Akron Lumber Company under new ownership

Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

j Akron Lumber passing the keys Van Walbeeks Philips.tif

By Julie Ann Madden

Making dreams happen.

That is the goal of the new Akron Lumber Company owners Joseph and Leah Van Walbeek of Orange City.

“I enjoy the construction business,” said Joseph “Joe” Van Walbeek, “and enjoy making dreams happen for people.”

A lumberyard is one way I can do that with my creative and construction background,” he said, noting they will be selling both dimensional (2’x4’ and other sizes) and construction (green-treated) lumber as well as building materials such as insulation, sheetrock, siding and roofing materials.

Also, available are Diamond Vogel paints, Pella windows and doors, Interchange air nailers and nails, creosote poles, rib steel, Sioux Steel Company livestock equipment and Pro Tec hoop buildings.

“We will continue to add to our selection over time,” he added.

“We really want to partner with our customers and contractors — making their dreams happen,” said Joe, explaining their corporation is Making Dreams Happen Inc. doing business as Akron Lumber Company.

We plan on taking the business’ “Closed” sign down but we are about a month away from being fully up to speed,” he said, adding they are targeting a Grand Reopening for this June.

The Akron Lumber Company’s hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to Noon on Saturdays.

Akron Lumber Company’s phone number remains the same, 712-568-2801. Joe can also be reached on his cell phone 712-422-2305 or by email at akronlumber@gmail.com. Also, check out their Facebook page: Akron Lumber.

Joe is a native of Blue Grass, Iowa, and a graduate of Moline, Ill.’s Temple Christian High School Class of 2004.

In 2008, he earned Bachelor’s Degrees at Dordt College in Sioux Center where he studied Business Administration, Graphic Design and Accounting.

Joe’s construction career began while he was in college, building chicken coops and hog buildings and making pallets.

Then he worked at Northwest Decor & Furniture in Sheldon. In 2010, Joe joined Menard’s, first as a store employee, then at the corporate level. One of his favorite tasks was helping people design cabinetry layouts.

Next, Joe expanded his business skills as a Marketing Coordinator for Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wis. While in Wisconsin, Joe and Leah “flipped” (remodeled and resold) a house.

Most recently, the Van Walbeeks returned to Iowa where Joe worked at P & H Wholesale of Sioux Center.

“A wide variety of experience,” said Joe, summing up his career path as they step into the Akron business community.

Leah is a Sheldon native and a 2005 graduate of Unity Christian High School in Orange City. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Dordt College in 2009 and completed her Master’s Degree in Human Services at Liberty University in 2012. Leah is currently a stay-at-home mom to their sons, Ethan, 3, and Levi, 18 months, but she can often be found working along side Joe, bringing her own creative talents to construction ideas.

“We can see the design potential in a building or room — see what it can be,” said Leah.

Such is evident in the color scheme they’ve chosen for the interior of the Akron Lumber Company.

“It’s something we feel is satisfying — helping people out,” said Joe, noting he’s often been called to help friends with remodeling projects. “I enjoy designing.”

The couple enjoys spending time together with family as well as they enjoy watching and playing sports — basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, tennis, snowboarding to name a few. They especially enjoy playing sand volleyball and hope to find an opportunity in Akron.

Leah also enjoys taking outings with the boys to parks and the library.

High on their priority list is their Christian faith. They are active at Dover Alliance Church in Orange City.

Although the family isn’t planning to move to Akron at this time, Joe’s parents are moving to Akron to offer them a helping hand.

Soon, the Van Walbeeks will plug in the coffee pot for visitors.

“I’m just glad to turn it over to a new young family,” said previous owner Tim Philips, “and to have a continuing lumberyard in the Akron area and wish them the best. I know they have the intestinal fortitude to do it.”

And as of Tuesday, April 10, Tim and his wife, Val, have handed over the keys.

Although the Philips were busy with the Akron Opera House’s Oliver! production last week, Tim says there are four granddaughters calling “Grandpa” that he’s going to be spending a lot of time with in the future.

The Akron Lumber Company celebrated its 125th anniversary of continuous operation in 2017.

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