Shed Builder Expanded Into Three Complementary Businesses
by Sharon Thatcher
Frustration can be a big motivator. It was for Reuben Nolt of Floyd, Iowa, who went into the truss building business due to long lead times from suppliers for his shed building business. Now truss building has become half of his business, with the other half devoted to panel roll forming.
Nolt and his business partner Alvin Brubaker own and operate Riverside Metal Roofing LLC. Their customer base is located in a 150-mile radius of their northern Iowa shop.
According to Brubaker, the shed side of Riverside’s business came as an unexpected off shoot of Reuben’s venture into roll forming.
“Reuben started [building sheds] shortly after he started the [roll forming] business in the wintertime when the guys didn’t have much to do,” Brubaker said. “They started building with a sheet of metal left over here and a sheet of metal left over there.”
The sheds were built to-order direct to the consumer. Except for a little advertising in local papers, they relied on word-of-mouth, as they continue to do today.
Business at a Glance
Riverside Metal Roofing LLC, Floyd, Iowa
Owners: Reuben Nolt and Alvin Brubaker
Roll-forming equipment: Hayes panel line roll former; SQ2 Snap Loc line; Jorn ag trim brake
Coil Supplier: Hixwood Metal, Stanley, Wisconsin
Services offered: Roll-forming panel and trim accounts for about half of business. The other half of business is truss manufacturing and post-frame shed building by order. They offer truck delivery.
It was a successful side business, and two years later, in 2010, the truss line was added. “It was an existing truss line,” Brubaker said, “a buyout from a guy out west.”
The purchase put Riverside on the fast track to diversifying into another segment.
The truss line utilizes pre-engineered trusses using software and engineering services from Eagle Metal. “The trusses are pre-engineered by Eagle,” Brubaker explained. “I’ll tell the computer, for example, I need a bearing here, a bearing there, the roof slope is 4/12, this is the pounds of snow load, and the computer does all the calculation. The software is all pre-engineered and tested, so I have a truss design I can send to the engineer for stamping.”
For Nolt and Riverside, one-time frustrations over long lead times for materials has led to a trifecta of diversification that has paid off. Every aspect of the three businesses – roll forming, shed building and truss manufacturing – complement each other.
And there are no longer problems keeping workers busy during the long winter months. GSCB