One of my fondest LBM memories came when I saw Robert Plummer, president of R.P. Lumber, pushing a cart early one morning at a Do it Best market, stocking up and looking for opportunities. That eye for the chance is no less sharp today.
On March 19, the 72-branch R.P. Lumber network grew by more than a third when Plummer's R.P. Acquisition subsidiary bought Stock+Field, a collection of 25 farm and ranch stores spanning the Great Lakes region from Ohio to Wisconsin. Stock+Field had filed in January for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law.
"The team at R.P. Acquisition Corp. recognizes that the loss of these stores would leave a difficult hole to fill in each of their local communities," R.P. Lumber said in a news release. "With this in mind, they will endeavor to keep the customers, the employees, and their families united as a community, rooted in the heartland." The news release then quoted Plummer as saying: “Our focus right now is on keeping Stock+Field stores open and serving the many communities they have served for years and, in some instances, decades.”
Plummer's move makes this a rare month in which SRS Distribution wasn't responsible for the biggest deal. It's not for lack of trying, though: SRS was responsible for the second-biggest acquisition, taking over the Louis T. Ollesheimer chain of 12 roofing stores.
In related news since late February:
* Professional Builders Supply opened a distribution center in Dunn, NC, to serve customers in counties south of the Raleigh-Durham metro area.
* Your Building Centers bought Palmerton (PA) Lumber.
* Nation's Best Holdings acquired Hometown Hardware of Longview, TX
* Wehrung's Lumber & Home Center bought Dries Do it Center of Macungie, PA.
* Jeremy French took over Ennis (TX) Door & Trim.
* Rocky's Ace Hardware acquired Clarke's Hardware of New London, NH.
* Central Network Retail Group has opened a slew of Outdoor Supply Hardware stores over the winter. The most recent one began serving customers in Millbrae, CA, on Feb. 22.
* 84 Lumber's latest truss plant opened in Richmond, VA.