The Final Four tournament is always a nail-biter; closely matched teams battling it out on the floor to be named the champions. However, if you look a bit closer at that floor, youâ??ll see intricately interlocking pieces of flooring hailing all the way from Amasa, Michigan.
â??We make flooring by hand,â?? said plant manager, Conrad Stromberg. â??You can almost say it's a hand-crafted product. Weâ??re not automated and these folks take a lot of pride in what they do.â??
Connor Sports in Amasa has been manufacturing sports flooring since 1975 and has grown to be a company that employees close to 115 people.
â??98 percent of what we do is for sports floors. We sell them all over the world, to over 40 different countries,â?? Stromberg said.
Their floors can be found all the way from Mexico, to India, to right next door in West Iron County.
â??The big excitement has been the NCAA and the Final Four. We actually had 25 floors out there in the regional tournaments this year, covering almost 70 percent of the tournaments,â?? Stromberg said.
â??Being an athlete my whole life, the weird things is when you turn on a basketball game, you watch the players,â?? said employee, Todd Bociek. â??Now, from working here, you turn on the TV and the first thing you look at is the floor.â??
Every Connor Sports floor is made from hard maple wood, and they manufacture seven million board feet of flooring every year.
â??This is one of the biggest years here for us in the portables,â?? Bociek said.
The "portables" he's referencing are the type one would see at the Final Four tournament. They can be installed and removed in about two hours. These types of floors come in handy for venues that use space for not only basketball courts, but for sports like hockey.
â??Itâ??s a quick-lock panel; it's got a steel tongue and it's got polyurethane grooves, so each panel will interlock and get pinned,â?? Stromberg said.
Combine 247 of those completed panels, and you'll have the famous Connor Sports floor. They send the floors off to finishers for detailing and staining, and then it's off to the games.
â??To think that those floors were built in this tiny town of Amasa and by the people is just an awesome thing,â?? Stromberg said.