(photo by Nancy Hohbach)
Marcus Lumber's roots trace all the way back to 1880 as Roger T. Leavitt purchased a lumber business from Thomas Patton in the 1920's. Patton had operated the lumber busness for many years. Leavitt began running it with two employees.
The office was located where a car wash is presently on the north end of Main Street plus coal sheds lined Railroad Street for storage. Lumber was stored in a barn-type structure a block to the east.
Presently, Marcus Lumber is in the process of completing a new 18,200 square foot building to house a large variety of home building displays and offices. Plans call for the building to be completed by early fall. They presently have 25 employees plus some part-timers. When the new building is completed, that number will increase.
Ever since the 2004 fire damaged much equipment and a storage building, the present management team has been working on rebuilding and improving services and products to offer their customers.
Tom Leavitt explained some of the process they went through to make sure the new facility would be a plus for everyone concerned, "We had some of our business reps take photos of other large businesses further out to see what they were doing with their displays in show rooms to maximize space. We also had an employee attend a seminar and take photos of another very large supply business to see what they were doing. We had to go some distance to see the latest things we were looking for. We want this new building filled with new ideas for our customers. It should be a drawing card from a wide area."
A picture is worth a thousand words so the Leavitts want their displays to do just that. At least one-third of the building will be just displays attractively done. They will feature all types and sizes of windows plus doors for inside and out of homes, siding and roofing, several kitchen displays to see a variety of cupboards with special features, the latest in plumbing and bathroom fixtures, floor coverings and closets (various ways and styles to handle closet storage).
"Many times when a customer is doing a remodeling project or building a new home, it's just so much better to choose what you want when you can see it first-hand. The customer is happier, reassured of what they are getting. It is our responsibility to help them as much as we can," said Leavitt.
In addition to the floor displays, the building will hold seven offices plus a conference room, a couple of rest-rooms and some storage over head and in the back for receiving. The building will be fully supplied with hardware items and building supplies with expanded lines. When asked how many of the brand names will be found there, Leavitt couldn't begin to count them.
Marcus Lumber is in its third generation of Leavitts running the family business. That is one of the reasons their name is familiar to a large area. Roger T. Leavitt's two sons, John and Roger, ran the business for a great many years and even with their three sons in charge now, you will see them in and out of the business. Just like you can take the farmer out of farming but you can't take the farming out of the farmer, so it is that the lumber business runs in the veins of the Leavitt family. Building the business is integrated into their lives and they just can't totally leave it cold.
Presently, Bob, Jim and Tom Leavitt head the leadership team.
Marcus Lumber was moved to its second site in 1932-33 when the business took over a lumber yard and building that was formerly a bank. They operated the business with basically four employees and a few part-timers. Hog buyers used the back portion of the building.
The second generation of Leavitts started taking hold of the reins in the fifties. In 1952, they gutted the building and made a larger showroom.
In 1971 the business moved to its present site which had formerly been a bowling alley and dance hall. They began the move with 12 full-time employees and some part-timers. They remodeled that building in 1987 and added improved displays.
In 1996, they purchased the building on Main Street for more lumber storage, in 1998 they added a building for mill work, in 2002 they added space for carpet and cabinet storage and in 2004, they added on the south side of their main building for additional lumber storage.
Marcus Lumber is a great asset to the Marcus community and surrounding area as they set a standard for others to follow. Watch for the opening.