Interstate + Lakeland Lumber builds for the future

The seven-unit Connecticut-based dealer expands into its fourth generation and latest location.

BY Andy Carlo

For Interstate + Lakeland Lumber, 2019 proved to be an exciting year. The Connecticut-based pro dealer expanded into Westport, Conn. with a key acquisition that strengthened its foundation in the market. 

After renovations, the dealer officially opened the former Torno Lumber and Hardware site under the Interstate + Lakeland Lumber banner in December. 

Plans call for the lumberyard portion of the Westport location to be completely up to speed in early 2020. Meanwhile, by late 2020, a neighboring space will be converted into the dealer’s second full-scale design center — a multi-story facility dedicated to the latest and greatest LBM products.

Interstate + Lakeland Lumber’s latest location in Westport, Conn.

“The acquisition in Westport was all about our future,” said Sheldon “Shelly” Kahan, president and CEO of Interstate + Lakeland Lumber. “We pride ourselves on the exemplary products and services we offer builders in Fairfield County, and being in Westport lets us serve those needs better than ever before. It will also be an incredible opportunity to provide service to the homeowners of Fairfield County.” 

This year marks Interstate + Lakeland Lumber’s 98th year in business. In Greenwich, Conn. — the company’s headquarters — the dealer continues to operate out of the same facility Leon Kahan opened back in 1922.

 “We’ve been a part of Fairfield County for nearly a century, and we knock on wood that we’ll be here for another century to come. We know what a special, beautiful place this community is, and we take our responsibility to it very seriously,” Shelly Kahan says.

While the new design center is among the dealer’s short term goals, its long-term goals include establishing the next generation of Interstate + Lakeland. While Shelly Kahan represents the 3rd generation of the company, Senior Marketing Manager Ben Kahan, salesman Brian Kurtz, and Operations Manager Jason Kirsch represent the 4th generation of the family at the business. 

“We’re excited to be continuing the family legacy and keep growing the business. Between that and putting together the next class of executive leadership, we hope to give Interstate + Lakeland the foundation to keep thriving into future generations,” Ben Kahan told HBSDealer. 

Interstate + Lakeland Lumber describes itself as a “full-service lumberyard.” In addition to lumber offerings, the dealer also sells windows, doors, roofing, siding, trim, decking and moulding. Architectural hardware is another dynamic category for the business; its Greenwich showroom features strong displays from luxury brands like Omnia, Emtek, Baldwin and more.  

In total, Interstate + Lakeland operates seven facilities including Greenwich, Stamford, Westport, Newtown, and Bethel, Conn. along with sites in Shrub Oak and Port Chester, N.Y. The company employs about 140 people full time. 

Custom moulding and millwork are an important piece of Interstate + Lakeland Lumber’s success.

The dealer’s custom millwork shop in Bethel is a particular source of pride for Interstate + Lakeland. While most of its products come from trusted vendors, Interstate + Lakeland’s millwork and Interstate + Lakeland Lumber builds for the future A seven-unit Connecticut-based dealer expands into its fourth generation Above: A craftsmen in the Bethel, Conn., millwork shop. 

“We’re so excited about everything our Bethel Millwork shop produces. We’ve really ramped up the personnel at that facility to keep producing more millwork and moulding at an even greater quality: curved radius work, custom entryways, and mouldings to fit any architectural style,” Shelly says. “Their work needs to be seen to be believed.” 

“I’m constantly in awe of what the craftsmen there are able to create. If a builder can dream of it, our craftsmen can build it. It really is just incredible work,” Ben says. 

The dealer serves a lucrative Northeast market known to many as the “Gold Coast.” In addition to Fairfield County, Interstate + Lakeland has a strong reach into Westchester County in New York, in addition to New York City. Interstate + Lakeland’s flagship Greenwich location actually sits right on the border of Fairfield and Westchester counties. 

“And all in all, these are fantastic communities that are wonderful places to raise families,” Shelly notes. “The towns are beautiful and lively, there are incredible schools (both public and private) for kids, and the Long Island Sound shoreline that runs through both counties gives them a beach-like atmosphere that you can’t find elsewhere.” 

Other recent moves by the dealer include efforts to make its locations more efficient. Centralized roles were created at each location for dispatch, shipping, and receiving on commodity items and custom millwork. Other recent changes include the implementation of the K8 business management system from Kerridge Commercial Systems. This new system is being viewed as a tool for optimizing efficiency. The system is expected to assist in strengthening distribution, tracking orders, and billing, among other functions.

 “It’s been a big initiative for us to switch over to K8, but the positive impact it will have on our operations will be tremendous,” Shelly says. 

He also sees a major advantage in the form of Interstate’s sales team, which has built business through plenty of projects in New York City, including a new building for the Parsons School of Design on Governors Island. 

Whether it’s in passion or expertise, our sales staff is downright unparalleled,” Shelly says, noting that the sales team at Interstate + Lakeland brings decades of experience to the dealer. The team features product specialists who can match a project with the perfect window, millwork and architectural hardware, as well as industry experts who know all the ins-and-outs of the market.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2020 edition of HBSDealer. 


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