Credit: Katey Pettengill

Stu Campbell
Campbell's Town & Country Building Supply
Aberdeen, S.D.

Campbell's grandfather was an attorney who started Town & Country Building Supply. Aside from running the lumberyard, he also raises hunting dogs. Here's his story, as told to Tim Regan

How has your business changed? When the business started out, it was based on lumber, coal, and cement. That was back in the day when you had boxcars full of cement and train cars full of coal. Now, we only work with lumber.

What’s an average day like for you? I get to work around 6:30 in the morning; it’s my favorite time of the day. The phone isn’t ringing, and there’s nothing to interrupt [me]. I work until around 5:30.

You raise hunting dogs? About nine years ago my wife found a breed called the Spinone Italiano. We started breeding them ourselves. They’re a funny, houndish dog with beautiful eyes. The kids are convinced that we love the dogs more than them. [My wife] shows them, too. They’re not just hunting dogs.

Are there lessons from raising dogs that apply to business? Totally. You’ve got to train people. You also have to be good to the people you work with. I come to work for my people. If they’re not happy, they’re not going to produce for me. It’s important to have employees who want to create something for you.

How do you build a happy workforce? Saying good morning. I’m always out around the counter to start the day. Having contact with employees and letting them know that they are valued is key.

You’re an avid hunter? I hunt pheasants. I have friends from down South in the lumber business who have been hunting with me for about eight years now; we have a great time.

Does taking other dealers on hunting trips help build your business? It always does. There’s so much information that can be swapped while hunting. You learn and grow just by being around people.­