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BMC West sale shows strong local lumber industry

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BMC West Building Materials' western Colorado units, including its Steamboat Springs location, were sold last month to West Canyon Investments for $11.4 million. West Canyon is an affiliate of the Grand Junction-based Harbert Lumber Co.

— BMC West Building Materials' western Colorado units, including its Steamboat Springs location, were sold last month to West Canyon Investments for $11.4 million.

West Canyon is an affiliate of the Grand Junction-based Harbert Lumber Co.

As lumber and building materials suppliers for homebuilders and the construction industry, the former BMC West has remained highly successful despite the countrywide housing slowdown. The location's sales figures for the current year are up, surpassing 2006 levels.

"Nationwide, housing permits are off. But in this area, a ski resort, that just goes all out the window," general manager Rod Wille said. "With all the proposed subdivisions, I don't see it slowing down."

"The mountain resort markets are more of a sheltered market than the nation," said Harbert Lumber Co. President and CEO Gordon Harbert.

Even winter is not an obstacle for the lumber business in Steamboat Springs. The area experiences far less seasonal shutdown than in the past.

Wintertime sales are

expected to be at roughly 60 percent to 65 percent of summer levels, whereas in the past, sales were more than halved during winter, Wille said.

With the transfer of ownership at BMC West, customers can expect changes in name only. All staff will stay on, and all product lines will remain the same for now, Wille said.

Harbert Lumber's instructions to the Steamboat Springs location were to continue to do "business as usual," Wille said.

Harbert Lumber, which has been family owned and operated since 1937, tries to be a very service-oriented company and is eager to get involved in the community, said Harbert, while passing out free T-shirts at his new acquisition's semiannual "Tool Day" event Thursday.

The new acquisitions help Harbert Lumber by allowing it to do centralized buying in Grand Junction and pass on savings to the consumer.

"With the growth of the big-box stores, to be competitive and a player in the market, we have to be willing to expand and grow," Harbert said.

BMC West units in Aspen and Glenwood Springs were also included in the sale, though the Aspen real estate was only leased instead of sold outright.

When the Harbert Lumber Co. first approached the San Francisco-based Building Materials Holding Corporation, BMC West's parent company, they weren't interested in selling. But after two years and back and forth negotiations, the sale was announced to BMC West employees and management Sept. 13.

The assets were sold as part of a move away from retail-oriented operations such as the Steamboat Springs location, since the company's master plan is aimed at supplying professional builders, according to a statement from the Building Materials Holding Corp.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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