Big Yellow Hog Barn

The big yellow barn located at exit 135 of I-80 in Des Moines, Iowa, is home to hogs, but not of the four-legged variety. This landmark is Zook's Harley-Davidson dealership.

The dealership first opened on Feb. 20, 1981, in Columbia, Mo., as the original franchise agreement was signed with American Machine and Foundry. In the fall of 1984, Zook's Harley-Davidson bought out Mathews Harley-Davidson of Des Moines.

In 1985, the Columbia operation was closed and moved entirely to Des Moines. Now celebrating its 25th year in business, Zook's went "whole hog" with a new look and facility in 2004, thanks in part to Contech Construction Products, Inc.

Zook's moved into its fourth and current Des Moines facility—the big hog barn off of I-80. The new dealership is just over 45,000 sq ft, and the $5-million project was built in conjunction with Harley-Davidson's 100th anniversary.

"We broke ground on the new site in August 2003 at the same time that they were letting balloons go in Milwaukee for the Harley-Davidson 100th anniversary," said owner Tom "Zook" Zucker.

During construction of the Hog Barn, 1,000 ft of 8-in. Contech PVC Truss Pipe for the sanitary sewer was supplied and installed by Elder Corp., the underground utility contractor for the sewer. Staking and inspections were completed by the consulting engineering company, Cooper Crawford & Associates, LLC, of West Des Moines.

The pipe is a lightweight, thermoplastic composite pipe with a 200-psi minimum stiffness. It provides unparalleled deflection control and durability among thermoplastic gravity sewer pipe.

"The installation of the pipe went very smoothly," said Steve Frame of Elder Corp.

Speed to open

The entire Zook's Harley-Davidson dealership was built in a quick timeframe, despite weather conditions. They broke ground on Aug. 28, 2003, and opened the new location on March 7, 2004, "not bad for an Iowa winter," Zucker said.

The availability and access of pipe products and solution utilization helped keep this tight project on schedule. Zook's has now grown to be the largest new vehicle dealer between Chicago and Denver. The Hog Barn is nearly 10 times the size of the original building in Iowa, selling 20 times the number of motorcycles.

"It's not only a fun place to shop and explore or meet up with friends and hang out, but it's also a state-of-the-art service complex complete with truck-height loading dock and dyno," Zucker said. "The big yellow barn not only brings notoriety to Iowa, but it brings a strong nostalgia of the past for those who are traveling through Iowa or for those who have lived here all of their lives."

With the successful construction project now behind them, Zook's Harley-Davidson now concentrates on drawing clientele to its prominent and unique location.

"The building turned out to be everything that we wanted and more," Zucker said. "And the products from Contech helped make certain it will stay that way."

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