Linton N. Tibbetts, who during his 60-year career made Cox Lumber and Supply Co. one of America's biggest LBM operations, has re-entered Florida's building material supply business by opening two lumberyards in the Sunshine State under a new name: Tibbetts Lumber.

Tibbetts Lumber's St. Petersburg yard opened in October and a facility in Land O Lakes took in its first dollar today, said Arlen Tillis, a 37-year veteran of Cox and now manager of Tibbetts' Land O Lakes facility. Tillis confirmed reports that Tibbetts Lumber might expand in other locations that Linton Tibbetts owns, including sites in Apollo, Ocala, Crystal River, Haines City, Gainesville, and Palm Bay, Fla.

In 1949 Linton Tibbetts bought a 50% share of Cox Lumber, which at the time was a small lumberyard in St. Petersburg. by 2005, it had become the 21st-biggest LBM operation in the ProSales 100, with 31 locations and sales that year of $400 million, 88% of them to pros. He also had a building material company in the Cayman Islands.

In 2006, Tibbetts sold Cox to The Home Depot, which along with the Williams Bros. yards in the Atlanta area became the foundation of The Home Depot's HD Supply building material operation. In August 2007, The Home Depot--under pressure from shareholders to focus on its retail operations--sold HD Supply to three investment firms.

Four months later, in December 2007, ProBuild purchased the lumberyard part of HD Supply and began consolidating the old Cox and Williams Bros. yards into its Atlanta and Florida operations. At the same time, ProBuild faced the need to downsize in the face of the housing recession. ProBuild eventually decided in 2008 to close the St. Petersburg and Land O Lakes facilities that Linton Tibbett is now reopening as Tibbetts Lumber.

Juan Quesada, Cox Lumber's former president, is serving as Tibbetts Lumber's president, and a number of other longtime Cox employees such as Tillis are now in the Tibbetts Lumber family, the Florida Building Material Association said in its report on the new yards.