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Business is good because of community

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gordy Richter, left, completes a purchase last week at the Sutherland Lumber Company from owner Doug Sweeney. Sutherland Lumber Company has been owned by Doug and Char Sweeney since 2003. Photo by Sarah Gengler
Sutherland Lumber Company has been part of the Sutherland community for quite some time but many people don't realize how important it is to the family who now owns it.

Doug and Char Sweeney have had ownership in Sutherland Lumber Co. since 1999 and took over as the full time owners in 2003. But even before that Doug Sweeney was an employee at the lumber yard.

"I have worked here since 1991 when Denny and Ellen Grant were owners," Doug said. "He's the guy who taught me everything. He didn't have any employees until I came along."

That has all changed as the lumber yard now provides five people with full time jobs and two other people with part time seasonal jobs. Four of the five full time employees have been with Sweeney from the start of his ownership back in 2003. Employee turnover isn't something that this business owner has to worry about.

"We have really good help and good people all the way around us," he said. "It's nice to know it can run as smoothly when I am gone as it does when I am here."

The support from both his staff and the community is something that has allowed the Sutherland Lumber Company to expand over the last few years. What used to be mostly lumber business has turned into a little bit of everything. Paint, electrical, plumbing and gardening supplies can all be found within their four walls along with the traditional lumber they have always had.

"We expand as the people allow us to expand," he said. "We've done that with everything we carry. If the customers will buy it, we will stock it."

Business right now for the lumber company is pretty good according to Sweeney who said last year was probably a record breaking year for him. With the economy looking down in most parts of the nation, Sweeney is glad that the local community is helping him through it.

"It is fun helping the public," he said. "It's challenging at times but it's also a very rewarding job."

Spring projects are booming and Sweeney said business will be steady now through October while the weather is nice and those extra projects are being done. Sutherland Lumber mainly does agriculture work, dealing with a lot of pole sheds and steel work but can be called upon for almost anything.

"We are now a UPS shipping site and I'm a new IWireless dealer," Sweeney said. "I'm trying to provide things to keep people in the town so they don't have to go out of town for it."

Along with running the Sutherland Lumber Company, Doug and Char are raising three children in the community. Austin, 15, Emma, 13, and Ally, 10, also keep the local business own busy. And for some reason if his family doesn't, Doug also finds time to volunteer on the Sutherland Commercial Club, the Economic Development Board and on the Sutherland Community Fund Committee

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Nice story but where is Sutherland Lumber located?

-- Posted by jbrennan on Thu, Apr 30, 2009, at 2:10 PM

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