Local firm acquired by Ambassador Supply, footprint expanding
Hixwood Metal in the Town of Thorp is expanding, after the company with a full lumberyard on Hixwood Road and more buildings on Copenhaver Avenue was acquired by Ambassador Supply of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Two other companies owned by Ambassador, Qualiform and Country Metals, will also be branded as Hixwood as part of the growth in business.
The acquisition will allow Ambassador to get building supplies it needs from Hixwood, while Hixwood gets the capital and materials that it needs from Ambassador, while also supplying other manufacturing businesses in the Ambassador Supply network, according to Hixwood representative Paul Zimmerman Jr. So who’s Ambassador Supply?
“Ambassador Supply is the building arm of Ambassador Enterprises,” Hixwood director of operations Casey Kullmann said of the Fort Wayne-based company that supplies building materials nationwide. The acquisition is not of the top-down model, as Ambassador still lets Hixwood make local decisions, and encourages giving back to local communities as well, not just Fort Wayne Indiana.
Shifting back to Hixwood locally, the company founded in 1998 by Harvey Zimmerman and Paul Zimmerman Sr. has been building an ex- pansion off Copenhaver, which the firm says it hopes will triple its capacity to build structures, while the east end of the building off Highway 29 will be used as storage for post-frame buildings, which leads into what Hixwood can do for local customers.
“Let’s say you want to build a post-frame building,” Kullmann said of one possibility. “we’re the guys to come to.” With a full lumberyard along with blown and cellulose insulation in its supplies, Hixwood also offers windows and does building design customers can see on a screen at the company, in addition to the metal supply portion of the company. The extensive stock of building materials allows for contractors and others to get supplies closer to home, rather than heading to either Eau Claire or Wausau. At the same time, there’s a small town aspect to the business, with face-toface service and reputation both considered important.
“Hixwood is big enough to handle anything, but still have the hometown feeling that makes people want to work with us,” Kullmann said of the firm off Copenhaver Avenue. Saying that rep utation means more than paycheck and that paycheck will follow reputation, Zimmerman Jr. next went into the firm's true specialty: steel!
"We put in our first roll former in 2005," Zimmerman Jr. shared recently of the machines that form the roof and siding material the firm is known for. From its first roll former Hixwood then expanded, starting to supply as far away as Colorado back in 2010. With on-site contractors and design capability, metal options from Hixwood include those for steel roofs, siding, pole barns, and shed-houses, or “shouses,” it was made known.
Also called ‘barn dominions,” the architectural category generally includes barns that have both agricultural as well as living quarters or office capabilities, while Hixwood also does residential roofs, although not full residential house design, in the traditional sense.
With an industry shift taking place that has seen network-type operations turn more involved and closer to the end user, meanwhile, Hixwood offers an array of small storage units, completely maintenance free and with a special vehicle called a Shed Mule that moves the shed around to place it without ruining the customer’s lawn in the process. Given its expansion and like many this spring, Hixwood is hiring.
“The culture that we’re trying to provide here is that we don’t want to offer you a job, we want to offer you a career,” Kullmann said. With the ongoing expansion and a new building to staff, the opportunities are many at Hixwood Metal, located close to home at N14685 Copenhaver Avenue, Town of Thorp.
Currently finishing an expansion off Highway 29 expected to triple its capacity to build structures, Hixwood Metal is set for even bigger things as its brand stratches from Colorado to New York. Photo by Joseph Back.