Lamar Construction to close; 180 laid off

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Lamar Construction Company in Hudsonville is closing the construction arm of its business.

24 Hour News 8 had been hearing rumors for a couple of days about financial trouble at Lamar. When a crew went to the company Wednesday morning looking for answers, workers could be seen taking boxes of their belongings in their cars.

Inside, 24 Hour News 8 was provided with a statement that said the construction division would be shut down.

The statement said the closure would cause 180 people to be laid off. Many of those people worked Wednesday, but would not be back Thursday as their jobs disappeared.

“It’s hard to say goodbye because it’s a great company,” Tara Brouwer, who was among those who lost their jobs, said. “Sad, but at least we have good memories. We were a huge family and that’s how the owners wanted it to be. They had giving hearts and did everything for employees.”

The statement did not provide details about the closing, though it contained vague references to current economic conditions with its construction operation.

The statement said Wednesday was a sad and difficult day. Executives declined to discuss the matter on camera.

The company will keep its structural steel operation open. The workers in that division will not lose their jobs.

A Monday memo obtained by 24 Hour News 8 from Lamar Construction CEO Carl Blauwkamp to employees said the company was meeting with its lender Fifth Third Bank and was working on a plan for the business.

Two days later, it announced the closure of the construction division.

“Everyone will push on. Everyone will figure it out,” Brouwer said. “I don’t think there’s any hard feelings. Obviously some people — but not for me.”

The Lamar Construction website was shut down Wednesday morning.

Lamar Construction started as a one-man home-building operation in 1938. It grew to all sorts of construction, building banks, offices schools and public buildings like the Grandville Public Library. It did jobs across the country, and had offices in Kentucky and Colorado. A few workers will stay on the job in the short term to wind down the business.

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