Roper Brothers Lumber Co., one of Virginia's premier LBM dealers and a longtime member of the ProSales 100, has closed and will file for bankruptcy.

"In the midst of an economic storm that has battered our industry and our business, we deeply regret having to take this action," company chairman Philip R. Roper III wrote in a letter to employees that was placed in the staffers' pay envelopes, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. "We have concluded that liquidating our assets in an orderly manner will provide the best opportunity for the company to maximize its ability to protect your interests."

Roper said the company plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but as of Monday morning no papers had been filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond.

A Lynchburg, Va., newspaper, reporting Friday, quoted a Lynchburg area executive as saying that Roper Lumber would file for bankruptcy. Several sources who declined to be identified also said Friday was Roper's last day in business, and a Petersburg, Va., newspaper reported that several employees told it Roper's was closing.

According to its website, Petersburg, Va.-based Roper runs four lumberyards and a millwork shop, all in Virginia, under the Roper name. It also owns Valley Lumber in Winchester, Va., and Taylor Brothers Lumber in Lynchburg, Va.

Roper ranked 40th on this year's ProSales 100, with 2008 sales of $100 million, down 31% from the previous year's $145 million. Ninety-five percent of its sales were to pros.

That same ProSales 100 report indicated Roper had just five branches going into this year, down from eight in 2008. It also reported having 175 employees.