Paul Gabbard knows a thing or two about healthy living: Before he bought into the family lumber business, he owned three gyms. It was Gabbard’s love of fitness that motivated him to open a full gym for his employees and their families at the lumberyard.

Photo by Hollis Bennett
Photo by Hollis Bennett

What type of equipment is in the gym?

We’ve got a Woodway treadmill and a Scifit rehab bike. Some of our employees are getting older, and [the rehab bike] really helps them.

How many employees work out?

Just about all of them. I let them take a 20-minute break to work out during downtimes. I have a buddy who gets them started with training. He’ll set up a workout that they can do in a 15- to 20-minute period.

How does it help employees?

It has really paid off. I’ve got one individual who had back trouble. He made the comment to me not long ago that since we’ve done this, he’s had almost zero issues. He hasn’t missed any work because of his back in I don’t know how long. That’s the kind of stuff that tangibly is paying off.

Do you have any dedicated weight lifters on staff?

You’re not going to get too many body builders. That’s a different philosophy. Body builders tend to believe in barbells, long workouts, and doing something every day. … What I want to do is build muscle.

What did you learn from running a gym that you can apply to the LBM industry?

Personal service. I knew that to be successful in the fitness industry you had to give a lot of one-on-one attention. I also learned how important it is to keep the store clean. In the fitness industry, you better darn well keep those machines clean. Same thing in our business.

Are you a fitness buff?

I enjoy the challenge of training. I do it maybe once or twice a week. I’m 60 years old, so that’s all that’s really required. The thing I like is to do strength training. It’s hard work.