When asked why the company is for sale, Evans cited several reasons:
n "We of course have been around here so long, we've gone from being the only place to being the last independent around here." Home Depot has 2,248 stores, including a store at Southridge Centre. Lowe's has more than 1,725 stores, including a store at The Shops at Trace Fork. And there's 84 Lumber and Walmart . . .
n "We used to do a tremendous business with Union Carbide, FMC and the Institute plant. We still do a good bit of business with Carbide through their subcontractors but not the volume we used to have with them because they're simply not doing as much."
n "In the last two years our No. 1 and No. 2 contractors passed away." Evans said his father, the late Walter D. "Pat" Evans, put the late C.W. "Bill" Moore in business. "He (Moore) came in one day and talked to my Dad," Evans recalled. "Dad took him to our salesman and said, 'Give him anything he wants.' Dad loaned him money, gave him credit. He (Moore) became one of the biggest homebuilders in the valley. He stayed loyal to us for 50-some years."
n Price has become the Holy Grail of retail in America and it is hard to compete on price with the big box retailers, who can get volume discounts.
n People want service but won't pay for it "until they really need it."
n With the rise of the big box retailers, some wholesalers have gone out of business and it's increasingly difficult to obtain merchandise. "There are some suppliers who won't come into an area because they don't think there's sufficient business. You can buy by the truckload but not if you only need a half truckload."
Pat Evans' father, along with several investors, founded South Charleston Lumber, later to be known as Evans Lumber Co., in 1929. The size of the company peaked in the 1980s when it operated a sawmill at Clendenin and had 29 employees.
Don Evans said Pat, who died in 2005 at the age of 91, wanted to close some years ago.
"I said, 'You don't want to close when you are still alive,'" Don Evans recalled. "I said, 'You've been here 75 years. As long as we can make a profit and we can take care of the employees - particularly the employees with 25 to 30 years of service, get them close to retirement age, and still provide a service to the community.'
"I'm sure when we're gone a lot of people are going to ask, 'Where are we going to buy good lumber or get this taken care of?' But there weren't enough people taking advantage of that. I think it has a lot to do with a change in social buying habits. Everything is price point now. Quality doesn't mean as much to the newer generations."
Bob Anderson, South Charleston's business recruiter, said the company will be missed. He said Evans Lumber was active in the community for many years. For example, support from Evans Lumber was critical in getting the lights installed at Oakes Field, he said.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.