Alpha Building Center History
On May 1st, 1985 Henry Hershberger started Alpha Building Center as the sole proprietor and his son, Myron Hershberger was the first employee. Alpha was originally located on 200 N, ½ mile east of State Road 5 in Shipshewana, IN. The first products that were sold were doors, windows, and siding. Myron’s main job was delivering with a pickup truck. The first pieces of equipment that was purchased were a 12’ trailer and a small fork lift. In September of that year, another one of Henry’s sons, Lorne Hershberger took Myron’s place making the deliveries.
In 1986 they started assembling steel entrance doors using Challenge Doors and ODL Glass Lites. This was accomplished at the barn at the Hershberger home. Assembling doors has proved to be a big plus for Alpha and is continued to this day. In September 1986 Lyndon Hershberger was hired to make deliveries.
With the business growing it was realized that more space was needed and in the fall of 1987 the land that the business is now located on just south of the junction of US 20 and State Road 5 was purchased. The barn on that land was renovated to add office and showroom space and a mill room. The remainder of the building was used for storage space. The existing corn crib/hog house on the property was used for siding storage.
In February 1988 the business was moved to its current location. Keith Hershberger joined the company in August of this year.
To create more interest in the family for the business, Alpha Building Center was reconstructed as a family business partnership.
Bursting at the seams, the first new building was built. The size of it was 60’ x 100’ and seemed huge! Nathan Hershberger started working for the business in August.
The spring of 1992 was when Alpha started handling metal for pole barns. Metal was stocked in 48’ lengths and a 14’ brake for the trim was added. A 1-ton pickup and 32’ trailer was used for deliveries.
January 1st, 1993 the Alpha Building Center was officially incorporated.
This year a second new building measuring 40’ x 208’ was built. The first dump truck was also purchased. It had a 22’ bed.
In February 1995, Virgil Hershberger started work as an outside sales person. 1995 is the first year that lumber was carried as a stock product. A small boom truck was purchased to allow roof top delivery of shingles. The first non-family member, Galen Miller was hired. Galen is Lorne’s brother-in-law. The area between the two newest buildings was cemented.
The first 1-ton dump truck was purchased for delivery. Edith Hershberger started working in the office in June this year.
Things became a little hectic this year with material stacked four deep and three high. Every time that something was needed four things needed to be moved to get to it. In the midst of all this, the 3rd new building was under construction. This building was an 80’ x 248’ block building. The metal was put on that building the day before open house and the concrete was poured the day of open house. The area between the building and out behind the metal building was cemented. Virgil started doing estimates and take-offs full time. Andy Kurtz was hired as a new full time sales representative. Myron, one of the original employees came back to work full time for the company. Now the entire Hershberger family was working for the company. The first brand new vehicle in the company’s history was purchased this year. It was a pickup truck for outside sales.
More firsts for the company: A new gooseneck lumber dumper trailer and a new 4 wheel drive Ford truck were purchased. In June the first new fork lift was bought. In December of this year a new location was added, RPM Supply. That location is located west of New Paris. Four employees worked at that location.
Elroy Mast, who was on the road for Alpha in 1998, was put in charge of managing RPM Supply. Lyndon started doing full time outside sales. This gave the company two full time sales representatives. In spring of 1999, ground was broke for a new 60’ x 80’ store front and office building at the Shipshewana location. The new store was occupied by July. The original farmhouse that was on the property was moved off the premises. A large boom truck was added to the fleet of delivery vehicles.
At the beginning of 2000 Alpha was operating with 22 full time and 5 part time employees at the main store in Shipshewana. There were 8 full time employees at RPM Supply in New Paris. A new location was purchased for RPM Supply on the north edge of New Paris on State Road 15. An 80’ x 160’ store was built on these 10 acres and was occupied by September of this year. The property on the east edge of the Shipshewana location was purchased from Landmark Inc and the metal was moved into the building located on that property. Jeremy Hershberger was hired to work in the yard. Jeremy was the first of Henry’s grandchildren to work at Alpha.
In May of 2001 Alpha changed from a True Value Hardware to become a Do It Best Hardware location.
The second large boom truck was added to the growing fleet of delivery vehicles.
A new building was needed in 2003 so an 80’ x 308’ building was started this year.
The 80’x 308’ building was finished this year. It was setup to handle FRP in the south end of that building. The mill room was moved to the center of this new building as well.
Shelving from the Purity Supermarket sale in Lagrange, IN was purchased and used for storage upstairs of the store at the main location as well as for the office area. Storage up to this time had been boxes setting on pallets. 2005 was the first year that Everlast metal was available at Alpha.
Some black Valspar shelving was purchased this year for more storage space. Virgil was put in charge of getting things started at a new location in Nottawa, MI called Nottawa Lumber. Glen Geigley was hired as the manager of that location and Jeff Iddings was hired as the outside sales representative.
Another 80’ x 308’ was built this year. Windows and decking is being stored in the north end, siding in the center, and drywall and insulation in the south end. Concrete was poured in between the two 80’ x 308’ buildings. Some broken spots in the yard were also re-concreted. Vinyl fencing was installed around the 3 buildings on the east side of the property. The original barn at the front of the property was taken down to make room for more parking. A new location for Nottawa Lumber was purchased at the east edge of Nottawa. A new store and warehouse were built and the entire Nottawa location was moved into it. The Nottawa Lumber was also setup as a Do It Best hardware.