Hostetler Sales & Construction LLC
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
David Hostetler’s business card reads: president; however, the second-generation co-owner of Hostetler Sales & Construction LLC (HSC) says he’s not big on that title. Sporting a fluffy white beard, the 61-year-old actually prefers a more endearing title given to him by some of the children he’s helped in Haiti and other parts of the Third World.
“After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we shipped about nine buildings, from churches to school houses, and I took a team down and installed two,” recalls Hostetler. “We soon realized we were not building just another building. We actually were able to see the good our work was doing, especially on the faces of the children and that makes it a lot more real. With my big white beard I was given the nickname Papa Noel or Santa Clause by the local children.”
HSC has been reaching out to communities in need since Hostetler’s father started the contracting company in 1966. “My brother Ken and I now own the company and we play an active role in this community,” he shares.
Located about 6 miles south of Buffalo, Mo., HSC is situated in the heart of Mennonite country. “HSC is Mennonite-owned and we support the large church in this community,” notes Hostetler. “Ken was recently appointed head of a church outreach.”
The family-owned company offers a wide range of building materials, each with a heavy emphasis on custom construction. “A large percentage of our business is agricultural based, we do about 20-plus poultry houses a year, but we also do commercial facilities and we’re a little more custom than your typical contractor,” explains Hostetler. “We build to specific specs. Whatever you want; that’s what we try to do.”
Even if that means feed and farm supplies, HSC has local operations covered. “We also operate Hostetler Feed and Farm Supply as a division of HSC,” notes Hostetler. “We have upward of 65 employees between our truss manufacturing, farm supply stores, feed mill, metal shop and construction warehouse.”
HSC performs a range of projects, from private homes to poultry complexes, warehouses and horse barns; however, the company also specializes in steel truss fabrication. “We manufacture our own steel trusses and that generates quite a bit of walk-in business,” shares Hostetler. “This makes us unique from other steel building manufacturers, because most people will only sell you a package, where we will sell just the frame and let them assemble their own building package.”
Doing Good on a Global Scale
While HSC mainly focuses on an 80-mile radius of Buffalo, Hostetler says the company has the capability to ship supplies and build around the world, from Haiti to Cuba and Africa. Hostetler is also pleased to note that the company has completed between 700 and 800 church projects in Africa. “If you look on the map in our office it looks like we’ve done more buildings outside of the U.S. than in,” he shares.
While the team ships buildings the world-over, HSC also satisfies clients on the homefront. “We’re getting ready to start a project in Utah and that’s far for us to do a turnkey installation, because normally if we’re working overseas we’re just shipping the materials, but we’ll make exceptions for the right situation,” Hostetler continues.
Back on international ground, HSC has recently completed a three-story, 80-footwide by 80-footlong church building in Havana, Cuba. “We didn’t do the actual construction but we shipped the materials, including lots of columns and beams,” reveals Hostetler. “They did in 13 days what would normally take two years to complete in Cuba.”
However, in recent years, some of HSC’s most memorable projects have been in Haiti. “We finished a schoolhouse with an eight-man crew and in five days we had the steel work done,” details Hostetler. “We didn’t charge for the labor and installation of the building, because this was shortly after the major earthquake. It’s a rough area; while the damage from the earthquake is getting better it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s from the earthquake and what is from the low-quality living conditions. It makes you appreciate what we have in the U.S.”
HSC’s work in Haiti also made the company’s crews appreciate the resources that are normally available. “We did most of the installation without the equipment you have in the states so you really have to do things the hard way,” reveals Hostetler.
Above all else, Hostetler says a hug and a smile from a grateful child makes the difficulty worthwhile. “Our goal has always been to support our community and beyond,” he shares. “It pleases us to be able to help support many families in this community and that we can provide them with opportunities to give back that extend beyond HSC.”
Hostetler says, despite the economic crash in 2009, 2013 was HSC’s best year on record and the company is optimistic for 2014 to be more of the same. “When the cash flow is good, you tend to let things slip,” he explains. “When 2009 hit we had to make some changes but we recovered and we’re on course to make progress.”
The next step for HSC is transitioning ownership to the third-generation. “Ken and I have several sons already involved in the business,” says Hostetler. “I’m a very hands-on kind of guy so at first it was difficult but we’re readying for a succession plan.” Since 1966 Hostetler Sales & Construction LLC has remained family-owned as a steady beacon of hope and opportunity for communities far and wide.
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