84 Lumber announced today it will reopen its Houston facility on July 1, a move that 84 said shows it is ready to gain a larger piece of the overall LBM market and cease to be a shrinking violet.

Between 2007 and this spring, 84 Lumber closed 124 yards and manufacturing facilities while cutting more than 5,000 employees from its workforce. The Houston location was a product of that trend, closing late in 2008.

Along with a traditional lumberyard, the re-opened West Houston location will house a door shop and carry commercial construction products.

"We believe we are starting to climb out of the housing and general construction downturn and we view Houston as one those markets that will be at the forefront of the rebound," Frank Cicero, 84 Lumber executive vice president, said in a statement.

"We foresee opportunities in other markets as the housing market recovers and intend to take advantage of those as well," Cicero added.

In addition to the Houston re-opening, 84 Lumber recently opened Engineered Wood Products production centers in Houston and Dallas. The Eight Four, Pa.-based dealer operates 13 other yards in Texas.

An 84 press release quoted company President Maggie Hardy Magerko as saying the opening of facilities marks the beginning of a transition from a "defensive to offensive position" in preparation for a housing market recovery.

"It's the viewpoint of our management team that we have seen the bottom of the housing market and are now slowly climbing out of this housing recession," Hardy Magerko said. "Certainly we have a long way to go, but we are optimistic about where both the residential and commercial construction markets are trending and we will pursue further opportunities as they arise."

The dealer also noted that it has been actively hiring former Stock Building Supply employees in Texas and Florida. As other large dealers have downsized in the Sunshine State, 84 Lumber still operates 16 locations there.

84 Lumber had sales of $2.04 billion in 2008, down from $3.10 billion in 2007. It ranked fourth on the 2008 ProSales 100.