For over 40 years, 84 Lumber experienced meteoric growth, powered by Joe’s vision to expand and evolve the business. Maggie Hardy ushered in a new era in which the company stormed onto the professional contractor market, and the company’s growth continued to skyrocket. With Maggie’s tenacious leadership, and the 84 Lumber team’s true passion for their company, a new 84 Lumber emerged from tough economic times to become the powerhouse it is today.
84 Lumber established its roots in Eighty Four, PA in 1956 when founder Joe Hardy, in conjunction with his two brothers, Norman and Bob Hardy, and family friends Ed Ryan and Jack Kunkle, pooled together $84,000 in funds to purchase 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 have the item personally delivered.
This model proved beneficial for many years as the company never accrued substantial debts and the cash and carry system kept assets flowing.
As the business expanded, Hardy and his brothers became sole owners of 84 Lumber, and the company entered a new phase of expansion throughout the 1960s. This expansion was accomplished largely by keeping overhead low and adopting a ‘no frills’ warehouse-style approach to most of the stores.
During the 1970s, 84 Lumber’s expansion continued, and the company opened 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 materials stores. As this improvement plan generated success, the company relaxed their strict cash and carry policy, and introduced credit options in 1987.
In 1991, 84 Lumber was named to the top position on ProSales Magazine’s “Dealer 100” list, an annual ranking of the country’s building materials suppliers by revenues.
In 1992, after 34 years of running the company, Joe Hardy appointed his daughter, Maggie Hardy, president and owner of 84 Lumber.
With a new leader came an evolved vision. 84 Lumber continued to expand, opening its 400th store in 1997 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and in 1999, the company opened its first “84 Plus” retail store in Graysville, Tennessee. The store, designed by Maggie Hardy, carried about 12,000 products as compared to the 3,000 – 4,000 in a traditional 84 Lumber, and 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 exceeded $2 billion in annual sales for the first time in history and continued its impressive sales growth throughout the early 2000s. However, when the housing market crashed in 2009, 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 27 percent over the prior year, generating $2.1 billion in revenue. In 2016, the company continues to expand and has recently announced plans to open at least a dozen new stores and manufacturing facilities in the western United States.