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ENTREPRENEURS OF THE YEAR: 2016

Growing at Home

Obermeier building a future at family’s business.

Through his successful entry into the LBM business just over a year ago, John Obermeier has positioned his family business as a trusted LBM resource for his southern Indiana community - and beyond.
Through his successful entry into the LBM business just over a year ago, John Obermeier has positioned his family business as a trusted LBM resource for his southern Indiana community – and beyond.

2009 was a big year for John Obermeier. He left his corporate job at one of the nation’s largest retailers to move back home and take over his parents’ small-town hardware store. He also got married, bought a house and adopted a dog.

And things have only grown from there. Obermeier has turned his community hardware store in tiny Rockport, Ind., into the region’s leading supplier of lumber and building materials. In that time, he’s also grown his family to include three children and many more pets.

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The business that his grandfather started as a Western Auto back in 1959 had morphed into a complete hardware store and rental business by the 2000s. After years working his way up in corporate positions with Target, Obermeier was set on stepping back into life at a small-town hardware store in Rockport, 40 miles east of Evansville. In fact, it was part of his marriage proposal to his wife. First he asked if she’d mind if he took on the family business. Once she was okay with that, he asked her to marry him.

Obermeier didn’t start out intending to take his store into the LBM business, but life has a way of revealing opportunities, he said, and in 2013 the opening came to expand that business and become his community’s primary supplier of lumber and building materials.

When the area’s only lumberyard closed just a few miles down the road, Obermeier and his father made a quick decision. Working closely with their co-op partners at Do it Best Corp., the Obermeiers examined the potential market if they were to expand into a full LBM offering. After the analysis was complete, they confidently decided they were getting into the lumber business.

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