Let’s kill right now this notion that nobody wants to get into LBM any more. It seems like every month I get news of young people who have launched or taken over a yard. Case in point: Brian and Heidi Beaumont, who in March 2016 bought Ansley (Neb.) Lumber & Supply from a couple who had owned the store for 20 years. Ansley has just 450 residents; the nearest town of any size, Broken Bow, has 3,500. You need to drive 40 miles to get to the nearest city: Kearney, pop. 32,000. With a population base like that, you won’t be seeing Ansley Lumber on the ProSales 100 any time soon.

But that hasn’t stopped the Beaumonts. Just recently they joined the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, their business sports a handsome new logo, and the company travels regularly to Orgill’s trade show. They’re eager to learn the ropes.

My chat with Heidi Beaumont took place a few days after I gave a final hug to Cindy Hartley, who retired in February after 43 years of work in LBM trade associations, first for Virginia alone, and then for the Southern Building Material Association and now the Building Material Suppliers Association. Cindy is best known for having organized, since 1974, an association meeting in late July at an oceanside hotel in Virginia Beach, Va. It differs from every other LBM group conclave I’ve ever attended in that children and spouses are welcome. So while the company owners enjoy ham biscuits as they visit vendors’ tabletop booths, the kids are on the beach. And while the parents go to an evening dinner, Cindy has organized an evening of fun for the children. Cindy says she has seen entire generations of LBM kids grow up, take over their parents’ business, and then bring kids of their own. Her successor responsible for organizing this annual event is one of them.

I’ll miss Cindy’s smile and will try to channel her ability to stay calm in the midst of chaos. But above all, I’m heartened to know that the qualities she displayed have been embraced and will be carried forward by entire generations of dealers she has met.

LBM supply has a heritage in this country that few other businesses possess. Our hallmark of providing personal service to towns like Ansley across America is one reason we’re special. I trust that the Heidi and Brian Beaumonts of this nation represent part of that revolving group of people who are coming into the business as its Cindy Hartleys go out. More often than you may think, good people are discovering there are great reasons to get into this business.