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With the help of his parents, Buswell purchased his first lumberyard in 1980. He became the business’s second full-time employee. In the first year, the company turned $180,000 in sales.

All American Do it Center-1Three years later, Buswell said, he made the best business decision of his lifetime in taking on a minority partner in Todd Page. Together, Buswell and Page scraped together enough to purchase a second location in Black River Falls, Wis.

But in order to grow, Buswell knew that his business would need to be centered in larger communities than the two in which he was currently located. In fact, Buswell remembers a vendor once telling him that he couldn’t throw a pair of darts at a map of Wisconsin and land in two worse spots to grow a business.

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For years, Buswell and Page worked without salaries, using the money instead to pay off store debt. In 1994 the duo opened up a larger store in Tomah, Wis., and closed the Norwalk store. A bigger market in a 10,000-population town could support the new 35,000-square-foot store. And just 25 minutes away from the Norwalk location, the new store still served his existing customer base.

All American Do it Center-3In 2004, Buswell made a similar move by building a 25,000-square-foot store from the ground up in Sparta, Wis. and closing the nearby Black River Falls location. Sparta’s store manager Tammy Bolcerek eventually became a part owner. “We thought so highly of her that we wanted to bring her in to the ownership of the company,” Buswell said.

A third store, comprised of a 35,000-square-foot retail area with a 25,000-square-foot drive-through lumber warehouse, was built in 2014 in Richland Center, Wis. All three stores were built from the ground up, Buswell said, and in each his partnership with Do it Best Corp. helped with demographic and feasibility studies as well as design and merchandising advice.

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All American Do it Center-2Now serving a base of 60% DIY customers and 40% pro contractors, Buswell employs 100 associates between the three stores, a long way from the two (including himself) when he first started. His first year’s sales of $180,000 in the tiny Norwalk store is dwarfed by the company’s 2014 sales of approximately $18 million, with revenue trends increasing as word spreads of the Richland Center store’s opening.

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