Made in the Northwest: Discount Lumber
SPOKANE, Wash. — Discount Lumber was founded in Spokane all the way back in 1943. But for more than a decade now, it’s added new dimensions to the business, making it a lot more than just lumber.
“It used to be just a saw mill with some rudimentary machinery that produced saw dust and logs for log homes,” explained general manager Mike Hellman.
But when the economy crashed in the mid-2000s, Discount Lumber knew it needed to diversify. So about twelve years ago, it added a truss plant.
“That kind of helped bring another customer in the door and add a new dimension to who we were,” said Hellman.
Soon after, it added a metal shop as well.
“Once again, another dimension and it kind of brought a new customer to us.”
In its truss plant, Discount Lumber manufactures custom order trusses for things like pole buildings and barns. “We also can stock trusses that we can put on our pole building packages that we do,” said Hellman.
Once the trusses are engineered, the wood pieces are cut. Its timber mill can cut multiple angles in one pass. Then, they’re pieced together in a jig, tacked together, and run through a press, before they’re packaged and shipped.
Hellman estimated Discount Lumber does “probably 8,000-10,000 trusses a year.” And it does them fast.
“I can get a product to a customer as early as next day or easily within two weeks,” said Hellman.
In its metal shop, it makes roofing and siding on machines made by another Made in the Northwest company, Metal Rollforming Systems.
And by adding metals, Hellman said, “It completes the package for us with trusses, metal, lumber, sheet goods. And then I can side and sheet the metal roofs.”
One of the company’s trim rollers has four pre-set profiles, which allow it to mass produce certain types of trim. “We can crank out up to 700 pieces in an hour.”
Discount Lumber also has a metal folding machine and a shearer, so it can meet any specifications. “I can cut to the inch a special order on any metal or siding,” said Hellman.
Since adding its new dimensions, Hellman said Discount Lumber has been growing at a rate of about six to 10-percent per year. And it’s already looking for the next big thing it can offer.
“We’re going to diversify and add dimensions, so that we’re not just a lumber yard.”
But it’s already so much more.
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