On the growth path, Carter Lumber consolidates

With a focus firmly set on long-term growth, Kent, Ohio-based Carter Lumber identified 26 mostly Midwestern locations for closing. 

In announcing the moves, the company explained that its growth plans require consolidation in some smaller markets and an emphasis on those markets that can support growth. The moves allow the 143-location pro dealer to “support our growth, increase market share and expand into new markets,” according to an announcement.

Carter is no stranger to growth, particularly since residential construction turned south in 2006.

"During the recent economic downturn, while many competitors were tring to survive, Carter Lumber transformed itself from a $500 million traditional lumberyard, into almost a $1 billion professional lumberyard," said Jeff Donley, president. On top of that, during the last 18 months, Carter expanded with new stores in Baltimore/Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Va.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Pittsburgh; and Outer Banks, N.C. 

“Sometimes, we make this business too complicated,” said Kip Gleckler, senior VP field operations for Carter Lumber. “Look at the markets, pick the best location and hire talented people to service the customer. It’s that simple. It’s not like we’re saving lives; we’re just shipping lumber and we need to do it better than anyone else.”

Locations set for closing represent only 5% of the company’s sales. They are: 

In Ohio: Akron, (Wadsworth Road location); Ashland, Bucyrus, Celina, Clyde, Coshocton, Eaton (lumber and plumbing), Fredericktown, Hillsboro, Huntsville, Kenton, Reno and Van Wert (lumber and plumbing).

In Indiana: New Castle, Rochester, Rockport (Kight Home Center), Shelbyville (lumber and plumbing) and Warsaw.

Also: Bad Axe, Mich.; Sturgis, Mich., Elizabethtown, Ky.; and Laurinburg, N.C.

The closings and consolidation will result in the loss of less than 30 full-time positions, the company said.