Skip to main content


After 2023 produced three company acquisitions for Barnhart in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Madison, IL, the company has started off the year on a hot streak.

At the beginning of 2024, Barnhart added to its southern presence with the purchase of White Crane Co., Inc., of West Columbia, South Carolina. The family-owned company has a long history of providing quality crane rental service, knowledgeable and experienced operators, certified riggers, and transport services.  The acquisition gives Barnhart its second branch in South Carolina. 

Just last week, Barnhart acquired Baxter Crane and Rigging, of Tupelo, Mississippi, which includes Baxter’s crane rental service, equipment, and employees. It represents Barnhart’s fourth field office in the state, complementing services from locations in Columbus, Jackson and Pascagoula.

Generation Gap

So why all the acquisitions?  One reason may be generational.  According to an article in Forbes, the Baby Boomer generation accounts for an estimated 2.3 million small businesses in the United States.  At the same time, 10,000 boomers are retiring daily.  Yet their children, the millennials, often aren’t interested in taking over the family business.

Here’s where generational differences come into play.  Generally speaking, Baby Boomers are characterized by their strong work ethic. With so many of them hitting the workforce in the 1970s and 1980s, they had to work hard to stay competitive. Millennials, on the other hand, have much more of a work-to-live philosophy. They desire to maintain a healthier work/life balance than what they’ve observed from their parents. They also value flexibility and independence, something that being a business owner can seldom provide.

Fewer members of the next generation are stepping up to take over the family business, so more businesses are being sold. In the meantime, Barnhart has developed an extensive network of branches and relationships throughout the United States, while earning an enviable reputation.

“Through relationships with our competitors in various regions we’ve become more aware of the shifting landscape of crane company ownership.  Also, our reputation is attractive to some company owners. They know Barnhart is a strong company and feel their people would be in good hands. That’s an important factor for some owners,” says Barnhart Executive Vice President Jeff Latture.

It’s not just Barnhart’s stability that’s important, it’s also its culture of profit with a purpose. This means the company invests in its people and in the communities in which they live.  And that’s a value all generations can agree upon.