It all began……
The History of Adam Eidemiller Inc. (AEI)
The Origins of family owned and operated Adam Eidemiller, Inc. (AEI) go back to 1925 when Adam Eidemiller and his wife, Anna were farmers in Salem Township, Pennsylvania near Greensburg.
As farmers owning large tracts of farm land in the Western Pennsylvania coal region, Adam Eidemiller began stripping coal on their farm land. This activity led into highway construction as large equipment was purchased that could be utilized in both coal stripping operations and highway construction. During the 1920s and 1930s, their road construction and coal strip mining business expanded.
In 1941, the Eidemillers purchased the Keystone Coal and Coke Company, their only deep mining operation. After a union strike in the mid-1940s this mine was shut down. But as their strip mining and road construction business grew, the Eidemillers continued to buy tracts of land for farming and coal reserves.
In the late 1940s, they purchased the Miller farm, a 198-acre farm located on what is today Route 30 East of Greensburg, primarily for its coal reserves.
Adam Eidemiller, Inc. (AEI) was incorporated in September 1947 and Adam and Anna’s three children, Wilmer (Buss), Elizabeth, and Anna Mary joined the family business. By the 1950s and into the 1960s, AEI became the second largest road contracting business in Pennsylvania. This period was a time of tremendous road construction activity which included substantial sections of the Interstate Highway System in Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
When Adam died in 1958, Wilmer (Buss) took over as President of the company with his mother, Anna, and sisters Elizabeth and Anna Mary assisting in the day to day operations.
To accommodate the roadwork, AEI purchased 5 stone quarries over the years. AEI also created the Keystone Concrete Pipe Company in the early 1960s located in Bovard, PA in a building Adam and Anna acquired with the purchase of the Keystone Coal & Coke Company in order to be able to produce their own concrete pipe for culverts and drainage in their own road construction projects. Keystone Concrete Pipe Company was one of the largest producers of reinforced concrete pipe in western Pennsylvania and AEI was one of Keystone’s largest customers.
With new road construction winding down in the Western Pennsylvania Region in the late 1970s, AEI sold much of its heavy equipment and exited the road construction and strip mining businesses turning it’s energy toward land development.
Keystone Concrete Pipe continued to thrive until the late 1980s until Penn DOT approved the use of plastic pipe for road construction. Keystone experienced a decline in business as plastic pipe gained in popularity, as it was easier to handle and install. As Keystone’s union wages continued to grow and sales dropped, Keystone Concrete Pipe Company was closed down in December 1994.
The original intent of the purchase of the Miller farm and other acreage in the 1940s was for the coal reserves. By 1961, however, the re-location and construction of US Route 30 East of Greensburg made this acreage prime property for retail development. By the late 1970s, the demand turned to larger buildings such as mall and hotels. In 1975 AEI developed and leased the 50 acre site along Route 30 now known as Westmoreland Mall.
Also along Route 30, AEI developed and operated a full-service Sheraton Inn which opened in 1978, a Super 8 Motel and several other parcels and buildings that are currently occupied by large, well known retail businesses.
AEI in addition to building and operating the Sheraton Inn and the Super 8, expanded it’s lodging operation by building and operating a Holiday Inn Express which is located on Route 30 a mile east of the Westmoreland Mall. The lodging division of AEI was discontinued with the sale of the Sheraton/Four Points hotel in 1999 and the sale of both the Super 8 and the Holiday Inn Express in 2006.
AEI continues its land development activities (both residential and commercial) along Route 30 and other nearby areas in addition to the accompanying leasehold operations.
AEI starting back in the 1960s turned to several other small businesses, which included the Classic Car Wash, a car wash facility that features both a full service automatic car wash and self-service bays, and the Hempfield Mini Storage, a 600 unit – self storage facility which features various size units for residential and commercial storage. The Hempfield Mini Storage Facility continues to grow in size to suit demand.
Of the 1,000 acres of land held by the AEI, only about a third is developed — both residentially and commercially. AEI’s land development division operation performs site preparation, such as cutting streets and installing underground utilities and storm and sanitary sewers, all services that are needed to make the sites buildable. AEI then bids out the construction work on the building, which could be for the Company’s own operations or for tenant use. The land development division includes the necessary heavy equipment and a personnel roster of 12, which includes operators an skilled labor to conduct sitework, leaseheld buildouts, and normal everyday building and property maintenance.
One of AEI’s current developments is the East High Acres sub-division development in nearby Unity Township, which is very attractive to homeowners due to its low property tax base and excellent school system. This land was originally bought for coal reserves and was partially stripped by the company in the early 1970s. To date, 276 homes sites have been developed. The average home and lot in the development costs about $500,000.
AEI’s leasehold properties are either all-net land leases or all-net land and building leases. Some of AEI’s national tenants include Toys-R-US, Best Buy, Eat ‘n Park, CVS Pharmacy, Kentucky Fried Chicken,McDonalds, Jiffy Lube, Citizens Bank, Goodwill Industries, Keystone Automotive, PACE Analytical Labs, and O.C. Cluss Lumber.
Today, AEI is headed by Louis R. Battistella, Buss’ nephew and son of Elizabeth, who was groomed by Buss to succeed him as the third generation President to continue the philosophy that has made this 80+ year old company successful. Buss died in 1999. Lou’s history with the company started in the late 1960s during the Coal and Highway Construction era. Lou also was very active in the day to day operation of the Sheraton Inn from 1979 until1999. Financial administration and Real Estate is overseen by Chief Financial Officer and Secretary-Treasurer Daniel T. Painter. Dan began as contoller of the Sheraton Inn in 1978 and assumed his role as CFO in 1985.