I felt my concern dissipate when I had a chance to hear from Norm
and Spud Newhouse that the sale was a good thing, not only for them
and their brother David but for the community as well. Norm and
David Newhouse have recently both retired, but you wouldn't think so
to see them so often around the store, squaring away some loose end
or chatting with decades-old customers. Spud, the youngest of the
brothers, still has a few years left before he sells his last
The three brothers who have made the lumberyard their life's work
and passion feel so comfortable with the changeover that it is
impossible for a customer, even one so set in his ways, to not feel
relief in the fact that
Hundman Lumber is the purchaser of their business.
Norm, relaxing back in his chair, made me more at ease when he
told me Hundman, although a large, eight-store lumber chain, was
family-owned and operated. He advised me nothing dramatic would
change about the way the business would be run except for the
benefits being part of a large lumberyard chain would mean to
Spud was almost ecstatic when he explained the benefits of being
part of the Hundman chain. "I can buy products from one of the other
Hundman locations cheaper than I sometimes can through my
suppliers," he said. "That's because Hundman buys in such quantities
that we could never get the wholesale prices they get." Spud also
wanted to point out that "if we don't have something, we can get it
quickly from one of the other stores and don't have the same time
delays as our ordering from the manufacturer."
"Hundman has their own truss plant, countertop company,
door-hanging plant and prefabricated walls division, which means we
don't have to wait on outside sources to get around to filling our
Spud also wanted it known that Hundman's central office in
Bloomington has a full-time buyer who can shop around on prices for
lumber and commodities on a spec sheet for a major project or home
build, thus freeing him to spend more time with customers. He said,
"They can get prices on some things I never dreamed of getting."
Spud beamed as we visited.
[to top of second column]
Dianna Newhouse, herself 20 years at the lumberyard, pointed out
several other benefits to Hundman. "We have a boom truck now that
can deliver shingles and plywood to the top of a house much easier
and quicker than before," she said. "We are also still a Do-It
merchandiser, so customers won't see any of their favorite products
disappearing from the shelves."
Spud wanted to interject what he thought was a very important
point. "Hundman believes in doing everything locally," he said. "We
are supplying a great deal of materials to the new Hampton Inn
project on the west side. Hundman could have just done that from
their main store in Bloomington, but instead everything is being run
through here. That's a huge sale for this store."
If all this information wasn't enough good news to a pair of old
ears, seeing an old fellow contractor, Randy Washam, now manning the
front desk told me I would still be in good hands if Spud and Dianna
were busy. Randy brings the knowledge and understanding that is so
important to a lumberyard. It is that principle of "been there, done
that and had that happen to me" that always made Mitchell-Newhouse
stand apart from the giant box stores with untrained clerks.
we now have the best of two worlds: the prices offered from a large
chain retailer with the friendly, knowledgeable staff to help us
through those perplexing repair and remodeling concerns.
I think I will go put my old shoes and flannel shirt on and relax
a little tonight. I and the rest of Logan County are in good hands.
Norm and David, I wish you the very best. Spud and Dianna, I will
see you soon. Keep the popcorn popper full. It's still the best
snack in town.
[By Mike Fak]
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