Gordon Lumber marks 150 years

Staff report

FREMONT — Started in 1868 by Ohio settler Washington Gordon, this year Gordon Lumber celebrates 150 years of building communities throughout Ohio and Michigan. From the small sawmill built 15 decades ago by Gordon in Oak Harbor, the company now has seven locations employing 120 people and servicing 3,500 customers.

“The history of our company fascinates me,” said Pamela Goetsch, great-great-granddaughter of Gordon and a member of the Gordon Lumber board of directors. “We can accurately trace the life of this company from its founding shortly after the Civil War. For the first 30 years, my great-great-grandfather had a prosperous sawmill operation and, over time, brought other family members, including his brother-in-law, Henry Kilmer, into the management of the company. A year after his death in 1903, the Gordon Lumber Co. was incorporated in Ohio to support the continued growth of the business.”

According to historical records, a basket manufacturing operation was added to the business for several years in 1908, and then in 1916. the company went back to focusing on lumber.

During the next several decades, the company added a variety of lumberyards and stores. A components (truss) division was added in 1961, and in 2013, the company began transacting business in Michigan. The company has weathered the Great Depression, two world wars and the 2008 housing crisis and continues to serve communities in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.

Today Gordon Lumber operates six home center/lumberyards and a components manufacturing facility in Ohio. Locations include Bellevue, Bowling Green, Findlay, Fremont, Genoa, Huron and Port Clinton. The corporate offices are in Fremont.

“This milestone 150th anniversary cannot be replicated by many companies,” said Erin Leonard, president of Gordon Lumber. “Our roots trace back to a time when a single man decided to open a sawmill. From that first step to now, Gordon Lumber has evolved as a standout Ohio business. We not only have grown Washington Gordon’s original vision by opening home centers and a component plant, we’re contributing to the different communities where we have operations. And our company has been a source of employment and support to the building industry for decades.”

Leonard related that today’s Gordon Lumber focuses on seven reasons why: dedicated customer focus, local expertise, real-world experience, hometown pride, rental centers, helpful advice and support and the longevity of its employees. Leonard shared that the average Gordon Lumber employee has been on the job for 13 years, and half of the employees have been with the company for more than 20 years. Some employees have been with Gordon Lumber for 30 or more years.

“We’ve embraced the same principles that Washington Gordon and the original family members did when starting this company,” said Leonard. “These are our core values. They’re what sets us apart in the marketplace and will help us grow into our next 150 years.”

For information, visit www.gordonlumber.com.

Staff report