Monday, October 29, 2012

84 Lumber Opens First Store in 6 Years

Building materials supplier 84 Lumber Co. opened its first new store in about six years on Friday and said it will turn a profit this year for the first time since the housing downturn.

“We definitely hit rock bottom,” said Maggie Hardy Magerko, the company’s president and owner, referring to the homebuilding slump.

“Now it slowly has started to accelerate, and we’re really excited for the bright future,” she said at an event to open the company’s new Bridgeville area store.

The new location off Presto Sygan Road in South Fayette, PA replaces a smaller location on nearby Route 50. The Washington County-based company wanted to expand there and arranged a land swap with the developer of the nearby Newbury community.

Now, 84 Lumber’s seven-acre campus includes the two-story store and kitchen and bath design gallery, plus a lumber warehouse, railroad spur and high-tech saw that can turn out custom-engineered wood components for 10 houses in a day.

Sales at the new location are projected to reach $25 million next year, up from $10 million at the old store, Magerko said.

The company started in 1956 by her father, Joe Hardy, peaked at 500 stores about five years ago but shed half its locations and refinanced debt when the homebuilding industry collapsed. The last new store in the Pittsburgh area opened eight years ago — but that location in Bethel Park later was shuttered.

84 Lumber founder, Joe Hardy
 “I love the store count we have right now,” at 251 locations, Magerko said. “Before, it was all about being the biggest, and how quick can we open stores. Now it’s very manageable.”

New home construction “will start coming back in another year or so. The inventory is disappearing,” Joe Hardy said, adding housing starts could return to the 1.5 million-a-year level nationwide in a couple years.

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