LUMBERYARDS

Building (again) in Cincinnati

BY Ken Clark

The owners of Forge Lumber were on the sidelines during the height of the building boom, having sold their Cincinnati operation to Builders FirstSource in 2000. But after their non-compete agreements expired, the management group jumped back in.

And they wasted little time establishing their two-location operation—one yard on each side of the Ohio River in Kentucky and Ohio—as a force in their market.

In 2009, Forge Lumber rode market share gains to a 27% sales increase and a No. 282 ranking on the Pro Dealer Industry Scoreboard. For its success and commitment to service and growth, the company earned the 2010 Independent Pro Dealer of the Year award. That sales success, in a year when the vast majority of companies on the Scoreboard showed declines, was the result of a focus on the customer and a focus on quality.

“We want to have the most professional lumber operation in the country,” said Eric Steinman, executive VP. It’s an ambitious goal, and one that begins with putting the right people in the right positions.

“When we bought two smaller lumber organizations to form Forge Lumber, those purchases were focused on people,” he said. “Many of them we knew and respected and felt like they would help form a great team.”

Forge’s strong 2009 was aided by the withdrawal of some major players, opening the door for local knowledge to win business. One key to the team is David Luecke (pronounced “lucky”), VP sales and marketing. Luecke brings 35 years of experience in the LBM business, including a role as president and CEO of Riemeier Lumber, which was once the dominant commercial project supplier in Cincinnati.

“We have a significant edge in our markets because of who we have on our team and our depth of experience in the industry,” Luecke said.

Forge Lumber Co.

2010 Independent Pro Dealer of the YearSlogan: “We nail it. Every time.”Headquarters: CincinnatiLocations: 2HCN Pro Dealer Scoreboard Ranking: No. 2822009 sales growth: 27.8%President: John SteinmanColor commentary: “We believe our customers will be looking for us to help them more, and in many ways.”—Eric Steinman

 

Another key member of the management team is John Steinman IV, son of Forge Lumber president John Steinman. Steinman the younger brings a background in information technology and purchasing, which management believes will prove critical to future success, and has already achieved results through the implementation of a new software system.

“We know we have work to do, and we always have work to do; but right now, we’ve completed some difficult upgrades, and we’re about to put the foot on the gas pedal,” Eric Steinman said.

Building on its $23 million performance in 2009 will require a commitment to customers, he added.

The name of “Forge” came about as the result of “non-scientific pondering,” Eric said. But it seems to fit, as the family business pounds away and forges ahead on customer service.

“We’re very honored to receive this award,” Eric said. “It reflects the strong work ethic of all of our team members. And we’re also very optimistic that we can continue to grow with our customers.”

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Molpus buys timberland in seven states

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Molpus Woodlands Group, a timberlands investment management group, has announced the acquisition of 124,521 acres of pine in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Molpus purchased the tract from Rock Creek Capital, which in turn acquired the acreage from International Paper Co.

Molpus president Dick Molpus said in a prepared statement: "The International Paper properties are high-quality timberlands located in seven southeastern states and represent a diversity of wood baskets with strong product demand. Although these properties were purchased for timberland prices, their proximity to urban areas and major corridors leads us to believe they have promising development, biomass and conservational opportunities."  

This acquisition increases Molpus’ total timberland assets under management to more than a billion dollars. Molpus is adding two additional office locations in Florida and North Carolina to its current 14 offices located in eight other states. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Molpus is a family-owned company that began in 1905 as a mercantile store in Philadelphia, Miss., before becoming the Molpus Lumber Co.

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84 Lumber reopens in Panhandle

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An 84 Lumber location in East Milton, Fla., is reopening Oct. 1, according to an article in the Pensacola News Journal.

In addition to a full lumberyard, the outlet will include a millwork facility and door shop. Installation services will also be available.

General manager Ken Tuggle told the newspaper he will open with 20 employees at first, then bring on 20 more in the coming months as the location adds a truss manufacturing plant.

The northern Florida store closed in April 2008 as one of 30 locations shuttered during the housing downturn.

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