Business owner values Sioux Center spot

For the past six months JR Construction has enjoyed its new location at 396 Sixth Ave. N.W., previously home to Van’t Hof Concrete.

SIOUX CENTER—JR Construction is the third company in the line up of businesses that found a larger home in Sioux Center within the past year.

First Mouw Motor Co. moved to its new location. Then Van’t Hof Concrete moved into the former Mouw space.

For the past six months JR Construction has enjoyed its new location at 396 Sixth Ave. N.W. previously home to Van’t Hof Concrete.

“That says something about Sioux Center — it has growing businesses, and we want to stay here,” said JR Construction owner Jerry Rus. “It’s a very nice community and when you live here, you want to try to keep the community that way.”

Rus, 68, has had a hand in helping Sioux Center grow as JR Construction “has a heavy focus on pipe laying, installing underground utilities,” Rus said. It also has a paving crew that does street and parking lot paving projects. The company also does some site dirt work.

Part of the company’s resume in Sioux Center includes the storm sewer project on Fourth Avenue Southeast and widening of Highway 75, both in 2010, the expansion of Sioux Center’s industrial park where Ver Hoef Automotive, Mouw Motor. Co and Rent-All are located, the development of Ridge View, work with the ethanol plant, building lagoons for Perdue Foods and expansions at Groschopp.

JR Construction is currently involved in the Children’s Park shelter house and parking lot project. Future city projects include installing new water mains along First Avenue Southwest, developing the new Country View lift station and working on the new high school building project.

“The city is very supportive, great to work with,” Rus said.

Seeing the company’s impact on the community is partly what motivates Rus to continue in his line of work.

“Taking the project from ag land and developing it into a usable site for the city whether it’s residential or commercial is exciting,” Rus said. “When we’re working, our presence is pretty known because we make a lot of dirt piles. People don’t often see the final product of our work but knowing what we’ve done to make the land available for public use for expansion of the economy is pretty great.”

Rus moved to Hull in the late 1960s and to Sioux Center in 1975.

His work in the area began as a driver for Joe’s Ready-Mix in 1972 and worked his way up to managing its construction division in the early 1980s. Rus said after GCC Alliance Concrete purchase Joe’s Read-Mix, it didn’t want to keep the construction division so Rus took that portion and turned it into JR Construction in 2009. Then he merged with Vander Pol Excavating in 2010. The companies together have about 50 employees.

“That’s something people don’t always understand — in 2009, we were competitors. In 2010, we became partners,” Rus said. “It’s been a great partnership.”

One main reason kept the JR Construction name alive.

“Communities like to have a hometown business,” Rus said. “It felt it was good to maintain a presence in Sioux Center because that’s where I’m from and that’s the work I’m doing, even if we’re two companies working together.”

Rus also values the work his company does because it offers local jobs.

About 20 employees are based out of the company’s Sioux Center location.

The Sioux Center shop, previously located in Suite 136 at Stor All on Seventh Street Northwest — now home to Leusink Repair — was in need of more space for equipment and employee parking.

“The focus in our Sioux Center shop is to maintain equipment and have some equipment storage,” Rus said, noting the dual companies have a storage yard at its Orange City location. “Our old space got very congested. And now I have windows in my office, which is great too.”

JR Construction officially moved in Feb. 1.

“It’s good to have a permanent home, to be here for at least the rest of my career,” Rus said. “I’ve got good health and love what I do so I have plans to stay with it a few more years yet at least.”