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Gordon Lumber Company

Gordon Lumber Company

150th Anniversary

 vcsPRAsset 515561 113131Great-Great-Granddaughters of Gordon Lumber Founder Share Family Insights on Business

To mark the 150thanniversary of Gordon Lumber, three of founder Washington Gordon’s great-great-granddaughters are sharing memories while also looking ahead to the future of the Ohio-based lumberyard. Spread across the country in Maine, Florida and Ohio, the sisters are united by their family history and a desire for the company to continue its growth.

    Residing in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Pamela Goetsch currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Gordon Lumber. She also holds the position of Director and is a shareholder in the company. As far back as she can remember she attended company shareholder meetings with her parents.

    “Back when my dad was President of the company in the 1970’s I unofficially advised and supported him,” says Goetsch. “I remember family members always talking about the business philosophy: focus on the community, customer service, fairness, integrity and excellence. These were all values that were embraced as much in the decades past as they are today.

    “Innovation was important to our success. Back in 1868 my great-great-grandfather started this company with a sawmill located in the Village of Oak Harbor. A basket-making company was added to the business in 1907, and then was spun off from the business nine years later.

“After that Gordon Lumber acquired and sold lumberyards, established a concrete division (which was also later sold), operated a design showroom, entered into the components business and most recently added installed sales to its product offerings. Those types of innovations and changes allowed us to grow and evolve into the business we are today.”

    The most actively-involved family descendent in the company, Goetsch and her sisters are the daughters of Gloria Gordon Bauman, a direct descendent of Washington Gordon and the second largest shareholder of Gordon Lumber stocks. For her part in the growth of the company, Goetsch helped guide Gordon Lumber during the 2008 recession and through corporate leadership changes in recent years. Leaning on her talents, she has focused on financing, legal matters, management and training issues with the company over the years.

    “I’ve worked through the purchasing and closing of yards, moving the components facility and assisting to turn around the business,” says Goetsch. “I’m proud to have worked with my fellow directors and management team members to effect a generational shift in the business.

    “We’ve quite literally rebuilt the business into a modern and lean corporate enterprise. Foremost on my mind has always been a strong sense of stewardship and responsibility to keep Gordon afloat so it could continue supporting our employees and the communities in which we do business.”

Gordon PIc SistersLooking Toward the Future
    Today’s Gordon Lumber surpasses any dreams that Washington Gordon may have had for his fledgling company. There are currently seven locations employing 120 people and servicing 3,500 customers.

    “It’s no small feat to stay in business for 150 years,” says Jennie Gwilym, another great-great-granddaughter of Washington Gordon and a Board of Directors member at the Gordon Lumber. “This company has made a large and lasting mark on people in Ohio and Michigan.

    “As we look to the future, I see us leveraging our expertise by acquiring additional lumberyards in small communities throughout Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. I can also see us needing more component facilities since that business continues to explode.”

    Gwilym relates that the ongoing lack of skilled labor in the building industry will push forward the growth of the component sector and installed sales. As for the future of the company, she believes in taking progressive steps as much as her great-great grandfather did.

“It would be exciting to create a supply chain in the future that is so efficient that lumber and building materials move from our vendors directly to the construction site in less than 30 days,” says Gwilym. “We could create a lumberyard with virtually no inventory on the books.

“I believe the founders of the company would like that progressive idea. If they were here today I think they would advise us to continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing building industry while keeping our focus on our customers and their needs.”

Priority One: Excellent Customer Service
    Residing in Florida, sister Betsy Snow is not actively involved in the company at this point, but she retains her position as a shareholder and is keenly interested in the progress of Gordon Lumber.

    “Pamela and Jennie keep me updated on key issues,” says Snow. “While growing up, I remember my father and grandfather telling stories of the company and about their roles on the Board of Directors. I believe these men would be surprised by how the company has grown and matured. If they were here today, they would tell us to continue to provide excellent customer service at a fair price.”

    While Snow shares that big box stores and the consolidation of smaller lumber yards are challenging situations that may have to be dealt with in the future, she offers that Gordon Lumber has the strength to survive.

“This company will survive if it maintains close ties to the communities it serves,” says Snow. “Builders and remodelers return again and again to Gordon Lumber because of the customer service and a sense of community. If we stay focused on those values our company will continue to grow.”

Tomorrow’s Gordon Lumber
    Moving into the future, as Chairman of the Board Goetsch has advice for future generations. “I would advise those who come after us to embrace change, both the uncertainties and possibilities it offers,” says Goetsch. “You have to remain resilient and meet challenges head on. This advice mirrors that which I have received over the years and I believe is timeless.”

    Who will lead Gordon Lumber in the future? If there’s a fourth generation involved, it will come down to Gwilym’s two children --- the only two direct descendants of Washington Gordon. While neither her son nor daughter is currently involved in the company, they’re both interested in its ongoing performance.

    “Life takes different twists and turns,” says Gwilym. “I wasn’t that involved in the company until recent years. It’s possible that same path will happen for my children.”

    Together, all three sisters share a sense of pride in being connected with a company that has its roots going back 15 decades.

    “I’m so proud to be not just a part of the legacy of Gordon Lumber, but also part of its future,” says Goetsch. “Hopefully the next generation will be able to share the same sense of pride in supporting a business that cherishes its history while also continuing to reinvent itself year after year.”

Celebrating 150 Years of Building Communities
    Today Gordon Lumber operates six home center/lumberyards and a components manufacturing facility in Ohio. Locations include Bellevue, Bowling Green, Findlay, Fremont, Genoa, Huron and Port Clinton. The corporate offices are in Fremont.

    Gordon Lumber also markets components in Michigan in collaboration with Gordon Components MI, a components manufacturer, owned by David McGee. As Gordon Lumber enters its next 150 years, it will continue to provide integrated building solutions to the communities it serves as it has done since 1868.

          

 

 

150th Anniversary

Gordon Lumber receives Proclamation from Governor Kasich

Erin Leonard excepts Proclamation from Governor Kasich on behalf of the Gordon Lumber Holdings Company. 
Lu Cooke, Northwest Regional Liaison (left), and Jim Wasil, Business Liaison, Office of the Lt. Governor (right), present Erin Leonard, President of Gordon Lumber Holdings Company (center) a Proclamation congratulating Gordon Lumber on celebrating their 150th anniversary.

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An ink blotter calendar from 1948 -We're collecting Gordon Lumber memorabilia - if you come across anything, let us know!

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Gordon Lumber Marks 150th Anniversary

            FREMONT, OHIO - Started in 1868 by Ohio settler Washington Gordon, this year Gordon Lumber celebrates 150 years of building communities throughout Ohio and Michigan. From the small sawmill built 15 decades ago by Gordon in Oak Harbor, Ohio, the company now has seven locations employing 120 people and servicing 3,500 customers.

            "The history of our company fascinates me," says Pamela Goetsch, great-, great-granddaughter of Washington Gordon and a vcsPRAsset 515561 113131member of the Gordon Lumber board of directors. "We can accurately trace the life of this company from its founding shortly after the civil war. For the first 30 years my great-, great-grandfather had a prosperous sawmill operation and over time brought other family members, including his brother-in-law, Henry Kilmer, into the management of the company.

                "A year after his death in 1903, The Gordon Lumber Company was incorporated in Ohio to support the continued growth of the business."

                According to historical records, a basket manufacturing business was added to the business for several years in 1908, and then in 1916 the company went back to focusing on lumber.

          

vcsPRAsset 515561 113132During the next several decades the company added a variety of lumberyards and stores.  A components (truss) division was added in 1961 and in 2013 the company began transacting business in Michigan.  The company has weathered the Great Depression, two world wars and the 2008 housing crisis and continues to serve communities in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.

Today's Gordon Lumber

             Today Gordon Lumber operates six home center/lumberyards and a components manufacturing facility in Ohio. Locations include Bellevue, Bowling Green, Findlay, Fremont, Genoa, Huron and Port Clinton. The corporate offices are in Fremont.

            "This milestone 150th anniversary cannot be replicated by many companies," says Erin Leonard, president of Gordon Lumber. "Our roots trace back to a time when a single man decided to open a sawmill. From that first step to now, Gordon Lumber has evolved as a standout Ohio business.

            "We not only have grown Washington Gordon's original vision by opening home centers and a component plant, we're contributingvcsPRAsset 515561 113133 to the different communities where we have operations. And, our company has been a source of employment and support to the building industry for decades."

            Leonard relates that today's Gordon Lumber focuses on seven reasons why people should bring their business to their stores: dedicated customer focus, local expertise, real-world experience, hometown pride, rental centers, helpful advice and support, and the longevity of its employees. Leonard shares that the average Gordon Lumber employee has been on the job for 13 years, and half of the employees have been with the company for 20+ years. Some employees have been with Gordon Lumber for 30 or more years.

            "We've embraced the same principles that Washington Gordon and the original family members did when starting this company," says Leonard. "These are our core values. They're what sets us apart in the marketplace and will help us grow into our next 150 years."

            For information on Gordon Lumber, visit www.gordonlumber.com.

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Gordon Lumber: Milestone Anniversaries

1868 - Washington Gordon opens a sawmill in Oak Harbor, supplying lumber to a variety of railroad companies and businesses.vcsPRAsset 515561 113134

1903 - The business incorporated in Ohio and was renamed The Gordon Lumber Company.

1907 - The company was renamed Gordon Lumber, Basket & Manufacturing Company when a basket manufacturing business was added to the original lumber business.

1916 - The basket end of business was sold. The company goes back to its former name, The Gordon Lumber Company. In the same year the company purchases Buckeye Lumber & Supply Company, with a location in Fremont.

1929 - The Gordon Lumber Company purchased The East Clinton Lumber & Coal Company, which became the Lakeside location.

1937 - A location was started in Bellevue.

1944 - Fire strikes the Fremont yard, causing a complete loss of all physical property. A new location is immediately found and business starts up again.

1951 - Bowling Green location was started.

1960 - Gordon Lumber purchases Advance Lumber & Supply, Inc. and the Fremont yard moved to a new location.

1961 – The Truss and Panel Division was formed in Oak Harbor.

1966 - The Genoa operation launches after being purchased from the Powers Lumber Co.

1969 - The Fremont yard again suffers from a massive fire. A decision was made to rebuild the store.

1970 - A newer, larger facility was obtained for Bowling Green.

1974 - The Bellevue location expands to a different location in the city.

1979 - V.A. Fries Lumber Co. was purchased by Gordon Lumber, giving them a branch in Huron.

1984 - The Lakeside branch moves to a new facility in Port Clinton.

1998 - The Genoa location changes for more space within the city.

2001 - Fremont operations change to a new location within the city.

2001 – The company’s corporate office moved from Oak Harbor to Fremont.

2002 -The Findlay yard commenced business and operated as a yard until 2009, when it was changed over to a Clearance Center. In 2014 the facility was retooled and became the company’s components manufacturing facility.

2013 - The company began transacting business in Michigan in collaboration with Gordon Components MI LLC, a wall panel and truss company owned by Dave McGee and located in Romulus, Michigan.  In 2017 this collaboration was legally formalized.

2017 - The name of the company was changed to Gordon Lumber Holdings Company to reflect the legal restructure of the company and the creation of four new subsidiary limited liability companies, Gordon Lumber Company, LLC, Gordon Components Company, LLC, Gordon Contract Sales Company, LLC and Gordon Land Holding Company, LLC.

2017 - The company expanded its business into installed and contract sales through Gordon Contract Sales Company, LLC.                  

2018 - 150th anniversary of Gordon Lumber Company with new company logo introduced, plus separate logos for Gordon Components, Gordon Contract Sales and Gordon Lumber Holdings Company.

 

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