Hooten’s Hardware LLC proves that the guy who promised, “If you build it, they will come” gave pretty good advice.
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.
“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.
Despite a clever disguise as owner of Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply, Sharona Eiserer is really Wonder Woman.
"In 2000, Dad started building ready-to-move homes, enabling him to buy lumber wholesale. His salesman talked him into offering the lumber to the retail trade, too, so we built a warehouse open to the public."
The Eighties,” intones Trico Lumber’s Kyle Morgan in his easy-listenin’ Texas drawl, “were not good times. The oil fields went south, plus our biggest employer (here in the northeastern corner of the state), Lone Star Steel, shut down.”
Shortly past the dawn of the last century, Fred Graves, who ran a lumberyard in Wisconsin, got the urge to move to Jonesville, Mi., to help a cousin in the yard he owned. By 1919, Fred had bought him out.
But Rob never bailed. For one thing, he’s too young to retire. For another, the lumber business is all he’s ever known. And loved.
When his dad, owner of Builders Do it Centers of New Mexico, knew it was time to retire last year, Justin Ellis was handed a lemon: With no cash to match the outside offer his father couldn’t refuse, he could suck it up and go to work for the new owner, adding more of the same-old, same-old to the years he’d already tallied at the shop, or he could... um, what?