Small Towns, Big Growth: Lockridge, Inc.
A consistent trait of any successful businessperson’s story is the ability to be able to adapt to your customers’ needs. That’s how Lockridge, Inc. grew from a small farm and hardware store that operated out of an old gas station in Promise City, Iowa, to a four-location chain of full-line lumberyards.
The ability to adapt from farm supplies to lumber and building materials has kept Lockridge going strong into what is now its 70th year. While the Lockridge stores still carry fencing and farm materials, 70% of the company’s business comes in through professional building and remodeling contractors.
Clint Housh, manager of the Centerville, Iowa store and son of owners Dale and Jill Housh, said that flexibility from farm store to lumberyard has allowed the company continued growth, even through tough economic periods.
“It seems as if when one was down, the other was strong and vice versa,” he said. “It’s nice because those two markets offset each other. One helps you get through one year and another helps you get through the next.” Clint said that when building has been down, sometimes farming has been expanding. “We’re really diverse. We do 100 pole barns a year, 20-25 houses.”
In an area with a diminishing population—Promise City’s latest census count was 112—the ability to grow and expand has bucked trends. From the original Promise City store, expansion to Centerville and Chariton in Iowa, as well as Unionville, Missouri, has led the company to continued revenue growth. Now tapping into the Des Moines market, Housh said he goes where the contractors are. When his faithful contractor customers are working farther away from home, Lockridge is there to supply them.