Spelts Lumber Co.
435 Grand Ave. on the Southwest corner of the Square
Brad Spelts purchased Spelts Lumber from his father, Jerry and uncle, John, in 1981. "Dad worked here for the next eleven years," commented Brad. "He came to work everyday until he was ninety years old. Uncle John also worked in the business for nine years, until he was seventy-eight. I really enjoyed the years I worked with my uncle and my father, it was so rewarding."
Spelts Lumber employs four full time employees and four part-time employees. Brad Spelts attributes his success in business to his employees. "I try to hire good people," commented Brad. "Paul Anderson has been here for 14 years, Chris Christenson has been here for nineteen years and Wes Heerten for 10 years. Pat Gideon has been here for four years, she is responsible for the purchase orders, receiving supplies and stocking the plumbing and electrical hardware. John Nelson is my yard foreman and handles most of the deliveries, he has been with us for three years and Jo Barrett does the cleaning and stocks shelves, in addition to handling customers.
My son, James, works in the summer when he's out of school." Brad added, "Wes came to work for us in 1989 in trying, circumstances. The early July 1989 hailstorm hit the area hard. One hour after the storm hit I came up to the store and there were fifty windows lying in the shop needing repair. Realizing there were too many windows for us to handle, I called Wes. I knew he was pretty good at this type of repair and I asked him if he could come in and help us out. We repaired over 1000 windows in the month after that hail storm, and sold 4000 squares of shingles, and Wes has been here ever since."
Brad has seen many changes in the nature of the business over the years. " In 1982 we purchased this building and I knew that the days of only selling lumber were over."
In 1983 I added plumbing and electrical supplies to the inventory and it was a big plus to the business. In the past ten years, treated lumber has been a huge growth area. Ten years ago we used to buy it by the piece, now we buy it by the semi-truck load. Vinyl siding has grown in the same fashion, we used to custom order it, now we buy siding in direct shipments and stock it. We also carry one of the largest stocks in the state of composite decking. Composite decking is made from recycled plastic mixed with waste lumber from the lumber mills and formed into boards used for decking. It is stronger and resists weathering and is superior to traditional, treated lumber for decks and outdoor use. At one time we special ordered it, but the demand for the composite decking became so popular nationwide that we couldn't get it from our supplier anymore. We found a different supplier with a similar, if not superior product and now receive truck load shipments.
The lumber business changes rapidly and you must be able to roll with the changes and the industry trends," remarked Brad. " I guess my business philosophy is, "If you don't have it, you can't sell it" so we keep a large inventory of material and supplies on hand. I do my principle buying in March, restocking low inventories and keeping up with the trends. We carry vinyl siding, replacement doors and windows, composite decking, steel roofing, fence posts, railroad ties and, fencing supplies, tanks and gates, plumbing and electrical, tools and hardware, paint and many other items in addition to lumber and building supplies. To - be competitive in this business, you really have to watch your inventory and buy in full quantities."
In addition to owning and managing Spelts Lumber, Brad Spelts is the newly elected president of the Independent Lumber Dealers of Nebraska. This organization has an office in Lincoln and consists of ninety percent of the operating lumberyards in the state of Nebraska. Spelts Lumber is a strong supporter of school and civic activities. Brad and wife Laurie have four children, Sarah, James, Carrie and Jackie, all who are very active in sports, school and church activities.
The purchase of the former Field Jewelry Store building located on the south side of the square near Spelts Lumber will soon be a showroom for cabinets, vanities, lighting and plumbing fixtures, just another addition to the large inventory carried by Spelts Lumber in Burwell.
Spelts Lumber carries a large inventory of construction materials.
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