Stark Truss Company Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Stark Truss Company Inc.
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Stark Truss Company Inc. (STC) was founded in 1963. Abner and Esther Yoder, co-owners of STC, began the company as a small manufacturer of prefabricated trusses in Canton, Ohio. The husband and wife team built a solid foundation for the company based on the family’s strong Christian values of integrity, hard work and faith. Guided by these values, the Yoders established many longstanding relationships with suppliers and customers alike, which continue today with STC’s second generation of family leadership.
Abner and Esther’s sons, Stephen E. Yoder and Javan L. Yoder, president and executive vice president, respectively, are both graduates of RHEMA Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Okla. According to Stephen, the brothers grew up in the business and now lead the company with the same values instilled in them by their parents.
“My father founded the business before I was born,” Stephen elaborates. “Even though he grew up on an Amish farm and had only an eighth-grade education, his insight and knowledge of our industry are invaluable and greatly respected. Abner spent years passing along this knowledge and wisdom to his children. There are four of us who now wholly own the business. The second generation is fully transferred.”
“We are a component manufacturer,” Stephen recounts. “We build roof trusses, wall panels and floor trusses for the construction industry. Something that sets us apart from other component manufacturers is that we actually produce our own I-joists and process machine-graded lumber, as well. But what gives us the greatest advantage in this industry is the depth of our experience. A great number of our employees have been with us from 15 to more than 35 years and, as a result, we have a history of not only providing a quality product, but also being a valuable resource for our customers.”
STC currently employs 500 people among nine facilities servicing 20 states across the eastern half of the United States. “Our high mark in 2007 was 1,400 employees, but unfortunately through the economic downturn we had to shutter some of the facilities and pull back from some markets,” Stephen says. “Our original facility in Canton, Ohio, remains our largest production facility and is headquarters for the maintenance and fabrication of production equipment. Canton, Ohio, is located in Stark County, which is where our father came up with the company name.”
STC also serves Columbus, Ohio, and the state’s southern markets from its facility in Washington Court House, Ohio. “Northwestern Ohio, along with parts of Indiana and Michigan, are serviced from our facility located in Edgerton, which restarted production earlier this year,” says Stephen. “Also in Ohio, our Beach City plant supplies all of our facilities, as well as many other construction industry customers, as a manufacturer of wood I-joists, LVL beams and rim joists, also known as engineered wood products.”
As the years progressed STC expanded the business across Ohio and into other states. “In the 1990s we expanded into several very active markets,” Stephen says. “A facility was opened in Perryville, Mo., to serve the St. Louis market and surrounding areas going into Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas. In Rensselaer, Ind., another facility was opened to serve the Indianapolis market along with Illinois and Michigan markets.” Later, in 1996, STC purchased a facility in Auburn, Ky., to serve the Nashville, Tenn., market along with all of the rest of the state and surrounding areas.
According to Stephen, additional plants were established in the 2000s, including the facility in Summerville, S.C., which serves the Charleston market along with the markets in North Carolina and Georgia. The company added an additional location in Doswell, Va., to serve the Richmond and Washington, D.C., markets, as well as the surrounding Virginia areas.
“We purchase the raw materials, design the product with software and then precision cut the lumber with automated saws,” Stephen explains. “The individual lumber pieces are then placed into set up jigs giving the truss its required shape. Metal gussets [metal plates with teeth] are applied and pressed onto the connecting joints to form the completed truss assembly. The completed trusses are shipped to the jobsite and erected as a structural component in the construction process.”
Stephen is proud of how far the company has come. “We work in coordination with builders, lumber yards, architects and engineers blending concept with function, assisting them to determine how we can all accomplish the goal of completing their project,” he says. “The company also offers wholesale lumber, which is a growing component of our business.”
Maintaining a Market Share
STC is celebrating 50 years in business in 2013 and is planning celebrations at each location in honor of the occasion. “Given the economic challenges of the last several years we are very proud of this milestone,” Stephen recounts. “This is a tribute to the foundation our father laid in the building of our company. We are blessed to be where we are at this time. Many truss suppliers were not able to withstand the economic challenges of the last several years.”
Despite the recent economic struggles, Stephen and the STC team remain optimistic. “Business is getting stronger each day,” Stephen says. “We remain optimistic as the demand for roof and floor trusses are increasing once again. Though reduced in size, we have been able to position our company for greater success in the future as the economy recovers. We are still one of the largest privately owned wood-truss businesses in the country.”
With the company’s commitment and reputation for quality products and customer service, STC is growing again. “We feel like we finally have some traction in the market,” Stephen says. As that traction continues, Stephen and his family are expecting a return to growth as Stark Truss Company Inc. maintains its unique position in the construction component manufacturing industry.
For more information about Stark Truss Company Inc., please visit: www.starktruss.com.
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