EOY: Lending a Hand

Eric and Pam Wheelright Hoskins Building Center
Hoskins Building Center takes a community approach to growing its business.


Wm. Hoskins immigrated from Cornell, England in 1847 and struck gold two years later—literally. After becoming a wealthy man from the Gold Rush, he established his first lumberyard in 1854, Wm. Hoskins and Company.

More than a hundred years later, after purchasing Hoskins Building Center in 2002, owners Eric and Pam Wheelwright knew two things to be true: The Elizabeth, Ill.-based lumberyard was the 2nd oldest in the state, and that wasn’t about to change under their watch. Throughout the years, catering to the community and industry trends has allowed the business to grow by expanding its hardware store, customer base and share of the market.

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“Through the recession, when other, smaller businesses sadly didn’t make it, we were very fortunate to remain strong,” Pam says.

Eric planted his roots when he was hired as yard help in 1989, eventually working his way up to a managerial position in 1994. When Eric and Pam purchased the company less than 10 years later, Hoskins had four employees and roughly $1.8 million in revenues. Today, by focusing on not just what the customer can do for the company but what the company can do for the customer, the operation ended 2014 strong with $2.8 million in revenues, and now employs a total of nine experienced team members.

Eric adds, “Whether it is someone needing us to special order a product or a specific service that needs to be done, we just try to do whatever we can for the contractors and our community.”