Eskridge residents step up to keep lumberyard’s doors open

ESKRIDGE — Situated on First Avenue, Eskridge Lumber is one of a few businesses in the heart of the otherwise quiet downtown.

Not many cars roll down the street, but when they do, drivers smile and wave. 

That friendly and strong community support can also be seen within the walls of Eskridge Lumber, a longtime business taken under the wings of local residents who are fighting to keep it open.

It was in 2016 that the former owners of Eskridge Lumber decided to retire. They either needed to sell the business or close its doors.

That’s when community members stepped up. They wanted to purchase the business and run it as an LLC.

“Most of us anyway didn’t really expect a return on our money,” said Beverly Clark, a retired school district employee.

For the past five years, Eskridge Lumber has been under the ownership of 31 people who have invested time and money into the store.

Jerry Haahr shows the types of supplies and lumber at Eskridge Lumber Yard LLC.

A board of five people — Clark, Jerry Haahr, Diane Turnbull, Harold Warner and Rob Warren — are responsible for making business decisions, maintaining the finances and setting policies.

It hasn’t been an easy road. Low profit margins, employees’ health issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and high lumber costs have created unforeseen challenges. But if there is one thing this group is determined to do, it is to keep the small town business that has been a community staple open.

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