Grand opening for Big Lou’s this Wednesday
June 10, 2019 7:51 am
This Wednesday, Big Lou’s in Esterhazy will be holding a grand opening for the lumber yard and for the new location of their glass shop. The grand opening comes after Lindsay and Lisa Dlouhy, the owners of Big Lou’s Glass and Exterors, purchased the former North American Lumber in Esterhazy last August, and renamed it Big Lou’s Lumber, expanding their business.
“Previous to buying the lumber yard, we were a glass shop and renovation business that had a small lumber yard at our shop out of town,” says Lindsay Dlouhy. “We had a small lumber yard and we sold some lumber locally, but the majority of the lumber that we had is what we were using for our install crews and carpentry guys.
“We are part of a buying group that has 400 lumber yards, and we were part of that prior to buying the lumber yard. We bought the lumber yard and changed the name to Big Lou’s Lumber. Big Lou’s Glass and Exteriors is still our corporate name, but Big Lou’s Lumber is a trade name.
“The plan was to get the lumber yard up and running back to where it needs to be. It’s been for sale for many, many years.
“North American Lumber had 21 lumber yards, so when they sold out, Esterhazy was the last of their 21 lumber yards to sell.”
What made Dlouhy want to expand his business?
“I’ve always wanted to be in the lumber business,” he says. “I’ve been dealing with lumber for close to 30 years so it’s always been something I thought I would be good at, and I enjoy dealing with the people. I know Esterhazy will support us because they have for 26 years in our glass business, they supported us all along, and I don’t think that is going to change at all.”
Dlouhy says Esterhazy is a great place to do business, and he prides himself on being a local.
“I grew up here, my wife grew up here, we hire all local people and we know just about everybody that walks through this door, and I feel that we have the integrity that people can trust us. We’re not going to lead them astray. We’re not going to try and take their money and run. We listen to what they want. We listen to what they say. If they think we should bring in a product we will definitely look at it, and if we can do it, we will bring it in. We listen to them because they are the ones that have to come back. The cities don’t need to have return customers as much as we do out in the country. In the country, as soon as we sell one product, we have to sell it the best we can because we have to count on those people to come back and support us later.”
Dlouhy bought the lumber yard on August 10, and says business has been steady ever since.
“It’s picking up more and more all the time,” he says. “Of course we are just going into our busy season, but it’s looking promising considering the overall economy is not that strong with the farmers suffering and the lack of rain here, and in a lot of the country people are looking for jobs. So it’s been good here. We’re actually short of help right now. We’re trying to hire two more people.
“So far we haven’t been in it for a year yet, but so far it’s been good. We’ve changed a lot of products in the store. We’ve changed our paint line and a few different suppliers for our lumber and windows. We kept the manager on—Elmer Seiben has stayed with us, he was with North American Lumber for around seven years.”
Dlouhy says there is potential for the lumber business to grow.
“We want to build it back up and win the customers back,” he says. “Because North American Lumber was for sale for so many years, and all the locations were for sale for many years, they didn’t want to bring up the inventory. They didn’t put a lot into it as far as inventory goes, so they were struggling to have enough inventory to supply everybody and a lot of people weren’t even stopping here anymore.
“So we’re working hard to get that inventory level brought back up and spruce up the buildings that have been left neglected for a long, long time. We’re trying to get it to look nice again and clean it up and build the inventory so that it is a full functional lumber yard the way it should be.
“It sounds like there is potential for growth too because the contractors at the mine support us a lot, and the mine has supported us as well. It has been good overall so far.”
Dlouhy says he’s looking forward to the grand opening, and hoping it’s a chance to bring people back into the store.
“We’re trying to have a lot of people out. We’re trying to get people to come back and look at what we have to offer. We want to show them the store. We want to show them the warehouse, and show them our glass shop that is just new to the lumber yard, and just introduce them to our vendors that are supplying all these products for us. We want them to see what we have so that when they are ready to build they give us a chance—that’s all we ask for.
“Get them back in the store. Give them some good deals. Give them some good food, a cup of coffee and hopefully it will be a successful day.”