Keith Brown Building Materials, an 80-year-old Salem, Ore.-based dealer whose operation until recently extended deep into California, went out of business Tuesday.

"We're basically shutting down the company," chairman Brad Pence told the Oregonian newspaper in an interview, reported today. He told the newspaper he thought he had found an investor, but "Because of the credit situation, it became apparent it wouldn't happen."

A ProSales story in September 2005 chronicled how Pence helped the company grow to the point where it had 25 stores from Oregon's Willamette Valley to central California's San Joaquin Valley. It soon found itself stretched too far, but eventually stabilized at 14 dealers in Oregon and California. In May 2007, Keith Brown Building Materials ranked 92nd on the ProSales 100, with sales in 2006 totaling $92 million and 209 employees.

At its close, Keith Brown had five stores and 74 workers.

According to the Oregonian story, Pence said the company "got pinched by suppliers who didn't want to extend it credit, customers who stopped building new homes and banks that didn't want to lend to keep the company afloat. "

Pence told the newspaper he'll have a liquidation sale but doesn't expect to file bankruptcy. "It's the toughest decision I've made in my life," he said. "It's difficult for employees and a rotten time of year for it to happen."