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Lumberyard Deals Surge as Specialty Firms Opt for Greenfield Starts

Updated: Aug 9, 2019


LBM openings (green pins), closures (red) and deals (blue) so far in 2019. Source: Webb Analytics research

Transactions involving lumberyards have come back in vogue this year. And if what happened last fall is a precedent, dealmaking in that sector will get much hotter this autumn and winter.


Webb Analytics research indicates that 52 locations of lumberyards, truss plants, millwork shops and showrooms have changed hands through Aug. 8 of this year, a marked increase from the 40 similar locations that were involved in transactions up to that same date in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of specialty roofing and drywall dealer locations involved in transactions has fallen to just 32 sites from the 71 that took place through 8/8/18.


Instead, the specialty dealers appear to prefer to open up greenfield sites. SRS Distribution has launched 18 of them, while ABC Supply announced 17 new locations, Beacon Roofing Supply four and Foundation Building Materials three.


Specialty dealers--particularly SRS--still are buying, but in general the one-steppers' numbers aren't so dominant. SRS leads with 33 locations largely because this year it launched a new landscaping/irrigation division that so far has seen it sweep up 25 branches. It also has purchased the locations of eight roofing companies, the same as ABC's L&W Supply did with drywallers and Building Industry Partners did with door, trim, and fencing outfits.


Carter Lumber achieved the most notable single lumberyard deal this year, acquiring the seven outlets of the recently collapsed DuBell Lumber. BMS, Kodiak Building Partners, and GMS bought five yards each.


All told, there have been 218 locations involved in openings, closures, and acquisitions through Aug. 8 of this year. There were 208 by this point last year, with close to 200 more taking place from mid-August through year-end 2018. Last year's second-half action included several enormous deals, such as the creation of American Construction Source and multi-yard purchases by US LBM, Riverhead Builders Supply, and Kodiak. All indications point to more of the same happening this year.


In addition, several unnamed lumberyards have turned to brokers to put themselves up for sale. They include a $6.27 million yard in Salida, CO; a lumberyard and hardware store in Vermont with annual revenue of $4.8 million; a $1.5 million company in Clare, MI; and a $3 million dealer in New Hampshire. And then there's Beartooth Lumber in Absarokee, MT, which took in $700,000 last year and can be yours for $425,000


Among the deals we do know about, here's a summary of the most notable ones since July 1:


* An investment fund out of California entered the LBM deals game with the creation of Fulcrum Building Group. Its first purchases were two companies on Florida's Gulf Coast: Navarre (FL) Lumber and South Bay Lumber of Santa Rosa Beach.


* BMC acquired Kingston (WA) Lumber.


* Builders FirstSource bought the Sun State Components truss plants in Kingman and Surprise, AZ, as well as in North Las Vegas, NV.


* Kodiak Building Partners acquired Builders Alliance of Bellingham, WA.


* SRS Distribution opened four branches of its Suncoast Roofers Supply division in Jacksonville, Panama City Beach, Melbourne, and Miami, FL.


* SRS Distribution's Heritage Landscape Supply Group, which sprung to life early this year, expanded again with the purchase of Normac, a landscaping/irrigation specialist with eight operations in California. In addition Heritage's CPS Distributors opened a store in Colorado Springs, CO.


* SRS also purchased Slover Roofing Supply, a dealer with stores in Midland and Abilene, TX.


* Woodford Lumber bought the old Superior Lumber operation in Clear Lake, IA.


* Interstate + Lakeland Lumber acquired Westport, CT's Torno Lumber.


* ABC Supply's L&W subsidiary opened stores in Springfield, VA; Modesto, CA; Boise, ID; and Green Bay, WI. Meanwhile, ABC Supply opened new stores in Boise, ID; and Stockton, CA.


* US LBM's Universal Supply opened its third branch in Maryland, this time in Columbia.


* Two stores closed: Forest Products of Gilroy, CA; and Escalon (CA) Lumber.


* Others were fresh openings, including Minardi Lumber, Hermantown, MN, and Bazooka Lumber & Livestock in Thermopolis, WY. In addition, Eldredge Lumber and Hardware plans to expand to Sanford, ME, by year-end.


* Homewood Holdings, a unit of Building Industry Partners, did several acquisitions. One was Custom Choice Door of Lakewood, WA. Another was Total Trim Construction of Auburn, CA.


* Two Bellevue Builders Supply sites--one long closed, one closing, both on rented space--were acquired by Curtis Lumber, which will plant its flag in both locations. The Bellevue yard closed several years ago is in Sidney, NY, while the operation being shuttered now is in Richmondville, NY.


* Another Building Industry Partners division, U.S. Fence Solutions, acquired Western Access Controls of Northglenn, CO.


* Foundation Building Materials opened three greenfield operations in Corpus Christi, New Braunfels, and Lewisville, TX.


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