From Chicken Coops to Commercial Construction
The Egg Business consisted of himself and others driving around the area and picking up eggs from the farmers. They would then bring the eggs back to Arnold’s where they were washed, candled, and packaged. They would then transport the eggs farther north in Wisconsin, and even as far as Michigan's upper peninsula and sell them.
As “The Egg Business” grew, there was an increasing need for chicken coops or chicken houses. Arnold seized the opportunity and began constructing them for area farmers along with one of his sons, Gerald. This not only helped out the farmers, but also expanded The Egg Business!
Arnold then decided to make Bauman Construction official in 1961, and even opened a branch in Cresco, Iowa, where he had acquired an egg business like his original one. Gerald didn’t join his father on the construction side right away, waiting a year to make the official change.
In Bauman Construction's beginning days, Arnold served as salesman for the company, and Gerald did the actual construction, serving as job superintendent of projects and foreman of the construction crews. Initially, almost all of the work was agricultural based, stemming from the Bauman’s background in farming and The Egg Business.
Modest Growth and Humble Expansion
In 1966, as an increasing amount of business came from the Chippewa Valley, the company relocated its entire operation to Chippewa Falls. The original “home base” was out of Gerald and Dorothy’s garage at their house, but they soon outgrew that and constructed a small shop on a lot Gerald purchased across the road. The small shop served them well for the type of work they were doing.
At that time, they would order all of their materials and have it shipped to the job site so there was not a big need for storage or staging areas. As the years moved on, they found an increasing need to have materials bought in bulk, and thus needed the space to store it.
In 1973, trying to fill this need, (along with feeling the pressure of the neighbors that didn’t want all of this machinery in their neighborhood) a new facility was built in its current location in between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. The new, larger facility allowed the company to operate a retail lumber and building supply outlet, in addition to its main occupation of frame building construction.
The facility and business growth also enabled the company to add additional staff to take care of compiling, loading, and delivery of materials for each individual project, inventory control, vehicle maintenance, and general shop duties. When the facility was finished, Gerald was promoted to general manager. This enabled him to participate to a larger degree in building sales, along with being in charge of all personnel.
All In The Family
The company grew enough that, in February 1977, it was incorporated with the new corporate name becoming Bauman Construction of Chippewa Falls, Inc. From its inception, Bauman has always been a family owned and operated business, so it made sense that upon its incorporation, Arnold Bauman became the company’s first president, Gerald Bauman vice-president, and Viola Bauman, Arnold’s wife, secretary and treasurer. Even another son, Ardell, joined the family business to serve as a foreman on one of the construction crews after his release from the armed forces in 1967.
Both of the partners’ spouses were very active within the company, too. Viola, in addition to her secretary and treasurer position, served as part-time bookkeeper for the company since its beginnings. Gerald’s wife Dorothy also served the company part-time with a wide range of duties from trim production to transportation and delivery of materials. When Viola retired in 1979, Dorothy began serving as bookkeeper for the company.
A Company that Cares for Your Community
The early 1980’s brought two major storms to the Chippewa Valley which increased the demand for buildings, and Bauman was happy to supply them. The company expanded into the residential, commercial, and industrial markets. The company also added a pre-engineered metal building line to the existing line of frame buildings, thereby enabling them to meet the needs of a larger number of industrial and commercial applications. Gerald talks still today of the endless jobs on those long days.
Generations of Dedication
When Arnold Bauman retired in 1981, Gerald assumed the responsibilities of managing all facets of the corporation. Don’t let the title of “retired” mislead you though; Arnold still came into the office daily. He enjoyed being informed on the progress and activities of the business, as well as the opportunity to visit with past clients.
In 1984, Arnold passed, which forced the family to shuffle roles again. Gerald was elected to the office of president, Dorothy was elected vice-president, and Cheryl Bauman, Gerald and Dorothy’s daughter, took over the role of secretary and treasurer.
Change in Equipment, not in Quality
Over the years, additional construction crews and sales staff were added to the company’s personnel, along with the gradual addition of office staff. In 1986, the company added an in-house concrete crew. In 1987, the company purchased an insulation blower and related equipment, and in early 1987 purchased a state-of-the-art computer aided drafting and design (CADD) system to work along with our existing computer systems.
Family and Tradition...the Bauman Way
From modest beginnings, Bauman Construction of Chippewa Falls has matured into a multi-million dollar volume, design-build general contractor, but has continued to serve its varied clients in the family oriented tradition of service and attention to detail.