Cook County Home Center acquires Sawtooth Lumber

Sawtooth Lumber will now serve as the company’s “Westside” branch.
Cook County Home Center was purchased by Nate Sheils and Jeff Buetow in 2015.

On its Facebook page, Cook County Home Center announced that it has acquired “substantially all the assets” of Sawtooth Lumber. 

Both dealers are located in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The city is the county seat and only municipality in Cook County, which is situated on Lake Superior’s north shore.

“The consolidation of the two lumberyards is expected to provide customers of both businesses with access to additional inventory and improved services,” Cook County Home Center said in a press release posted on social media.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Sawtooth Lumber will now serve as the company’s “Westside” branch. The location will also serve as the receiving branch for all building materials.

In the meantime, Cook County Home Center on the eastern side of the region will remain an Ace Hardware store and self-service lumberyard.

Nate Sheils, president of Cook County Home Center, said his company was outgrowing its current, single location. 

“This acquisition gives us more space, consolidates the buying power of the two lumberyards, and allows us to manage a larger inventory,” Sheils said. “That is a real benefit for our contractor customers and vendors.”

Custom lumber deliveries will also originate from the Sawtooth location, which is expected to improve efficiency and timeliness, the company said.

Tom Junker, the former owner of Sawtooth Lumber, will continue to run his other operations. This includes Voyageur Lumber in Ely, Junker’s Lumber in Littlefork, and Porky’s Building Supply in Evelth.

Cook County Home Center is owned by Sheils and Jeff Buetow who acquired the former Superior Lumber in 2015.

“This acquisition allows us to continue the growth of our business,” Buetow said. “And we plan to continue providing our hardware store and lumberyard customers with all the best products and service.”

Mergers and acquisitions are not without headaches, however. Cook County recently noted on social media that while computer systems were up and running at the Westside location, they were unable to receive credit card payments.

Regardless, management at Cook County Home Center are happy with this move. Especially when it comes to the money behind recent acquisitions in the industry.

“There is a trend in our industry of large investment groups buying small, independent lumberyards,” said Dan Femlund, director of operations at Cook County Home Center. “We are happy to have the opportunity to add the Sawtooth facility to our locally owned company.”

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