When a lumberyard is nestled in the beautiful Cascade Mountain foothills of Hood River, Ore., it’s a smart decision to bring as much natural beauty as possible inside the store. That’s why this past summer Tum- A-Lum Lumber unveiled its new 10,000-square foot showroom complete with a wall made entirely of glass showcasing the breathtaking view of the Columbia River. The new Hood River store, CEO David Dittmer said, is built to “give the impression of being outdoors.” The store is designed to be well lit and modern.
As beautiful as the company’s new location is, the Hood River store also serves a strategic purpose for Tum-A-Lum. The company’s owners recognized a few years back that the community of Hood River was going through a change. The town on the outskirts of Portland was beginning to be recognized as an area that provided outdoor amenities with the influence of a larger city. As the Hood River area became known for world-class fly fishing, mountain biking, kite boarding and windsurfing, it grew to more than just an escape from Portland.
Over time, Dittmer said, Hood River became a popular destination area. Along with a strong agricultural community, an influx of recreationalists meant an increase in home improvement, new construction, second homes and seasonal residents. While Tum-A-Lum had long ago carved a niche with builder and contractor customers, it was time to grow the business’s consumer retail brand.
“We’re not trying to move emphasis away from contractors,” Dittmer said. Last year contractors made up 54% of the company’s sales. “We’re still strong there, but we’re also trying to grow the retail sales.”
To expand on retail offerings, Dittmer and his team added 50% more display space with the showroom rebuild, expanding to 10,000 square feet and adding an additional 3,500 SKUs. With help from its partnership with Do it Best Corp., Tum-A-Lum added additional products and brought in entirely new lines. The store now carries products like light fixtures that it didn’t before. In addition to the new lines, the store’s plumbing, electrical, hardware and tool departments have all been expanded.