Imagine returning to your lumberyard after a vacation in Europe to find your headquarters had taken on six feet of water, storage sheds lost their roofs, lumber was scattered across neighbors' lots, and all your forklifts and pickup trucks were destroyed. That's what faced Miguel Pompa, co-owner of Ideal Lumber Co. in Galveston, Texas, and the "My Yardsticks" subject in ProSales' October issue. He came home several days after Hurricane Ike struck his barrier island community.

These satellite photos from Google Earth show how Ideal Lumber looked before and after Hurricane Ike ravaged Galveston Island in late September. Photos: Google Earth "We lost pretty much everything as far as the store was concerned: all the hardware and paint, plus the office area," Pompa said in an interview Oct. 2. "You can imagine lumber scattered as far as you can see, like matchsticks. We had a building 50 feet long, and it got picked up and blown over."

But Pompa and partner John Parker haven't quit. They started selling materials even before electricity was restored. "It's old fashioned, cigar-box stuff right now," Pompa says. "We've actually sold quite a bit." Aside from cleaning up the yard and recovering lumber, Pompa also has scrambled to replace the four forklifts and a pickup truck. Trucks capable of hauling stuff were in such demand in East Texas that Pompa had to go to more than 200 miles, to Austin, before he could find one. Boise Cascade loaned a generator, and neighbors are bringing in food. That's important, because Pompa said then that he hasn't taken a day off in close to three weeks.

Just weeks before Ike, Pompa and his partner decided to stick with $400,000 worth of flood insurance coverage rather than raise it. On the other hand, he says suppliers are extending the time he needs to pay his bills.

"It crossed our minds at least once or twice [to give up] because it looked like an impossible task," he says. "But it's doable. What we're looking at doing is starting all over again, buying everything now. And being as busy as we'll be, we think it'll help pay the bills."

–Craig Webb

Regional Groups, Vendor Create New LBM Web Site

Several regional lumber and building material associations have joined together to create BuildingNetworX (, a Web site that will help them provide products and services to lumber dealers, the group announced.

The site includes information on Webinars, meeting notices, equipment auctions, and educational opportunities. Turnkey Programming LLC of Arden, N.C., manages the site. Turnkey Programming has partnered with ProSales magazine to provide the most recent industry-specific news to its members on Building NetworX.

To take advantage of the site, contact your local regional LBM group to see if it has joined the network, then work with that group to get an ID and password.

Higher Interest, Less Wiggle Room on BMHC Loan Terms

Building Materials Holding Corp. has renegotiated its $540 million secured credit facility, the company announced in September. It will continue to have a $200 million revolving line of credit and a $340 million term loan that matures in November 2011.

BMHC has used nearly all of the term loan and about $29 million of the revolving credit line. Terms include higher interest payments, stock warrants that the lenders can use to buy up to 8.75% of the company, and restrictions on its ability to make acquisitions or raise capital.

Wood-pellet Stockpiling Shorts Maine Distributors

Got pellets? If you live in Maine, you'll want to be sure. A run on wood pellets, stoked by high home heating oil prices, is finding some dealers on the short end of stock as users hoard supplies almost as soon as they become available.

According to an Oct. 2 Associated Press report, as heating oil prices went up over the years, so did the number of homeowners looking for cheaper heating alternatives. Many turned to wood-pellet burning stoves and are hoarding pellets to be sure they have enough for the forthcoming cold. Distributors in greater Bangor say they run out of pellets within days of getting shipments.

–Evamarie Socha


Builders FirstSource of Dallas is exiting the New Jersey market, where it has five facilities. ...Sunroc, a building supplies company based in St. George, Utah, that moved into the Salt Lake valley earlier this year, has acquired Standard Builders Supply of Salt Lake City. ?Bernard Building Center, based in Hale, Mich., celebrates 50 years in business this year. This summer, Bernard Building Center opened its third store, making for locations in Hale, AuGres, and Hillman. ? Olpe Lumber Co. was set to be auctioned off

Nov. 1, the Emporia, Kan., Gazette reports. Clarence and Dorothy Schmidt, who have run Olpe for 47 years, are retiring. ?ProBuild purchased the assets of CTX Builders Supply, a manufacturer of wall and floor panels as well as trusses. As part of that change, ProBuild is closing its manufacturing plant in Jarrell, Texas, and consolidating those operations at its Buda, Texas, facility. ? Caldicot Properties LLC has purchased a Forest Hill, Md., lumberyard previously owned by The Wolf Organization Inc., York, Pa. Wolf decided last year to consolidate its 18 yards into nine supercenters. ? Nisbet Brower has jumped into the truss business by acquiring Smokey Inc. ?Great Falls, Mont.-based Lumber Yard Supply has opened a branch in Spokane, Wash. ?Kuiken Brothers Co. has broken ground on a 12-acre, drive-through lumberyard in Succasunna, N.J. ?Schoeneman's Building Materials Center, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., will open a new 20-acre facility in Harrisburg, S.D., replacing a five-acre yard in downtown Sioux City and hosting 20,000-square-feet of office space along with 150,000 square-feet of materials and storage. ...Huttig Building Products is taking steps to close its Fredericksburg, Va., branch. Huttig facilities in Rocky Mount, N.C., and Lancaster, Pa., will cover that area. ?Drexel Metals Corp. has begun its expansion plan for the West Coast and appointed Phil Starr as sales representative. ?Macedonia, Ohio-based Norandex Building Materials Distribution announced in June it has acquired Area Vinyl Siding Distributors, which serves Baton Rouge, La. Area Vinyl's two locations in Walker and Gonzales, La., will run under the Norandex Building Materials Distribution name.

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Send your company's news, announcements, and events to Evamarie Socha, via e-mail or fax 202.785.1974.