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|Industry||Building materials and retail|
|Founded||November 14, 1956|
|Headquarters||Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Joe Hardy (founder) |
Maggie Hardy Knox (president and owner)
|Products||Building materials and supplies|
|Revenue||$3.9 billion (2020)|
Number of employees
84 Lumber is a family-owned and operated American building materials supply company. Founded in 1956 by Joseph Hardy, it derives its name from the unincorporated village of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, a census-designated place 20 miles (32 km) south of Pittsburgh, where its headquarters are located. In 1992, Joe Hardy's daughter, Maggie Hardy Knox, took over as president of the company. Within her first year as president, the company reached $1 billion in revenue for the first time in history.
As of June 2020, 84 Lumber owns and operates over 250 stores in 30 states throughout the country; the company has more than 5,600 employees and generates in excess of $3.9 billion in annual revenue. Today, it is the largest privately held supplier of building materials to the construction industry.
From its origins as a lumberyard, the company has continued to innovate and expand, and now offers a full slate of construction and design services. It operates components plants, door shops, installation centers and wood products shops. It recently expanded to kitchen and bath design services with the opening of more than 30 design studios within its existing stores. The company's stores carry a variety of materials including siding, decking, windows and trim, roofing and trusses, and much more.
Located 20 mi (32 km) south of Pittsburgh, 84 Lumber established its roots in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, a rural community that has endured as a farmland community. 84 Lumber flourished with the funds and determination of Ed Ryan and Jack Kunkle, Joe Hardy and his two brothers Norman and Bob Hardy. Together, these men collected $84,000 for land and buildings to grow their business. As the business expanded, Hardy and his brothers became sole owners of the company.
84 Lumber established a cash and carry system; customers paid by cash or check, if merchandise was unable to be “carried” out, an additional charge was implemented to have the item personally delivered.
Throughout the 1960s, 84 Lumber continued to expand locations. This was accomplished largely by keeping overhead low and adopting a 'no frills' warehouse-style approach to most of its stores (many of which were unheated, even in cold-climate locations), as most of its clients were commercial customers not overly concerned with aesthetics. By 1981, 84 Lumber had expanded to 339 stores, 283 of which had opened within the previous 10 years, generating revenues of $478 million.
In 1984, the company undertook an expansion plan to open at least 30 new stores. Along with grand openings, stores were remodeled and renovated from no-frills lumber yards to new and improved building materials stores. In 1987, as the improvement plan generated success, the business opened its strict policy of cash-and-carry to options of using credit.
After 34 years of running the company, Joe Hardy appointed his daughter Maggie Hardy Knox president and owner in 1992. Joe Hardy passed 40 percent of the company stock to Maggie that year as well, and added another 40 percent the following year. With a new leader, 84 Lumber continued to expand and reached $1 billion in sales for the first time in 1993 and opened its 400th store in 1997 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
In 1999, 84 Lumber opened its first “84 Plus” retail store in Graysville, Tennessee. The store, designed by Maggie Hardy Knox, carried about 12,000 products and was meant to increase the company's profits by selling products at a higher profit margin.
On December 7, 2002, the company exceeded $2 billion in annual sales for the first time in history. In 2004, the company opened another 18 new stores, most of which are located in metropolitan areas that had once been unprofitable.
84 Lumber suffered great losses in sales when the housing market crashed in 2009. On the brink of bankruptcy, Hardy Knox leveraged her own personal finances and closed stores to stave off bankruptcy. Knox's efforts ultimately proved to be successful.
In 2013, 84 Lumber increased sales 27 percent over the prior year, generating $2.1 billion in revenue. Since then, the company has continued to expand and open new stores and manufacturing facilities year after year.
Awards and Accolades
84 Lumber has been the recipient of numerous trade and business awards and accolades over the years. In 1991, 84 Lumber topped ProSales magazine's “Dealer 100” list. Since then, it has made the influential trade magazine's list every year, reaching a high ranking of No. 4 in 2019 and 2020. 84 Lumber was named as one of Forbes’ Best Midsize Employers in America 2016 and Forbes’ Largest Private Companies in America 2016. In 2018, it was recognized as one of America's Largest Private Companies by Forbes and was named a Top Workplace in the Greater Pittsburgh region by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2019, it was named one of Forbes Magazine's “Best Larger Employers” and was named to INC. Magazine's “INC. 5,000” list in 2019 and 2020.
In 2017, 84 Lumber broadcast its first-ever Super Bowl ad, "The Journey", during Super Bowl LI. The advertisement chronicled a mother and daughter migrating from Mexico to the United States, interspersed with scenes of workers building. When they are blocked by a border wall, the daughter presents a handmade U.S. flag she had made using fabric collected throughout their trip. The two then discover a giant door in the wall they use to enter the country; the ad concluded with the message, "The will to succeed is always welcome here."
The ad was controversial even before its premiere; prior to the game, Super Bowl LI's broadcaster Fox rejected a version of the ad that contained the border wall scene, as they felt the imagery was too politically sensitive (newly instated U.S. President Donald Trump promised the construction of a wall along the entire Mexico–United States border). The ad was aired in an edited form during the game's halftime break, which excluded the ending and instructed viewers to watch the full, nearly six-minute film, on 84 Lumber's website (which briefly crashed due to the influx of visitors).
84 Lumber serves the communities in which they are located by participating in local events and fundraisers. Dedicated to helping those in need, the company has created a campaign, Building Hope, which fulfills this commitment. The Boy Scouts, Justin Jennings Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Musicians' Village, Red Cross, and United Way are among the organizations and individuals 84 Lumber has supported over the years.
In 2019, 84 Lumber gave a total of $1.39 million in charitable donations. The same year, the company launched a national partnership with the Fisher House Foundation to show its continued support for military veterans and their families. In May 2019, the company provided $25,000 to Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House, and an additional $500,000 donation for the Fisher House Foundation to continue to build new houses, similar to the one underway in New Orleans.
The company continues to support local and national nonprofit organizations, including making a half million dollar donation to the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in 2020 to help its community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Training & Recruitment
84 Lumber has long been innovative in nurturing talent from within, as it conducts a number of internal programs aimed at fostering job advancement and career development at the company. This includes the company's “Lumber Camps” where all new employees are brought to corporate team headquarters to attend an immersive training about the company and all-things lumber and home building.
84 Lumber has entry level “Manager Trainee” positions at each of its stores, providing opportunity for growth into other positions in both the stores and at Team Headquarters, including management, sales and operations. The program ensures on-the-job training, even for those with no prior experience, allowing anyone to work their way “up the ladder.” Company President Maggie Hardy Knox as well as COO Frank Cicero both completed the Manager Trainee program themselves.
As a military Veteran himself, 84 Lumber Founder Joe Hardy has been a tireless supporter of service veterans, and his efforts are continued today through Maggie Hardy Knox's leadership. The company is a major partner of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides temporary housing for friends and family of those being cared for at a nearby VA hospital. As of June 2020, 84 Lumber has donated more than $1.1 million to the Foundation. The company actively recruits veterans for employment, with more than 10 percent of all employees having a military background.
As part of its commitment to military veterans, the company hosts an “Operation Appreciation” campaign during May's Military Appreciation Month each year, using the time to recognize and honor veterans.
The company offers a discount to any active-duty or retired military member at each of its stores, and it has special purple parking spots reserved for veterans at each store as well.
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