The teamwork approach at R.P. Lumber promotes longevity in relationships for employees, suppliers, and customers. Ownership invests in both people and infrastructure that drives company success. “From building a new warehouse to painting facilities or buying new vehicles,” Plummer said. “We have ownership that significantly reinvests in the business year in and year out. We sell premium products. We’re blessed with great vendors and great suppliers. We’ve been with Do it Best for 38 years, and they’ve been a great partner. I can’t say enough about all of our partners.”
Plummer said he and his sisters, Julie and Jennifer, have been involved with the lumberyard since they were able to walk, and he said that is “only half jokingly.” When growing up, Plummer and his two sisters, who are also still involved in the company, were either at school, playing sports, or working in the store.
“Before I could read I worked in the paint aisle. I could match the colors on the paint cans. My sisters were the same, we did everything from mopping floors to stacking lumber in the yard. My mom has been involved in payroll and other back office work for literally decades,” Plummer said.
It’s always been a family affair. One of R.P. Lumber’s first employees was Donna’s dad, Charles. He left a job he’d been at for many years to help his son in-law’s new enterprise. His new colleagues and customers nicknamed him “F.L.,” for father in law. The nickname stuck and was a source of pride for both F.L. and his wife, Eleanor.
While Plummer said he believes R.P. Lumber currently has the best employees in each of the markets they serve, he sees the same challenge of finding and retaining a quality workforce that any other LBM dealer faces.
“As we grow, we need the right people and finding them can be a challenge at times,” he said. In addition to the usual advertisements in newspapers and online, R.P. Lumber focuses on employee referrals to bring in talent.
“We make sure that the market recognizes our core values and I think that people like to work for a company that they sense is a good place to work. We try to provide good wages, good benefits, a family-friendly culture, and we’re flexible. We encourage our employees to get involved in community organizations such as their churches, schools, and sports leagues,” Plummer said. “You’d be surprised at how many of our team members coach Little League, are active in scouting, or involved in other community organizations. We have a lot of folks who have been with us for 10, 20, and 30 years. I think we present a culture and atmosphere that is attractive, no doubt, to a lot of people. We take a lot of pride in that.”
Attracting those people to the lumber industry means also participating in the advancement of the industry, Plummer said. While LBM isn’t necessarily an industry people think of when they think innovation, for R.P. Lumber, innovation is what keeps the company competitive.