On March 1, 1952, Ken Holtvuwer joined John Koppenol as co-owner of Standale Lumber and Supply Company. Ken had approached his father for a loan to get started ans was asked, "What do you know about the lumber business?" His reply was, "Not a thing, but I can sure learn!" This response typified the history of the company.
Standale Lumber made it's home in the Standale Business District. Standale is a small community located just west of Grand Rapids, Michigan which has a rich history dating back to the lumber era. Standale Lumber has been a survivor of not only one, but two tornados since it's beginning in 1952 proving their determination and committment to the building industry, especially during times of need.
On April 7, 1956 a tornado roared through Standale and within a few minutes, that business district no longer existed. Despite insufficient insurance, Ken's faith prevailed and a few days later, with the special help of Abe Krissoff, onwer of Empire Lumber in Grandville, a small plywood shed with a sign saying "Standale Lumber...Open for Business" sprang from the rubble and debris. Soon after the building now housing Standale Interiors was built, making Standale the youngest and smallest of Kent County's 33 lumber yards, 22 of which were members of the fledgling Grand Rapids Retail Lumber Dealers Association.
The Standale yard expanded in the early '60s with the purchase of the Bergman Lumber property and interest in a small yard in Holland. Palm Sunday in 1965 brought another tornado, destroying a large lumber storage shed. Ken had learned from the past and this loss, being adequately insured, was soon rebuilt and restocked.
Challenges in the 70's for Standale were Wickes' Lumber, a large chain, determination to "bury" Standale Lumber. Standale also lost a building to fire and another to snow. Despite these challenges the 70s brought growth. Standale Lumber added divisions, acquired new properties and tripled employee count.
In the 80's interest rates climbed and housing starts fell. Lumberyards were failing, with only 6 of the 33 in the 50's still remaining. Confidence returned with the elections in November of 82 and by 1984 Standale Lumber was making a dramatic comeback. Near the end of the 80's the growth Standale Lumber was experiencing made it apparent that expansion for the Contractor Division was necessary.
In October of 1989 the Empire Distribution facility in Grandville became available. Interestingly enough, Empire was the same company that had helped Standale Lumber survive the tornado of 1956. As Empire moved their facility to a new location in Zeeland Michigan, Standale Lumber remodeled and moved inventory to their new yard in Grandville Michigan.
Throughout the 90's and now into the new century the building industry has seen significant changes. Standale Lumber continues to grow and expand with the industry. The Standale Family boasts approximately 120 employees and now offeres shared ownership as an option for employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Standale Lumber is also proud of it's contributions to community. In 2002 Standale Lumber celebrated it's 50th Anniversary by making a significant contribution to the Inner City Christian Foundation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company also donated nearly $100,000 in products, supplies and labor, with the help of customer donations, to construct a home for the 2002 Fall Parade of Homes put on by the Grand Rapids Home Builder's Association.
Standale lumber is grateful for all the blessings that kept them going in their first half-century and look forward to continued growth and new lessons to be learned while working together as a devoted team in the years ahead.