Few dealers are as remote–or as busy–as Bosch Lumber. Dickinson has just 18,000 people and is located 300 miles away from any city with 100,000 residents. But it's right in the heart of an oil boom, which means owner Paul Bosch keeps active supplying materials for homes and for goods used in oil exploration. That business has gone bust before, so Bosch keeps things in perspective.
Busy Times New home sales have gone up pretty good. There is a contractor in here from Fargo, N.D., who has built two 40-unit buildings; those are full. He started another 40 and I think those are half spoken for. We have another 20-unit and a 16-unit in town that are complete. I'm pretty sure they might be full. We've had an influx of people in here, about three years ago, from Idaho and since then we've gotten a lot from Colorado. You'll see [license plates] from Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas.
Black Gold You get into our location in Killdeer, which is 32 miles north of here, yes, sales go direct to oil companies. What that boils down to are truckloads of concrete mix and loads of bentonite. Bentonite is a product that, when it gets wet, will expand to eight times its size. Then we do larger timbers like 8x8s and 12x12s, which they set their actual drilling platforms on.
Booms and Busts The first oil boom here in Dickinson started in about 1978. That busted in 1984-1985, and people walked away from houses here because there was no work left. Then a new oil boom started here about four to five years ago about 80 to 90 miles north of here.
Giving Back We've always tried to support our community through donations to our local college, high schools, the city, and other groups that do good things for our city. If you take money out of a community you should put money back into that community.
My Yardsticks Watching what my father went through to where we are today, we've got to be doing something right. What we live on here is our service, and the biggest part of that is our employees. You have to take care of the people who take care of you. That's how I've measured our success and I think my father did that and all my other brothers did that.
Predictions If you have a crystal ball, let me have it! What I mean is, the price of fuel, diesel and gas, drives the drilling industry. As long as that price stays up, they're going to be drilling because they hit about 95% of their wells in this part of the state. So as long as that price stays up, we'll be busy.