Unlike the tourists that flock to Maine each summer, Greg Ackroyd and Hancock Lumber don’t pack it in after Labor Day. They stay open all year long, helping local builders complete their projects in time for next summer’s rush. Here’s what it’s like operating in a New England coastal town where winter snows, the spring thaw, and summer tourist traffic can make logistics a nightmare.
A Lifetime of Lumber I started working for a local lumberyard in Sanford, Maine, when I was 14 years old. I’ve either been a builder or working for a lumberyard for … well, I’m 52 now.
Meet and Greet Usually I get in here about 6:30 and the first thing I do is answer any voice mails and e-mails. Then I go out and meet and greet the guys in the yard, see how their day went the day before and what their goals are for the day and things that they might suggest that can make us more efficient. I spend probably about 50% of my day in the office and the other 50% interacting with customers and employees.
Gold Coast Along the shore, the older homes are getting torn down and rebuilt. Those can be $2 million homes by the time all is said and done. Our building season [goes into] the winter because people want their cottages and homes ready come summer.
Stocking Hybrids So many of our builders have become both custom builders and remodelers. The pace gets incredibly quick because, when these guys are remodeling, every day they’re running into something new. Instead of having a two- or three-day notice for deliveries, all of the sudden our guys in the yard have to build a load and drivers are getting out of here with same-day deliveries. You have to react quicker.
Road Rules In the summer, everything is so congested. We talk more about safety. During the spring thaw, they have what they call posted roads and you can’t drive them at a certain weight, so you have to call a road commissioner. Before we leave here with a delivery, we call them to see if it was cold enough that night that they’ll let us run the roads in the morning. It definitely becomes a logistics problem.