November 14, 2008 in Business

Building supplier coming to Valley

Owner plans to hire 15 workers by Dec. 1
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Montana wholesale building products company will open a Spokane Valley warehouse and expects to eventually have 60 people selling products across the Inland Northwest.

Privately owned Lumber Yard Supply bought 10 acres of commercial land at 17524 E. Euclid and hopes to open its doors in January.

Company CEO and President Owen Robinson said he’ll hire about 15 local workers by Dec. 1. “We only sell wholesale to lumber yards,” Robinson said. “We pride ourselves on knowing how to serve rural areas. So we’ll have a wide variety of building products.”

The jobs will include inside and outside sales, warehouse workers and drivers. “And all the jobs will have very good benefits,” said Robinson, who knows Spokane firsthand as a member of the Providence Health & Services board of directors.

His new warehouse will take over a 100,000-square-foot building that formerly housed window-frame manufacturer Pristina Pine. That company declared bankruptcy earlier this year and shut its doors.

Robinson paid $3.25 million for that 5-acre parcel. He also paid about $500,000 for an adjoining 5 acres. Both parcels were owned by Four Corners LLC, the company that ran Pristina Pine. Robinson said he will build a 5,000-square-foot office building adjoining the warehouse.

The move is part of his plan to expand beyond Montana into North Idaho, Eastern Washington and northeast Oregon, Robinson said.

“Why would we move into Spokane when the economy is struggling?” he said. “That’s a question a lot of my friends ask.”

He said a company with a healthy balance sheet is better poised to move into a new area during a downturn.

He also said gaining traction in a new market is easier done in a downturn than during a boom.

“It’s hard to go into a new area when everything is booming. When the economy is down, people look around and shop smarter,” he said.

Lumber Yard Supply has warehouses in Great Falls and Billings. It began operating 122 years ago in the Dakota Territory.

It now employs about 100 people, and Robinson expects the Spokane warehouse will have a staff of about 60 people “in about three years.”

To reach staff writer Tom Sowa call (509) 459-5492 or e-mail toms@spokesman.com.


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