ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

75-year history of Grove City business ends

GROVE CITY -- Ever since he was 12 years old, Charlie Holmquist has been coming to work at the Holmquist Lumber Company in Grove City that his dad started 75 years ago.

Carolyn Lange / TribuneAfter being in business for 75 years in Grove City, Holmquist Lumber Company will close to the public Friday. Second-generation owners Charlie and Lanette Holmquist said they will complete all scheduled projects but will close the landmark location to have time to travel, spend time with family and pursue other freelance career options.
Carolyn Lange / Tribune After being in business for 75 years in Grove City, Holmquist Lumber Company will close to the public Friday. Second-generation owners Charlie and Lanette Holmquist said they will complete all scheduled projects but will close the landmark location to have time to travel, spend time with family and pursue other freelance career options.

GROVE CITY - Ever since he was 12 years old, Charlie Holmquist has been coming to work at the Holmquist Lumber Company in Grove City that his dad started 75 years ago.

On Friday, Holmquist's life will make an abrupt change when the landmark business in this small Meeker County town closes to the public.

Current contracts and scheduled projects will continue until completed but Holmquist said the doors to the sprawling brick building will close as he and his wife and business partner Lanette Holmquist transition to retirement.

The family-owned business was started in 1942 by Stanley Holmquist, who was a principal and superintendent of the Grove City school and a state legislator for 27 years - including serving as Senate majority leader.

Charlie and his brother, Willard, took over the lumber yard in 1975. In 2007 Charlie and Lanette purchased the business and have continued providing a wide scope of services for commercial, residential and ag construction projects ranging from remodeling kitchens to building a poultry barn for 200,000 chickens.

ADVERTISEMENT

But after 75 years in operation and without a third generation to take over - and a changing rural economy that has hit small businesses hard - the Holmquists said it was time to close the lumber yard and begin a new chapter of their lives.

"We're both tired and don't want to do it anymore," said Charlie Holmquist, 64, who wants to travel, spend time with family and pursue freelance work opportunities.

Lanette, 62, said she will now have time to focus on her second job as a travel agent with Sunrise Travel.

The decision to close the lumber yard "really wasn't as hard as you'd think," said Lanette Holmquist. "For Charlie, I'm sure it's a lot harder because this has been in his family for so long."

For nearly every day for most of his life, Charlie Holmquist said he has been at the lumber yard during the business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as well as weekends and late nights.

Because of the changing rural landscape and depressed small-town economy, he said the lumber yard has changed from being a hometown business to a supplier for commercial contractors in a 50-mile radius of Grove City.

"Over 75 years we've had to reinvent ourselves many times," he said. "We've made a living by keeping the overhead down and selling to a large geographical area."

Given their age, the Holmquists said they don't have the energy to reinvent the business one more time. And besides, they like the idea of ending on the 75th anniversary of the business.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's an end of an era, but everything has to end," Charlie Holmquist said. "I think it's the right time because no one is telling us to quit. We can go out on our own terms, not somebody else's."

Because the couple will still be at the lumber yard finishing up existing projects and preparing the remaining stock for a future auction or sale, the transition will be gradual.

Charlie Holmquist admits it will be difficult to end the family business and that he will miss the customers and working with the commercial contractors.

But he said "just being able to stay home and have an extra cup of coffee in the morning will be a very nice experience."

Related Topics: GROVE CITY
Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
What To Read Next
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.
Volunteers lead lessons on infusing fibers with plant dyes and journaling scientific observations for youth in Crow Wing and Olmsted counties.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.
Qualified Minnesota farmers will receive dollar-for-dollar matching money to purchase farmland.