Kent-based Carter Lumber on Friday announced that it was closing 26 stores as the building materials supplier focuses on growth in its larger markets.
The 26 stores are in 23 markets — including one store in Akron. They are being closed because they were in smaller markets or locations without the support the company wanted, said David McCafferty, Carter Lumber vice president of marketing.
The stores are:
• In Ohio: Akron (1763 Wadsworth Road), Ashland, Bucyrus, Celina, Clyde, Coshocton, Eaton (both a lumber and plumbing store), Fredericktown, Hillsboro, Huntsville, Kenton, Reno, Van Wert (lumber and plumbing);
• In Michigan: Bad Axe, Sturgis;
• In Kentucky: Elizabethtown;
• In North Carolina: Laurinburg;
• In Pennsylvania: Mercer;
• In Indiana: New Castle, Rochester, Rockport (which operates as Kight Home Center), Shelbyville (lumber and plumbing store), Warsaw.
McCafferty said the Akron decision is an example of an area that had too many stores. With the closure, the Akron area will still have seven stores: Manchester Road, the original Carter-Jones store on North Case, and stores in Mogadore, Kent, Ravenna, a clearance center in Canal Fulton and a Holmes Lumber store in Canton.
“The philosophy years ago when we were growing was to put a lot of stores in a market and surround it. As our business has changed toward the pro (professional) side of the business, you can serve that business with fewer locations and put more into them,” he said.
In the last 10 years, Carter Lumber has transitioned from a do-it-yourself/remodeling store to supporting the professional business, he said.
Said Carter Lumber President Jeff Donley in a news release: “During the recent economic downturn, while many competitors were trying to survive, Carter Lumber transformed itself from a $500 million traditional lumberyard, into almost a $1 billion professional lumberyard.”
The company operates in 11 states.
The company has opened 10 new stores in the last 18 months in eight areas, including entering a new market in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., and the following: Chesapeake and Richmond, Va.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus; Indianapolis; Pittsburgh; and a store that opened two weeks ago in the Outer Banks, N.C.
In a news release, Kip Gleckler, senior vice president of field operations, said housing starts are increasing where the company is opening new stores.
“Sometimes we make this business too complicated,” he said. “Look at the markets, pick the best location and hire talented people to service the customer. It’s that simple. ... We’re just shipping lumber and we need to do it better than anyone else.”
McCafferty said the closings are taking place when the company is financially strong. The new alignment will leave Carter with 143 stores.
Employees have been asked to stay with the stores as they go through the closing process, which will vary according to store and could take around four weeks. Workers who stay with the business until closure will receive severance pay and some will be offered positions to transfer to other stores or territories. The company anticipates losing about 30 full-time positions in the closures, McCafferty said.
Before the closures, privately held Carter Lumber employed 540 in Northeast Ohio and 2,700 overall.