Briefcase: January 26, 2022 | Business, finance and technology


RP Lumber celebrates 45 years of activity

On a freezing January 17, 1977, RP Lumber Co. Inc. first opened in Staunton, Illinois.

The young entrepreneur who opened the doors that day didn’t see a customer for three days and battled a harsh winter, but today the company operates 81 lumberyards, two component manufacturing facilities , a farm and ranch retail subsidiary with 22 locations, and is involved in many other business and civic ventures. The company now provides jobs for more than 2,000 families across the Midwest.

RP Lumber is celebrating 45 years since Robert and Donna Plummer – teachers at the time – took a big risk and put everything they had into a vacant property in Staunton.

“When I was growing up, my family didn’t have much,” said Robert Plummer, who is still chairman and president of RP Lumber. “I always dreamed that one day I would be able to start a business that would help support others. The number of jobs we provide is a metric that matters to me. When I was young, I always said I wanted to create 1,000 jobs.

“The fact that we have reached and surpassed this number means so much to me. It’s not always just the revenue and bottom line of a business, it’s what I believe our business means to many. many families and many communities.

RP Lumber, which has branches in Bourbonnais, Beecher and Watseka, has grown slowly, bringing jobs and its services to communities. In the mid-1990s, the company added locations in Illinois and entered Missouri for the first time. In the early 2000s, the company expanded into northern Illinois and deepened its reach into central and southern Illinois.

In the 2010s, the company added locations throughout Missouri and Illinois, and most recently in 2021 and 2022, the company added locations in Wyoming, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The company added components to the business such as kitchen design, retail showrooms, and manufacturing.

“We’ve worked hard, sure, but our real focus is gratitude right now,” Plummer said. “You can only build a sustainable business in our industry if you work hard, stay focused, and have good team members, good customers, good supplier relationships, and good banking relationships.”


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