Dunn Lumber president and NLBMDA immediate past president Sam Dunn is expecting close to 400 people when his company celebrates its 100-year anniversary this month with a huge banquet. “I guess that makes me the young guy in this 100-year club [of dealers],” Dunn says, “there are certainly a lot more in the industry, and a fair number of home builders have been around for awhile, too.”

Dunn attributes the longevity of his Daytona Beach, Fla.–based company—and other dealers who have passed the century mark—to an industry economy that has historically remained quite solid. “It's always been a good business, but it may be becoming more complex to get into the industry now, and it can also be more complex to continue passing the business on to the third, fourth, and fifth generations.”

The strength of the employees has always been a factor at Dunn Lumber, as well, Dunn says, and so it was natural for him to turn to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) when considering his own succession strategy last fall. “The employees are excited about it,” Dunn says, adding that employees have sewn “employee owned” patches onto their shirts. “They have always been quite active with the company and how successful we have been, so the ESOP is an extension of what we have been doing all along.”

In addition to the November banquet for customers, vendors, and its community, Dunn Lumber celebrated passing the century milestone by sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity home built between March and June, having an employee party at a baseball game, and reorganizing some of its retail areas to display historic Dunn Lumber photos and memorabilia.