AURORA, Ill. — Alexander Lumber Co. has announced that the company will be closing several of its legacy lumberyards in rural Central and Western Illinois. After conducting extensive market research, Alexander Lumber’s leadership affirmed that major metro and mid-sized markets should be the company’s core focus. It also became clear that trying to balance small, rural markets did not fit this strategy and, in the end, exhausted precious resources.
About the closures, Watt Alexander, chairman, Alexander Lumber Board of Directors, says, “This is not a decision we make lightly. As a family, we take great pride in the legacy of our lumber company, and we value the employees who work for us. After a comprehensive strategic review of our business, we’ve decided to double down on specific markets we believe offer the strongest opportunity for future growth in a difficult fiscal and economic environment. This means closing other yards, which, while profitable, do not offer that same level of opportunity. It does represent change to the way we’ve done business in the past, but we believe this is the best course of action for our company to grow in the future.”
The Alexander Lumber locations to be closed include the lumberyards in Canton, Ill., Lincoln, Ill., Monmouth, Ill., Rushville, Ill., and Taylorville, Ill. Additionally, the company will be merging its Bloomington, Ill., location into its Le Roy, Ill., location to serve the greater Bloomington/Normal market. Alexander Lumber will also merge its Gilman, Ill., location into its Watseka, Ill., and Fairbury, Ill., locations to serve Iroquois and Livingston counties, as well as nearby Kankakee, Ill.
With the closures of these locations, Alexander Lumber’s executive team will use its additional resources to forge a stronger brand presence in its remaining markets and continue to build market share, the company says. “We intend to focus on our core pro builder customer in the Chicago and other mid-sized markets, especially those in Wisconsin, Iowa, and other surrounding states, should any opportunities arise. These are the markets where we have been consistently successful and that allow us to operate to our strengths,” says Russ Kathrein, president/CEO of Alexander Lumber, and LBM Journal columnist.
“I am excited about the robust growth plans for Alexander Lumber as we move forward. Our new strategic direction allows us to align our resources with the greatest opportunities, while still serving our remaining Central Illinois markets,” says Kathrein. “Manufacturing components and creating innovative, new services to increase our competitive edge serving the pro contractor markets form the key part of our agenda. The consolidation also allows us to focus our future acquisition plans on select businesses that align with our core objectives in both existing and new markets.”
Each of the closing lumberyards will hold stock liquidation sales from mid-January through the end of February 2019.