The Dream is Born
In July, Fred Kessler and James Buckley, Sr. gathered a small group of lumber dealers at the Bellevue Stratford in Philadelphia to discuss group buying. Fred exclaims, "Think what you could do by combining the buying power of some fifty lumberyards! It would be terrific!"
On September 18, Thirteen independent lumberyard owners convened to create the charter for the dream that was to become LMC.
On October 1, LMC opens a small office in the Fox Building at 16th & Market Streets in Philadelphia. The Charter members agreed to contact 2-3 fellow lumberyards and quickly met the membership quota with 35 Founding Members to open the doors. William F. Buckley is named General Manager.
The original 35 Stockholders were:
- Gable Arnold, Arnold Lumber & Supply Co., Red Lion, PA
- Dr. A.M. Northrup, Bowden & Northrup, Ashley, PA
- Henry Broscious, Broscious Lumber Company, Sunbury, PA
- Joseph W. Brosius, Brosius & Smedley Company, Wilmington, DE
- George P. Kingsley, Brown-Borhek Company, Bethlehem, PA
- Fred Kessler, Central Lumber Company, Reading, PA
- Joseph E. Petersen, Clementon Mill & Lumber, Clementon, NJ
- Dan Clinger Sr., Clinger Lumber Company, Milton, PA
- Frank D. Colson, F.D. Colson Lumber Company, N. Wildwood, NJ
- R.C. Cramer, R.C. Cramer & Son, East Stroudsburg, PA
- Dennis Wright, Creasy & Wells, Bloomsburg, PA
- Earl Waddington, A.W. Davis Lumber Company, Salem, NJ
- James T. Eliason, Jr., J.T. & L.E. Eliason, New Castle, DE
- Charles Frederick, S.Y. Frederick & Son, Hazleton, PA
- Joseph T. Galliher, W.T. Galliher & Brothers, Washington, DC
- J. Hammond Geis, John. H. Geis & Brothers, Baltimore, MD
- Alfred P. Hagen, Hagen Lumber Company, Scranton, PA
- William Ringlaben, Hazleton Lumber Yard, Hazleton, PA
- J. Reese White, Houston-White Company, Millsboro, DE
- Oscar Karn, J.P. Karn & Brothers, Brunswick, MD
- E.M. Kimball, Kimball & Prince Lumber Company, Vineland, NJ
- John W. Lundy, Lundy Lumber Company, Williamsport, PA
- Thomas E. Watkins, Peoples Lumber & Supply, Mt. Airy, MD
- E.H. Ratzburg, E.H. Ratzburg & Son, Shenandoah, PA
- S.L. Shanaman, S.L. Shanaman, Phoenixville, PA
- J. Everett Walls, Short & Walls Lumber Company, Middletown, DE
- John L. Reifsnider, Smith & Reifsnider, Westminster, MD
- Jesse Snavely, Jr., J.C. Snavely & Sons, Landisville, PA
- C.O. Letzkus, Stone Harbor Lumber Company, Stone Harbor, NJ
- C.C. Rosser, Susquehanna Lumber Company, Nanticoke, PA
- W.M. Thomas, W.M. Thomas Lumber Company, Shady Side, MD
- Frank Romig, Trexler Lumber Company, Allentown, PA
- W. Boyd Tyler, W.J. Tyler & Son Company, Baltimore, MD
- C. Jackson Waters, Geo. E. Waters & Company, Baltimore, MD
- Charles B. Wolf, Wolf Supply Company, York, PA
First Annual Meeting
LMC holds First Annual Meeting for Stockholders in January in Philadelphia. Dividend checks were returned to each Stockholder and ranged from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand. Not bad for 3 months worth of business. This created a lot of interest in the industry.
Thirty Five new Stockholders joined this year from New York and New England bringing the total membership to 70.
After one year of operations, sales reach $536,000.
On March 18th, the Board of Directors votes to increase the capital subscription from each member to $300 from the original $100. In its inception LMC did not handle the billing between member and supplier. But by 1937 they were handling over 90% of the billing to secure more advantageous pricing from suppliers and to conform to the Robinson-Patman Law.
Progress is Achieved
In February, the first group trip of Stockholders travel to Southern Pine Mills in Georgia, North and South Carolina.
At year's end, LMC sales reach $6,000,000 and the directors decided that 70 Stockholders were enough for the time being, and set that number as their limit.
Lumber for Defense
Pearl Harbor changes everything. By March, you couldn't buy a stick of lumber due to the war effort. LMC and dealers are unable to purchase or sell products, jeopardizing the future of LMC.
Georgia Hardwood Lumber Inc. to the rescue!
Gene Howerdd Vice President of Georgia Hardwood (predecessor to Georgia Pacific) relates that the U.S. Army Engineers were not obtaining enough lumber for immediate shipment and had inadequate transportation for what they did have. A solution for storage and distribution was needed. Gene proposes that LMC could be that solution. With the help of Gene Howerdd, LMC goes to DC and a new regulation is created: OPA215, allowing LMC yards the option to be declared "distribution yards" handling carloads of lumber for the War Department. LMC signs a contract with Georgia Hardwoods to store and distribute lumber to the U.S Army Engineers and LMC Stockholders are back in business. The first cars were shipped to LMC Stockholders on October 1, 1942.
Two New Leaders
William F. Buckley resigns as General Manager to become VP of Eastern Division of Georgia Hardwood Lumber Inc. Having two qualified candidates to fill the position, the board decides to split the job in two. Reece Hatchitt and Frank Simmons jointly assume the responsibility.
Trade Mark Created
LMC Board of directors authorizes a modest advertising and direct mail programs designed to promote the company as an outlet for lumber yard products throughout the east.
A new ELMCO Trade Mark is created to identify only the highest quality ELMCO products. Asphalt roofing, Asbestos sidewall shingles, and red cedar shingles merited the label.
A quarterly newsletter called the ELMCO Leaf was created to promote the ELMCO brand and share information with the Stockholders.
New General Manager
After two years, Reece Hatchitt and Frank Simmons resign. Although Simmons had been a very able engineer and contractor, and Hatchitt had an excellent reputation as a salesman, they couldn’t quite put it together. Marvin Johnston, who had been Eastern sales manager for Long-Bell Lumber in Washington, D.C. becomes General Manager.
Cementing relationships through plant tours was on the agenda early at LMC. A group of 70-75 took a trip to Vancouver, Oregon and Washington that lasted the entire month of August. Pictured: Jesse Snavely, Jr., Charles B. Wolf, Victor Olson, (President of Bellingham Plywood Corp.) and Lew Ham (Director of the Board 1945-1947).
They formed such bonds on this trip they held a reunion dinner in Atlantic City for all who attended in November. It brought out nearly 100% of those who made the month long trip.
17th Annual Meeting
On November 14th, LMC held its 17th Annual Meeting in Atlantic City.
Seated at the head table left to right: John W. Lundy, Louis F. Kreyer, Marvin Johnson, G Hunter Bowers, unidentified, Duncan S. Briggs.
The "Do It Yourself" movement spurs an LMC catalog program directed at homeowners, featuring "how to" tips and instructions.
A Change at the Helm
LMC Stockholders replace the General Manager with a new position of President and hire Robert Fraunberger. Fraunberger organizes LMC on a divisional basis with corporate officers in charge of several departments. His administration was characterized by further expansion, south to Florida and west to the Mississippi.
LMC dealers now number 56.
A Quarter Century Later...
LMC celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. on November 9th.
Sales reach 70 Million.
Executive offices are moved to 148 Lancaster Ave, in Wayne, PA.
LMC updates the ELMCO Logo for use on private label products, letterhead, envelopes and business cards.
Marketing & Moving
During the sixties, LMC launched a major merchandising program for the benefit of Stockholders. "Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner" graphic figures were created to separate LMC members from their competition. Ad kits included ready to run newspaper ads, radio spots, news releases and in store signs.
By now LMC was overly cramped at 148 Lancaster Ave and relocated to a new headquarters at 107 Aberdeen Ave. in Wayne.
Cash & Carry
Many dealers enter "Cash & Carry" field.
LMC added new lines of merchandise and advertising activities to appeal to the consumer. Running circulars and newspaper ads becomes a popular marketing strategy among the Stockholder base.
Official Co-op Status
LMC hires a new President and CEO Edward "Ted" Magarian, as Robert Fraunberger retires. Magarian leads the move to give LMC official cooperative status, thus substantially increasing annual dividends to Stockholders. Magarian felt that it was important for LMC to take on more Stockholders who met the requirements, and some thirty new dealers joined the company during his brief tenure.
LMC Turns 40!
LMC celebrates 40 years with 120 Stockholders from Maine to Florida and as far west as the Mississippi. Sales reach 100 Million.
James L. Buckley, Sr., General Manager at LMC from 1935-1944, instrumental in organizing LMC in 1935, writes the book, "LMC, The Impossible Dream".
New Management at LMC
William H. Van Lanen accepts the position of President at LMC after E.M. Ted Magarian resigns. Van Lanen initiates new management techniques and organizational changes to strengthen LMC and develop better controls. Officers are assigned broader responsibility and accountability. Business plans are developed by department after consultation with dealers and suppliers. Committee duties are expanded and prominent speakers are invited to shows, increasing attendance.
LMC on the Move
LMC moves into their current offices at 137 West Wayne Avenue in Wayne. During the '80s, LMC updates the company logo that is proudly displayed in front of the office.
Half a Century!
A 50th Anniversary bash celebrating each Stockholder region is held at the Fontainebleau in Miami.
Stockholder count is now 200.
LMC sales hit 1Billion with 262 Stockholder Companies.
Anthony DeCarlo is announced as new President and CEO, as William Van Lanen retires. Under DeCarlo's leadership, westcoast expansion and sole affiliation become a reality, sales break records reaching as high as 3.5 Billion Dollars.
The Magic Answer
LMC publishes "The Magic Answer", a marketing guide in response to the growing threat of the Big Boxes. A major shift from DIY to the professional trade begins.
LMC opens up the Rockies as a new Western Region with a new regional Manager.
LMC now totals 304 Stockholders.
Building On Service
LMC establishes hardware purchasing programs with independent distributors and launched the "Building on Service" program. This program offers dealers regional hardware distribution and a marketing banner of independence that strengthens their identity.
LMC also went live on the Internet with www.lmc.net.
LMC achieves 2 Billion Dollars in sales with 328 Stockholder Companies.
An unprecedented move in the industry, LMC boldly asks that all members drop affiliations with any other co-op and solely purchase through LMC. Announced at the Fall Show in 2000, it was completed by the Spring Show of 2003. This creats a stronger foundation that supported the growth of unique supplier opportunities we still enjoy today and leads to record breaking sales exceeding 3 Billion.
Three Billion Plus
LMC reaches 3.5 Billion in sales with 320 Stockholder Companies.
LMC goes international with a new dealer in the Bahamas.
Great in 48
LMC Stockholders now in 48 states.
A New Leader
John Somerville, formerly Sales Vice President for Dow Building Solutions, North America, is announced as New President and CEO, as Tony DeCarlo retires. Somerville states, "I look forward to stenghtening our Stockholders by developing a strong strategy to position LMC for growth in the years to come. Moving forward, LMC will take service to a higher level and in turn, take our Stockholders to a higher level of profitability. Working together LMC and our Stockholders can achieve what is impossible for others. "
LMC celebrates 75 years!
Stockholders companies exceed 360 with over 1200 locations covering the continental United States and the Bahamas.
"LMC Employees Nurture a Culture that Continually Inspires Stockholder Loyalty."
A Fresh New Look
LMC updates its brand with a more modern logo and the tagline "Building Business Together".
LMC Launches the "Billion Dollar Buying Power" marketing strategy.
Promoting the collective buying power of LMC's network of over 1300 lumber and building material dealer locations nationwide with a combined retail sales of over eight billion dollars annually. This makes every LMC Dealer a strong and respected partner in the industry. LMC Dealers' Buying Power provides the quality products professionals seek at a competitive price. For quality and price, builders, remodelers and tradesmen find more value for their business with LMC Dealers' yard than at a big box.
All 50 States!
LMC Stockholders are now in ALL 50 states.