Work progressing at lumber yard's rebuilding project

Nearly a year after a roof collapse at D. Baker & Son Lumber Co. destroyed the business' woodshed at 720 Pennoyer Ave., work is progressing on erecting a new facility that aims to mimic the past. Click the story to see video of the collapsed warehouse in February.
Alex Doty
Dec 29, 2011

Nada Edson. “The project has really come along quickly since the foundation started.”

Work to rebuild the building began in the spring after the Grand Haven Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission approved the company’s request to erect a new 15,706-square-foot shed in the same footprint as the old one.

Edson said they hope to have the reconstructed business open at its original location in March.

“We really wanted to make sure things were running smooth before we got started,” she said, adding that she hoped the new structure could last another 140 years.

Baker Lumber had been located on Pennoyer for nearly 140 years when the large storage warehouse collapsed this past January under the weight of heavy snow. There were no employees in the building at the time.

“We’re just really excited to get back to our roots at the Pennoyer location,” Edson said, adding it has been an emotional year for those at the company.

During the reconstruction process, Baker Lumber has been operating out of a leased space at 725 Taylor Ave.

“All of the people in the neighborhood have really welcomed us,” Edson said.

According to Edson, while the new building looks similar to its predecessor, it will have some differences. The new shed is taller, has a larger office and showroom space, and the store will also feature a new computer system — something that hadn’t been upgraded since the 1990s.

Another feature returning to the lumber yard is the ability for customers to drive their vehicles through the 66-foot-long building to receive lumber products.

“A lot of customers are looking forward to the drive-through,” Edson said.

Since the building’s collapse nearly a year ago, Edson said the company has retained its loyal customers and made some new ones from media reports.

“We actually had customers who said they never knew we were here,” she said.

Once the lumber company moves back to its Pennoyer location, Edson said they will likely host some type of celebration.

Comments

ghresident

In my opinion, this rebuild wasnt a very smart move on behalf of the Bakers. The historic icon of a building they once had is gone, the city granted the rebuild because of more tax dollars they will receive. Secondly with the economy the way it is why would you ever reconsider rebuilding when its more inexpensive to pay rent? Look at the other large lumber yard in Grand Haven, theyre running a skeleton crew now because of the economy and no I'm not talking about Home Depot. They would have been better off selling the land to the Christian Haven Home to expand and stay in the location they have there lumber yard now. Dont get me wrong, Ive know the Baker family for many years and there good people, this was a poor business decision on there part and of the citys for allowing the rebuild. Again it has to do with city greed and tax dollars....Now if the economy was better, which its not. I may feel differantly. I wish the Baker team the best of luck and hope they succeed for another 140 years.

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