Mead Lumber Company officially announced Monday it has acquied Kildare Lumber in North Platte, McCook, Ogallala and Cozad. Mead's acquisition brings the number of its locations to 43 stores across seven central states -- Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Mead Lumber is 100% employee owned, and ranks in the top 30 nationally among building suppliers.
Kildare Lumber President Pat Pelster said the purchase is “exciting news for our employees and customers. Teaming up with Mead will provide for a seamless continuation of the same great service with the same employees at our stores.”
Mead’s range of products include lumber, hardware, kitchen cabinets, insulation, trusses, drywall, plywood and engineered lumber; Andersen window showrooms; and a delivery fleet of more than 250 vehicles.
For now, Kildare will retain its original store in Paxton, which was deemed too small for Mead to purchase. Kildare vice president Mike Pelster will manage it and is currenlty looking for a buyer, preferrably someone who will continue to operate the lumber business there.
Mead will close the Kildare store in Cozad and incorporate it into the Mead Lumber store there.
Nebraska companies: Deep roots
Both companies were founded in Nebraska more than 100 years ago. They survived two world wars, economic depressions and downturns, and other aspects of changing times.
Kildare Lumber’s roots go back to 1908, when young Hubert Kildare of Ogallala found a job at the lumberyard in Paxton. He would ride the train to work, sleep in a bedroom in the back of the lumber yard through the week, and return to Ogallala by train on the weekends.
Hubert Kildare became owner in 1918 after World War I, when with a partner he bought the Paxton yard after the previous owner died.
The company passed to Hubert’s son Bernard Kildare in 1957, who was known to have a highly inquisitive mind and intense focus on the lumber business. He never married. During Bernard’s tenure, Kildare Lumber expanded to Sutherland in 1960, Ogallala in 1965, North Platte in 1975, Cozad in 1986 and McCook in 1989.
Bernard’s nephew, Pat Pelster, said Bernard would often ask a question and in most cases, Pelster had never thought about the question before, much less the answer.
When Kildare Lumber celebrated 100 years in business, a grateful Pat Pelster said, “We owe it all to our great customers.”
“Kildare Lumber is a great company and we are excited to continue their 109-year history of supplying the building material needs of customers in western Nebraska” Mead Lumber President Craig Bradshaw said in announcing the purchase.
Mead Lumber began in 1910 when Morton Mead and Dan Sullivan purchased Parkhurst Lumber in Ashland, Neb.
Mead later bought out his partner and Mead’s three sons -- Lyman, Wilbur and Emerson -- entered the business.
By 1986, there were 15 Mead Lumber stores. In 1987, Bob Mead became president of Mead Lumber and the expansion continued.
Today, Mead Lumber owns and operates not only lumberyards, but hardware stores and millwork and truss facilities too. Bob Mead is the chairman of the board.
While Mead Lumber has experienced tremendous growth in the last 100 years, Morton Mead's values of placing the customer first and treating customers with respect are still the core values, the company’s website proudly says.
In addition to members of the Mead family, the company has more than 400 employee owners.
Mead Lumber has stores in Broken Bow, Cozad, Lexington, Kearney, Grand Island, York, Beatrice, Nebraska City, Norfolk and Columbus.
Visit www.meadlumber.com for more information.