furious” (one of the “Fast and the Furious” movies), “Inception,” “Terminator,” “Taxi 3,” “Man of Steel,” “Fury,” “Spectre.” Mattracks product has also appeared in other areas of entertainment, such as TV shows and commercials.
“We have so much going on, and so much happens every day that we just move on and we forget about it, and so does everybody else,” Brazier said. “And this museum will document a little bit of that. And that way we can have customers and our neighbors and friends come through and look a little bit at the history and see… what it took to do this.”
It will also give people the chance to see Mattracks’ reach.
“We’re in every territory in Antarctica, including the South Pole… We’re at the top of the highest mountains and the bottom of the ocean we have tracks,” Brazier said. “And so the local people don’t get to see that… This museum, will give them a chance to see that, to see just… what we’ve covered and how big the company really has grown to be.”
To see the complete story, read the January 27 issue of The Tribune or the January 28 issue of the North Star News in print or online.