History of Associated Lumber Industries
Associated Lumber Industries was incorporated on May 13, 1940. The officers at the time of incorporation were as follows: Fuhrer Dickey, president, Fred Tromley, vice president and Jim Heidinger, secretary/treasurer.
Carbondale Lumber Company, located at 115 South Washington Street, Carbondale, Illinois, was purchased January 7, 1941 from Heinie Stroman,
it became the first lumberyard owned by Associated Lumber Industries, Inc. That facility was in operation until spring of 2008 when it merged into the other Carbondale location at 300 West Willow Street known as Associated Lumber City. This merger had been planned for decades but never seemed right before this time.
In 1941, Union County Lumber in Anna and Egyptian Lumber Company in Cobden were purchased. Later in 1942, Union County Lumber was renamed Anna-Jonesboro Lumber Company with locations in Anna and Jonesboro. These two yards operated under the names of Anna Lumber Company and Jonesboro Lumber Company. In 1994, the Anna location built a new store with the intention of improving our hardware selection, display areas and customer service. Parking replaced the old store building. This new facility was designed for future unification of the Anna and Jonesboro yards. That merger happened in 1998, and the Jonesboro facility was closed. Egyptian Lumber at Cobden known as Cobden Lumber Company, was sold in 1981.
During the year of 1945, the expansion of Associated Lumber continued with the purchase of the Tamms Lumber Company in Tamms, IL. This would become the most southern yard of the Associated chain until its closing due to the economic forecast for that region of Southern Illinois. The Tamms location closed in the fall of 1988, with the equipment being transferred to the new Mt. Vernon location.
The year of 1945 began a new venture for Associated Lumber with the forming of the Lumber Dealer Service Company. This company provided services of blown-in insulation and the installation of built up roofing. Lumber Dealer Service was later closed in 1953. In its early years, Associated Lumber had done contracting or had a construction crew at the local yards to fill the needs of the communities. This aspect of the business was phased out totally during the 1980’s. During those early times, there were very few contractors in our area, most people would come to the lumberyard to have their projects done. The lumberyard would handle the project for the homeowner acting as their contractor. Today, we now sell to homeowners and contractors.
In August of 1949, the Murphysboro location was opened and Harold Koehn was named manager. Mr. Koehn started with the company in 1946 at the Anna location. After over forty years of service to Associated, Harold Koehn retired in 1987, serving as the company’s general manager and vice president. In 1960, the Murphysboro store remodeled the former Borgsmiller building and moved its offices and display areas into the freshly remodeled building.
Another series of acquisitions began in the 60’s. In 1963 the location in Carbondale known as Lumber City was built from the ground up. Records show that the board had been planning this venture since 1959, but had not found the right piece of property. The original intent of Lumber City was to be a "cash and carry" yard. It was formulated during the time of the "cash and carry" fad. Like all fads, this would fade over time. Gradually, Lumber City would become a full service lumber yard like the rest of the Associated Lumber chain.
In 1967, the Kimmel Lumber Company in Du Quoin was purchased and converted to an Associated Lumber Store. In 2000, this facility was remodeled to fill the needs of the community with an increased hardware selection after the closing of two hardware stores in town.
In 1988, the latest Associated Lumber store was built in Mt. Vernon. This store was built from the ground up and was to be the most retail oriented store in the Associated Chain with over 10,000 square feet of hardware and displays.
During the mid 60’s all of the stores, except Lumber City were named after the town in which they were located. It was decided, at this time, all the stores should bear the name of the Corporation. In 1985, Lumber City adopted the name of Associated Lumber City. To this day, all the stores are known by the corporate name. However, we still have a few customers who refer to the local store by its original name.
In the history of the Company, we have experienced two fires at our stores both of which were in Carbondale. The first was at the Washington Street location on July 28, 1959. The store lost some inventory and their display room due to the fire. A 13-year-old intruder caused the fire on a Sunday afternoon. Ten years to the date, July 28, 1969, Lumber City (300 West Willow) burnt to the ground. The main office and its inventory were lost. In the case of both fires, the stores were only closed for one day and were back in operation serving their customers the second day after the fire.
Our company throughout its history has been known for its employees’ long service. Like Harold Koehn, others have served thirty or forty years for our company. A few of those are: Neal Laws Sr., who served as President up until his retirement in 1996; Bill Boor, who served as General Manager and assistant secretary/treasurer until his retirement in 1993; Tot Tunnel, who served as the first General Manager until his retirement in 1964 and Don Minton, who served as General Manager until his retirement in 1998. Other long time Managers are Joe Minton, Raymond Cates, Raymond Williams, Billy Keller, Lowell Young, Everett Greenwood, Tom Greenwood, and Marvin Juhl. These men gave of their lives to help form Associated Lumber into the company it is today. In 1998, the grandson of the first president of Associated Lumber Industries, Douglas F. Dickey, became the president with a long family history of service to our company. On September 1, 2013 Arthur Mize a thirty year veteran of Associated Lumber was elected president/general manager of operation. Our company currently employs about fifty people and has five convenient locations scattered throughout Southern Illinois: Anna, Carbondale, Du Quoin, Mt. Vernon and Murphysboro.
The original purpose or mission statement of the company was to sell building materials and building related products. Our company still sells building products today but our philosophy is to better serve the needs of our customers and our communities. We meet the needs of our customers through the use of special equipment, services, and the dedication of our employees. It is our goal to make our customers’ job a little easier. For over seven decades, Associated Lumber has been serving its customers and its communities. In the past seventy-five plus years, Associated Lumber Industries, Inc. has been "Helping to build Southern Illinois" with quality building products and professional service to its customers.
Our current officers are as follows:
President/GMO: Arthur Mize
Vice President: Neal Laws Jr.
Secretary/Treasurer: Bruce Dickey
Assistant Secretary/Treasurer: Linda Simpson