On Dec. 29, Bornhoft Concrete, Inc. and Pronk Ready Mix, Inc. consolidated to form a new business - Buffalo Ridge Concrete, Inc. But with a combined 125 years of ownership experience between the five owners, it hardly constitutes being called a new business.
"I've told a lot of people, this is just a name change," said John Bornhoft, who along with Jeff Pronk, Dan Scotting, Wes Carr and David L. Meulebroeck, owns Buffalo Ridge Concrete. "There were a bunch of family names that were involved and different locations, but it's still business as usual."
After working together on a number of large projects, Bornhoft Concrete - with locations in Marshall, Pipestone and Tyler - and Pronk Ready Mix - with locations in Edgerton and Leota - decided to cement a partnership by merging into one company.
"Over the last three to four years, we supplied some jobs together," Bornhoft said. "We did some large dairies and windmill jobs and they worked out so well that we thought we should look at a merger. There seemed to be too many suppliers and too many trucks in the market. It was a natural thing to do."
The name Buffalo Ridge was also a natural fit since it's where most of the plants are located and where the business is.
"It makes sense," Bornhoft said. "We're just expanding the horizon so to speak."
Buffalo Ridge Concrete also purchased Southwest Minnesota Concrete - with locations in Slayton, Avoca, Tracy and Lamberton - and the ready-mix portion of Schuur Concrete - with locations in Slayton, Adrian and Luverne.
"Schuur will keep their concrete pumping, crane service and precast concrete service," Bornhoft said. "They'll retain that."
Bornhoft Concrete had been around since 1916 when John Bornhoft's grandfather, Jens Jasperson, founded the business, and Pronk Ready Mix was established in 1947. By joining forces, the owners sincerely believe that their customers will benefit.
"We've got the knowledge and experience to do a job right," Bornhoft said. "There's a level of comfort on both sides of the fence. We're really a service business, and from this merger and the acquisitions, we're going to be able to give better service."
Bornhoft said that from a business standpoint, customers need to be taken care of. In addition to remembering its roots, the new business will have an appreciation for its repeat customers. But with the new partnership, that can be done even better with fewer people sharing equipment.
"It's not necessarily less people, we're just using the employees more efficiently," he said. "We're still going to maintain managers in each plant, and everybody that was working at other companies will still work for us if they want to. We're not laying anyone off."
While the new owners are busy bidding on jobs daily and interacting with customers, they're also trying to unite their employees.
"We've been very busy with employee meetings and get all that done," Bornhoft said. "We're trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. It's really exciting."
Bornhoft said that utilizing the employees and the truck fleet is the biggest advantage in the merger.
"We'll have about 70 ready-mix trucks," Bornhoft said. "It has all our suppliers excited. The public reaction to this has been fabulous."
But there is plenty of work ahead for the new owners, who will likely spend the majority of their time traveling.
"We're nomadic salesmen," Bornhoft said." My vehicle is my office and that's probably true of the other guys, too. But we're excited to get going and we're looking forward to the future. If you're not changing, moving or looking ahead, you're standing still. We're moving forward."