Melvin Companies of Abbotsford, Medford, & Neillsville
Melvin Companies: Our History
Eighty-seven years ago, 20-year-old Francis Melvin needed full-time work in the Abbotsford area. The country was deep in the Great Depression, so employment was scarce everywhere, including central Wisconsin. Armed with only an 8th grade education, Melvin traded his used car for a used truck. With that one truck, the Melvin Companies was founded. It was with his truck that he courted his future wife, Ruth Ockerlander. The truck proved as romantic as it was practical. They were married in 1936 and settled in Abbotsford.
Today, Melvin Companies is a diverse and multi-faceted business that continues to be family-owned. We became one of the state’s most successful supplier-contractor organizations. Our fleet includes nearly 175 vehicles, trailers and pieces of equipment, including 15 Ready-Mix Trucks, all of which are front discharge. The company employs about 40-45 people during the construction season.
With a family to support, Francis took jobs hauling gravel with his truck. For several summers he also hauled peas to the cannery in Dorchester often nearly 24 hours a day. Because summer road construction seasons were short, for 25 years Melvin Companies hauled logs in Michigan during the winters to supplement the company income. For many of those years, Francis worked in the woods with his employees and Ruth cooked meals for the crew in camp.