MARCUS - The news continues to be good for the new Business Park fronting Iowa Highway 3 on the south side of Marcus, with the announcement this week that Hog Slat, Inc. will be building a 4,500 square-foot retail store just west of the existing Guest House Motel.
Hog Slat, Inc. is a family-owned business engaged in the turnkey construction of confinement type hog units, the manufacturing and distributing of hog equipment, and the production of live hogs.
The company is the largest contractor and manufacturer of hog equipment in the United States. The company has constructed turnkey units for both family farms and large corporate farm units in the U.S. Hog Slat, Inc. also sells equipment packages to customers who choose to construct their own facilities.
Hog Slat, Inc. is the recognized leader in manufacturig precast concrete slats, with four manufacturing plants in the U.S., including one in Humboldt that services much of the Midwest.
The company got its start in 1969 when Billy Herring was operating a farrow-to-finish farm near Newton Grove, N.C. and couldn't find appropriate flooring for the nursery he wanted to build. So, he constructed his own slats, other producers noticed the quality and called on him to help. Hence, a small family business was born that today expands globally.
Hog Slat, Inc.'s slats are preferred because they are a dry-cast precast concrete reinforced with re-bar that last longer than the wet-cast, according to Jake Howard, Regional Retail Sales Manager.
Gene Hiemstra of Sioux Center, who owns a Hog Slat, Inc. retail store in Sioux Center, is building the Marcus store as part of his expansion plans in Northwest Iowa. The new store will be managed by Al Harnack of Remsen and employ one traveling salesman, in addition to Harnack.
The new Marcus building will be a 60X75 steel frame building directly west of the Guest House Motel. Due to state-mandated limited access off Highway 3, customers will enter the store's parking lot on the north side and drive to the front of the building on the south side.
The site preparation has been done and Howard said they plan to begin digging the footings by next week, if the weather cooperates.
Other Hog Slat, Inc. retail stores in Iowa include Rock Rapids, Hartley, Storm Lake, and Carroll.
Howard said the Marcus store will serve about a 60-mile area and that Hiemstra selected Marcus for its location on Highway 3 and the fact the Business Park was already available with the proper infrastructure in place to attract the new business. The company also takes the area's hog concentration into consideration.
"We have 40 retail operations in the country and Marcus is now the 41st," said Howard. "We offer anything and everything related to the hog industry from parts replacement to all the equipment, including gates, stalls, crates, penning, feeders, ventilation systems, footwear and clothing, etc."
Hog Slats, Inc. is also in the poultry business, offering the same complete services and equipment and merchandise for that sector, said Howard.
"We have a population of 1,139 and have the only Business Park in Cherokee County," said Marcus Mayor Darrell Downs in making the annoucement about Hog Slat, Inc. coming to town.
"That was huge in attracting Mr. Hiemstra to Marcus. Hog Slat, Inc. is a well-known, family-owned operation and a welcomed addition to our community, and to Cherokee County."
Hiemstra purchased two lots after making the decision to locate in the Marcus Business Park, which may indicate future expansion plans for the company, or, perhaps a future companion business.
"We'll work with them, no matter what their plans are," said Downs, who worked long and hard to recruit the new business. "They're good people."