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A business with a place to grow

By Staff | Mar 22, 2012

Natalie Holland shows a few of the dollies that comprise the rental units from HMR Supplies.

By CLAYTON RYE

Farm News staff writer

FOREST CITY – There are dollies that move trees for the 911 Memorial in New York.

There are dollies that move barges.

There are dollies for moving large frieghters into dry dock.

Natalie Holland, who owns C R Holland Crane Service with her husband Chris Holland, stands with one of their cranes they send out in a 120-mile radius of their Forest City business.

These are dollies designed in Iowa by a company that keeps reinventing itself.

As a result, the companies managed by the Holland family in Forest?City – Holland Dollies, HMR Supplies, C R. Holland Crane Service and Ron Holland House Moving – was honored in December with a Renew Iowa Award.

Renew Rural Iowa is a program conducted by the Iowa Farm Bureau for small business owners in communities of less than 30,000 population.

The program seeks rural Iowa businesses expecting to immediate growth or are looking for a refresher in business.

As part of the Renew Rural Iowa program, an award is made to an entrepreneur each month. Last December, the award was presented to HMR Supplies of Forest City in Winnebago County.

Natalie Holland said her husband Chris grew up watching his father Ron Holland move houses and other buildings since Chris was 4.

She said Ron Holland became dissatisfied with the equipment available for moving structures and started designing his own.

He later started manufacturing Holland Dollies for resale.

In 1981, Holland Moving and Rigging became HMR Supplies and split off from Ron Holland House Moving in 2007.

HMR Supplies is owned by Chris and Natalie Holland.

Chris Holland operated C R Holland Crane Service, and it became separate from Ron Holland House Moving in 2009.

After graduating from Iowa State University, Chris and Natalie Holland returned to Forest City and joined the family business where they saw a growing business opportunity and a good place to raise a family.

Chris Holland holds a degree in electrical engineering. Natalie Holland, a native of Omaha, graduated in aerospace engineering and has since earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota.

The Hollands are parents of four children, ages 11, 9, 6 and 3.

C R Holland Crane Service covers a 120-mile radius of Forest City providing crane service for grain legs, elevators, steel building rafters, wind turbines, and ethanol plants.

It employs six crane operators and is interviewing to hire three more crane assistants, Natalie Holland said.

HMR Supplies started with providing dollies for moving structures and heavy equipment, Holland said. The company has also moved large objects, including barges and transformers.

Besides the sales of dollies, HMR Supplies keeps a supply of dollies on hand that can be rented.

HMR Supplies received an inquiry in 2011, Holland said, from those constructing the 911 Memorial in New York City about moving trees that had been grown specifically for the memorial from where they were located in New Jersey to New York City.

There were 40 to 50 trees that needed special handling.

The trees weighed 10 tons because they included the root ball.

It was the dolly business that brought the 911 Memorial builders to contact HMR Supplies, but constraints of the memorial’s location and design meant that the Holland’s dollies would not work.

The dollies were then adapted into a specialized piece of moving equipment that were able to move at right angles allowing the trees to be moved to the memorial.

These redesigned specialized moving equipment have since been used to move steel tendons that are 100 to 300 feet long for off shore oil platforms.

Holland said this equipment is self-propelled, remote controlled and can self load and unload.

HMR Supplies has designed and built submersible dollies for Alaska to move ships into dry dock. Without the dollies, ships would be sent to Seattle for dry dock. Keeping them in Alaska saves at least 10 days, she said.

The heavy marine industry is an area for growth in HMR Supplies.

Holland said HMR Supplies has exported its dollies to Canada and just filled an order to Australia for four dollies.

They are receiving inquiries from all over the world through their Internet website.

“We are looking at growing quite a bit in the next few years,” Holland said. “Our strength is our custom design availability.”

In addition to the manufacture, sales, and rental of dollies, HMR Supplies has designed and fabricated tools used in the wind turbine industry.

HMR Supplies is interviewing to hire three new people, Holland said, a mechanical drafter, mechanical design engineer and possiblly an engineering technician.

The Holland’s businesses employ 16 full time and two part time people currently.

Holland was recently elected to serve on the board of the International Association of Structural Movers, an organization with members in Canada, Europe and Australia.

Besides networking, the organization works with the regulations and permitting that is part of the moving business.

She is the third woman to serve on this board.

Contact Clayton Rye at crye@wctatel.net.

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