84 Lumber Reaches $4B Sales Record in 2020

Originally published by: HBS DealerNovember 12, 2020

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84 Lumber has hit a corporate milestone and reached record sales of $4 billion for the first time in the pro dealer’s history.

The mark was met just days before the company celebrates its 64th anniversary.

84 Lumber President Maggie Hardy Knox

84 Lumber President Maggie Hardy Knox

“I am so proud of what our 84 associates have done to make this company so successful,” said 84 Lumber President Maggie Hardy Knox. “At the end of the day, it’s about growing our company so that our associates can grow too. I think that’s what sets us apart from everyone else in this business. As a privately-owned company, we’ve held onto our family culture, and we have learned to serve our customers better, and more efficiently than ever before.”

The Eighty Four, Pa.-based pro dealer finished 2019 with sales of about $3.8 billion. 84 Lumber Chief Operating Officer Frank Cicero said that he is confident the company will reach sales of close to $4.5 billion for the year.

Cicero describes the dealer’s success and new sales record as being built upon company “momentum.”

Following the Great Recession and darker days for home building between 2008 to 2011, 84 Lumber responded with a sales increase every year since 2012.

“In 2017, we got back to normal and a growth spurt for store openings,” Cicero told HBSDealer.  For instance, 84 Lumber grew its count of component plants from 4 in 2011 to 10 facilities. The company also continues to place an emphasis on greenfield openings. 

The company is currently in the middle of a three-year growth plan and opened manufacturing plants in the Cleveland/Columbus, Ohio markets; Greenville, S.C.; and Philadelphia this year. And the company is moving forward with plans to expand in Northern California; Boise, Idaho; Detroit, Michigan; and additional markets by early 2021.

84 Lumber's Charlotte, N.C. store.

84 Lumber's Charlotte, N.C. store.

“We feel good about the housing industry, builder confidence is very high,” Cicero says. “If our customers are very positive, we are able to grow with them.”

Residential construction is strong across the board at 84 Lumber. While typically solid markets like Texas, Florida, and Arizona remain vibrant, other regions are also showing notable gains such as the company’s Mid-Atlantic division, which reaches from Boston to Virginia Beach.

The COO also singles out 84 Lumber’s real estate development division, which takes care of greenfield growth. “Building new stores and expanding services creates more opportunities for our associates,” said Cicero, who has been with the company for 37 years.

Being a privately-held company is part of the company’s formula for success, according to Amy Smiley, 84 Lumber vice president of marketing.

“We are a privately held company and we are different than some of our competitors,” Smiley says. “We have a family atmosphere here.”

It's also an atmosphere, she says, where large initiatives can move quickly from idea to execution. 

“We can make a decision and get 5,800 associates behind that decision,” Cicero notes. “And we are transparent with our customers and vendors with that decision. It’s really the strength that will allow this company to grow for a long, long time.”

Cicero compares reaching the $4 billion mark to winning the Super Bowl. The company has knocked on the door a few times but has never crossed the threshold; until now.

“I think our associates really feel that way today,” he says. “There is real pride in how everyone has worked toward that goal.”