J&R And BluSky Merger Benefits Restoration Customers

BluSky former owners council member Mike Bostdorff and vice president Tom Peternel stand in the entryway of the Waterville-based restoration company. Last year, J&R Restoration merged with the national BluSky Restoration company. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER
The former J&R Restoration is now part of the national BluSky Restoration Contractors and remains located in Waterville Plaza. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUSKY
Inside the BluSky Waterville location, cleaned contents are safely stored inside wooden vaults until work is completed on the damaged home or business. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUSKY

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Whether it’s Mother Nature, freak accident or human error, sudden damage to a home or business can seem like an insurmountable hurdle.

Mike Bostdorff and Tom Peternel have seen firsthand the devastating effects of fire, wind, hail and other disasters, but as restoration experts, they know how to make it right. 

“After the big storm, what follows is blue sky – the positive after the storm,” said Bostdorff, who has merged his Waterville-based J&R Restoration with BluSky Restoration Contractors.

On April 10, the BluSky sign went up on the Waterville Plaza business, announcing a change that took place last August. 

“We have a group here that is so experienced – the best in what we do,” Bostdorff said. “Now, we can serve our clients so much better.”

Peternel, who joined the business in 2023, brings 20 years of restoration experience and serves as vice president. The company has also brought on additional employees as it adds commercial roofing and health care facility restoration business lines to restoration, renovation and environmental services.

The 50 local employees include project managers, carpenters, painters, mitigation technicians and contents restoration technicians who get help from subcontractors including electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists. Many of the employees have been with the company for decades and bring a wealth of knowledge.

“That’s one thing that sets us apart. Not all restoration companies are created equal. The experience our people have is second to none, and that creates the best experience for someone when they’re going through an emergency,” Bostdorff said.

When a call comes in, the first step is stabilizing and securing the property, while at the same time helping the property owners deal with the emotional impact.

“Since they’ve never been through it, it can be emotionally devastating,” Bostdorff said. “We prop them up and help them.” 

BluSky goes through an assessment phase and meets with adjusters to come to an agreement on the necessary steps for rebuilding. BluSky has agreed pricing with most insurance companies, which is why work can begin quickly.

“We want to get people back in their homes as quickly as possible, and if it’s a business loss, we want to get them back into business as fast as possible,” Bostdorff said.

After the Blarney Irish Pub caught fire on February 22, BluSky worked to get the popular downtown eatery open in time for scheduled weddings, a corporate event and St. Patrick’s Day.

“It was all hands on deck to find a way for them to maintain their core business. We found unique solutions, including cutting a hole in the floor and making a winch system so they could lift heavy things like kegs up from the basement while their elevator was out,” Bostdorff said. “For us, that’s fun to see the challenge and find solutions to keep them in business.”

When thousands of gallons of water were used to extinguish the flames on a Waterville home, the owner thought he would lose his 30,000-photo collection.

“We saved virtually every one,” Bostdorff said. 

Similarly, when a customer handed over a heavily damaged SD card containing photos of a deceased family member, BluSky’s data extraction specialist was able to save them all.

“You can replace a couch or a kitchen table, but people are emotionally attached to sentimental items,” Peternel said.

Walking into the back of the 35,000-square-foot BluSky Waterville building – what was once a Kroger store – Bostdorff and Peternel pointed out the behind-the-scenes operations that include contents restoration and storage, data retrieval and storage for equipment like a trailer that can dry out spaces of up to 60,000 square feet.

Contaminated items – including soft goods and hard goods – arrive in brown boxes and are cleaned, wrapped and packed in white boxes stored in large wooden vaults with labels for easy content identification.

“We try to get things back within 24 hours – like clothing, gaming systems, phones and computers,” Peternel said. “What they don’t need every day, we’ll store until the restoration on the building is complete.”

Valuables are safe within the facility, which was even deemed secure by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as BluSky stored weapons after a gun shop fire. 

As BluSky expands its reach to include hospital and health care facility restoration, employees are undergoing training to handle items and scenes that might have blood-borne pathogens or disease.

“Working in nursing homes and other facilities is definitely a specialty service that’s different from houses and office buildings,” Bostdorff said.

Ongoing training is vital to keeping employees safe from hidden dangers on the scene, such as sharp objects under debris and electric current.

“We do a lot of training to keep our employees safe,” Peternel added.

With the merger of J&R Restoration with BluSky, Bostdorff remains involved in the business as a former owners council member, a consulting role to help with not only the Waterville location but also the 62 other offices in 26 states. 

For more information, visit goblusky.com or call (419) 878-8550.

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