PROFILE: Old Monroe Lumber
Ours is an industry in which a lot of lumberyard owners share the pride of multi-generation family ownership. It is often more common to hear about a third-generation family business than it is to run across an upstart lumberyard. It’s particularly rare to hear of a lumberyard that has been in business less than 20 years. For companies like those, you have to look far and wide, and in the case of Old Monroe Lumber Company, you may find them in an unlikely location.
Old Monroe, Missouri is a town of 265 people. It’s not exactly where many entrepreneurs would have staked as the hub of their business back in 1999, but longtime friends Boone Creech and Cameron Finley did just that.
“When we first told everybody we’re in a town of 265 people, they said ‘you’re putting it where?’ It took people a little while to see the logic in what we were doing,” Finley said.
What they were doing was following the old real estate mantra: Location, location, location.
When the two were formulating a business plan in Creech’s basement in the late 1990s, they spent a lot of time researching area population projections. They intentionally positioned themselves on what they call “the fringe,” an area on the outskirts of three of the top four rapidly growing counties in Missouri. “We’re able to sell to those areas at a small town tax rate and there are no building codes, which makes building infrastructure easy and affordable,” Finley said.