Dealer Profile: Montana’s Central Lumber

Jeff Sell has earned his stripes at making lemonade—although that’s one of the few items that his business, Central Lumber & Hardware, Harlowton, Mt., doesn’t sell.

The small town of Upton (population 681) fails to earn so much as a dot on my Rand McNally’s map of Kentucky. Yet its mainstay, Jones Home Center, is punching well above its weight.

Dealer Profile: Idaho’s Hess Lumber

It’s 7 a.m. in Malad City, Id., when Doug Crowther picks up the phone for our conversation. (Mercifully, it’s 8 a.m. at my home base in Minneapolis.) But that’s business as usual, the GM of Hess Lumber assures me.

DEALER PROFILE: Indiana’s Krempp Lumber

Six generations ago, young German immigrant Andrew Krempp made his way to Jasper, In., and launched a long history of family ownership in the building materials trade.

Dealer Profile: Arizona’s Southwest Lumber

Bruce Jacobson, a contractor in Yuma, Az., who worked on residential and commercial building with a side of engineering, had a problem: how to get what he needed, and when. The answer came in a light bulb moment: form his own company.

Dealer Profile: Missouri’s Hermann Lumber

Danny Baumstark, 65, is about to retire as head of Hermann Lumber, the yard he owns, in Hermann, Mo., pop. 2,700. But not to worry: The succession plan has been in place for, oh, ever since his daughters were old enough to sweep out the driveway.

Dealer Profile: Texas’ Hooten’s Hardware

Hooten’s Hardware LLC proves that the guy who promised, “If you build it, they will come” gave pretty good advice.

Dealer Profile: Montana’s Westmart

This is not a how-to story. It works better as a cautionary tale: one of those “What was he thinking?” accounts that warns of a deep financial failure when a newbie, with more confidence than smarts or experience, takes over an unfamiliar business and runs it into the ground.

Dealer Profile: Idaho’s Orofino Builders Supply

“There’s a shortage of housing out here in the West, so there’s a healthy amount of new-home construction,” says the fourth-generation owner of Orofino Builders Supply, founded by his great-grandfather in 1924.

Dealer Profiles: Missouri’s Wood Shed Lumber

Despite a clever disguise as owner of Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply, Sharona Eiserer is really Wonder Woman.