Western Michigan-based Zeeland Lumber and Supply Co. and Hamilton Farm Bureau's lumber division announced today they will merge, in effect adding a truss operation to Zeeland Lumber's capabilities.

The new company, to be called Zeeland Lumber Holdings, will begin operations on Jan. 2 and will have three divisions: Zeeland Lumber and Supply, Hamilton Truss and Zeeland Contractor Services, an announcement from the new operations said. Existing operations and sales offices will continue.

Zeeland Lumber president Harold "Herk" VandenBosch Jr. will serve as chief executive officer and president of the new company, while Hamilton Farm Bureau president Bob Fenton will be a member of the company's board.

Zeeland Lumber is a traditional full-service lumberyard with three showrooms in western Michigan and a heavy focus on the professional builder. Hamilton Farm Bureau serves the seed crop and poultry industries and has an energy operation in addition to its lumber division, which historically has been a direct-to-customer operation. Aside from making trusses and building components, it is also active in the post-and-frame market.

"As Herk and I were discussing industry issues, we had similar approaches to this shrinking market," Fenton told ProSales. "...If we combined forces, we'd have a lot more powerful business model."

Zeeland will own 75% of the new operation, while Hamilton will own 25%, Fenton added.

"As a complete source for the building industry, Zeeland Lumber and Supply Co. will continue to create new business strategies and future enhancements to keep us a front runner in the industry," the statement said. "We value our relationship with all of our customers, vendors, employees, stockholders and community and strongly believe this venture will enhance those relationships. Our renewed commitment to provide excellent service, product value and a complete source for any project promises to make 2009 an exciting year."