Business profile: Keim Lumber Company

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CHARM, Ohio — Keim Lumber, a full-service building material supplier and manufacturer of hardwood trim, doors and other wood components, is celebrating its 100th year in a recently expanded showroom.

By the start of its Centennial Celebration on April 13, Keim Lumber Company completed a 5,000-square-foot addition to the sales floor.

Using existing storage areas and reconfiguring its showroom space, the company has added nearly 5,000 square feet of display area. These expanded areas include flooring and tile displays, increased millwork area, an expanded lawn and garden section and a new outdoor-lighting display.

Beginnings

Keim Lumber Company, known as Keim Brothers during its beginnings in the early 1900s, began on one and three-quarter acres in Charm, Ohio. By 1911, Mose J. Keim had set up a sawmill. Soon, he and his brother John had built a two-story planing mill for manufacturing finish lumber.

In the 1930s, the name changed from Keim Brothers to M. J. Keim and Son, as Mose Keim’s son, Roman Keim, took interest in the company.

Expansion

Business picked up as the Depression waned. In the 1940s, the company began selling plywood, built a small dry kiln and built the first of many storage sheds.

In the 1950s, M. J. Keim and Son began manufacturing hardwood flooring, expanded the buildings and added an office and a hardware store. Bill Keim, the current owner and president, joined the company during the 1960s, and the name changed to Keim Lumber Company.

During these last 50 years, Keim Lumber Company has seen its greatest growth. A new store, warehouse and office space have been added, and then expanded, to accommodate the continued growth.

Today, Keim Lumber Company covers approximately 40 acres, with almost 700,000 square feet under roof. With additional storage off-site at two rail sidings, Keim is able to maintain a large in-stock inventory.

Continued growth

Keim’s original work force of five people has increased to more than 360 employees. This includes Bill’s son, Robbie Keim. As vice president, Robbie Keim represents the fourth generation of the Keim family to be involved in the business.

Increasing sales

Looking back, Bill Keim noted that sales have tripled from 1990 to 2010, with a 30 percent increase in the last 10 years. Even with the economic difficulties in 2010, Robbie Keim said the company saw an increase in sales.

Both Bill and Robbie Keim attribute the company’s success to God’s blessing, a quality staff and a great customer base.

“A lot of it is the atmosphere here at Keim Lumber. And the store with all this extra space — people can shop without feeling crowded. People like to go shopping, even if they aren’t going to spend money. They enjoy being inside where they can browse, feel comfortable and enjoy their time,” Bill Keim said.

“They may not spend much, but many people spending a little adds up to a big amount. I think that’s a major thing.”

Robbie Keim said the community has also helped bolster the company’s growth.

“Being located in a community that shares the core values of quality, service and integrity is a great benefit. Keim Lumber has a local source of people who have a hardworking, moral and ethical strength,” Robbie Keim said. “In addition, the community is a strong attraction for tourists who come to the area and learn about Keim Lumber. Many of these visitors return to make purchases.”

Info

Keim Lumber Company is open Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. It is located at 4465 State Route 557 in Charm, Ohio.

For more information, call 330-893-2251 or 888-KEIMLBR. You can also find them online at www.keimlumber.com.

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