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Vistas and Vision at Tum-A-Lum Lumber

“Prior to that, we had a small area of doors and windows, a small paint department and small cabinet space,” Dittmer said. “Now, we have a much larger selection in each of these areas.”

Staff member responsibilities were also restructured so that there are dedicated employees in each department. The store now offers extended hours and additional personnel to serve the increase in retail customers.

Until the new showroom was constructed this year, not much had changed at Tum-A-Lum’s Hood River location since it was built in 1980. A couple of years before new CEO David Dittmer arrived—he started in Jan. 2013, after retiring from ProBuild in 2007—plans to construct a new building began to take shape. It wouldn’t be until 2015 when construction on the new facility began. By June of 2016 the building was finished and now stands proudly on a plateau along the highway overlooking the Columbia River.

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The Dalles and Pendleton

Tum-A-Lum was founded in 1906 in Walla Walla, Wash. by J.M. Crawford. Local history says that company’s founder, inspired by the cascading waters of the Walla Walla area, named the company Tum-A-Lum, a Native American phrase meaning cascading waters.

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Crawford decided early on that his new business’s focus would be on supporting smaller, rural communities. The company grew quickly and at one time prior to the Great Depression, Tum-A-Lum had 55 lumberyards. As the small towns struggled economically throughout the years, so did the lumberyards.

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“Today, we have three very strong locations, and what’s interesting about those three is that we’ve been in each since before the Great Depression,” Dittmer said. “In Pendleton, we’re even still in the same building.”

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In all, the company employs 54 staff members, with each location supporting an outside sales staff. These employees served a 2015 customer base made up of 54% contractors and 32% consumers, with the remaining 14% split between government and local business customers.

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The well-rounded focus, along with the Hood River location remodel, brought the first seven months of 2016 revenues up 10% over the prior year.

Trusted in our communities

“We’re a stable company that is trusted in our communities,” Dittmer said. “We’re full line suppliers, from framing to faucet repair, in strong, county seat markets. Part of that trust is based on our employee base,” Dittmer said. “We have a lot of quality employees. We have a great crew that knows our customers and knows our communities”

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