84 Lumber has experienced meteoric growth in its 60-plus-year history. Beginning with Joe Hardy’s vision and extending into Maggie Hardy Knox’s leadership, the company has become the industry powerhouse it is today.
84 Lumber established its roots in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, in 1956 when founder Joe Hardy — in conjunction with his two brothers, Norman and Bob Hardy, and family friends Ed Ryan and Jack Kunkle — together purchased land and buildings for a new “cash and carry” lumberyard. Customers paid by cash or check. If merchandise was unable to be carried out, an additional charge was implemented to deliver the item. This model was beneficial for many years, as the company never accrued substantial debts and assets kept flowing.
Hardy and his brothers became sole owners of 84 Lumber as the company entered a new phase of expansion in the 1960s. The growth was largely accomplished by keeping overhead low and adopting a “no frills” warehouse-style approach to most of the stores.
During the 1970s, 84 Lumber continued its expansion by opening 229 stores.
Growth continued through the 1980s. In 1984, the company began remodeling and renovating stores, evolving from “no frills” lumberyards to new and improved building material stores. As the improvement plan generated success, the company relaxed its strict “cash and carry” policy and introduced credit options in 1987.
In 1991, 84 Lumber was named at the top of ProSales’ “Dealer 100” list, an annual ranking of the country’s building material suppliers by revenue.
In 1992, Joe Hardy appointed his daughter Maggie Hardy Knox president and owner of 84 Lumber.
84 Lumber continued to expand under Maggie, reaching $1 billion in sales for the first time in 1993 and opening its 400th store in 1997 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
In 1999, the company opened its first “84 Plus” retail store in Graysville, Tennessee. The store, designed by Maggie, carried about 12,000 products compared to 3,000 or 4,000 in a traditional 84 Lumber. It was divided into shopping sections targeted to professionals and retail shoppers. Soon enough, more than one hundred 84 Plus stores opened.
In 2002, the company reached $2 billion in sales for the first time and continued its impressive sales growth throughout the early 2000s. However, when the housing market crashed later that decade, 84 Lumber — like most organizations associated with the construction industry — suffered significant losses. Difficult decisions were made to save the company, and efforts to avoid bankruptcy were ultimately successful.
In 2013, 84 Lumber increased sales by 27 percent over the prior year, generating $2.1 billion in revenue.
In 2017, the company opened several new locations across the country, including in Ruskin, Florida; Holbrook, Massachusetts; and Riverhead, New York. That year, Maggie also made the decision to expand 84 Lumber’s technological efforts by hiring its first chief information officer, Paul Yater. Under Paul’s leadership, the company is implementing a tech-focused growth strategy that will increase efficiencies and improve operations across the business.
In 2018, the company reached $3.86 billion in sales, its second-highest annual revenue ever.