After a century of making doors, one closes

A 108-year-old home builder supplier in Petersburg is closing its doors.

Builders Supply Company of Petersburg announced this month that it will start shutting down and liquidating in February.

In a Jan. 17 letter to its customers, the company said that it had been having trouble for the past four years and that its 72 stockholders voted to close down.

“With the operating losses combined with the financial obligation to buy out the retirees and past employees; the decision was made to stop our business,” the letter said.

Jim VanLandingham, president of the company said by phone yesterday that the struggling housing industry has caused the business to take a major hit.

“Over the last four years Builder Supply has not been able to make profit in the housing industry,” he said. “Without a better housing industry there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

VanLandingham said the company had doubled its size in the years leading up to 2007.

“The housing market started going south in the fall of 2007 and that’s when everything changed for people in our industry,” VanLandingham said.

In the last four years, the company has cut back from 70 employees, down to 23.

“I think that speaks volumes of how things are right now,” he said.

The closure marks the second major liquidation of a Petersburg-based lumber/truss company. Roper’s Brother Lumber, which like Builders Supply made trusses, closed in 2009.

Builders Supply operated on North Market Street in Petersburg and also had a truss plant at East Whitehall Road in Richmond.

It manufactured windows, doors and other materials for commercial jobs. Roof truss manufacturing was another large part of the business.

Of the company’s 72 stockholders, 19 were employees. The remaining 53 include 12 retired employees. Builders Supply has been an employee owned company since 2002.

“If we get out now they can still walk away with something,” said VanLandingham, who has been with the company for 37 years.

A 108-year-old home builder supplier in Petersburg is closing its doors.

Builders Supply Company of Petersburg announced this month that it will start shutting down and liquidating in February.

In a Jan. 17 letter to its customers, the company said that it had been having trouble for the past four years and that its 72 stockholders voted to close down.

“With the operating losses combined with the financial obligation to buy out the retirees and past employees; the decision was made to stop our business,” the letter said.

Jim VanLandingham, president of the company said by phone yesterday that the struggling housing industry has caused the business to take a major hit.

“Over the last four years Builder Supply has not been able to make profit in the housing industry,” he said. “Without a better housing industry there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

VanLandingham said the company had doubled its size in the years leading up to 2007.

“The housing market started going south in the fall of 2007 and that’s when everything changed for people in our industry,” VanLandingham said.

In the last four years, the company has cut back from 70 employees, down to 23.

“I think that speaks volumes of how things are right now,” he said.

The closure marks the second major liquidation of a Petersburg-based lumber/truss company. Roper’s Brother Lumber, which like Builders Supply made trusses, closed in 2009.

Builders Supply operated on North Market Street in Petersburg and also had a truss plant at East Whitehall Road in Richmond.

It manufactured windows, doors and other materials for commercial jobs. Roof truss manufacturing was another large part of the business.

Of the company’s 72 stockholders, 19 were employees. The remaining 53 include 12 retired employees. Builders Supply has been an employee owned company since 2002.

“If we get out now they can still walk away with something,” said VanLandingham, who has been with the company for 37 years.

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Tom Dorsey
Tom Dorsey
10 years ago

I think they are getting out at the exact bottom. I realize they have strong reasons to do so and I might make the same decision but a report we wrote a couple months ago suggests the building sector has bottomed. It is not an overnight evolution but brighter days are ahead.

james
james
10 years ago
Reply to  Tom Dorsey

Tom, I think you’re right that the market has bottomed. But I don’t see any significant gain coming while President Obama is in office. Builders Supply is not the first to go under because of this president’s work at stopping development and, unfortunately, probably won’t be the last.

james
james
10 years ago

Another Barack Obama success story. His three years of hard work at keeping the nation’s home building industry in the gutter claims another victim.

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

This has everything to do with the boom and bust economy that is in America regardless of who is President. The problems of this nation come down to greed. Everyone and their brother was trying to get rich off of building homes and flipping homes and buying lots, selling mortgages, etc. The collapse began long before Obama and if McCain had won we’d be dealing with the same problems. We overbuilt. Simple as that. There are too many houses and not enough people to buy them. Until the demand and population catches up you can put anyone in the White… Read more »

Buddy
Buddy
10 years ago

Amy, Your article sounds like Builders Supply of Petersburg was just a manufacturer of windows, doors, and trusses. In fact they were a full serve builder’s supply that competed with Roper Brothers, 84 Lumber, ProBuild, Stock Supply, Lowes and Home Depot. They sold to many builders both large and small, not just in the Petersburg area but in the whole Richmond market. You did not mention either that Hopewell Builder Supply closed last year as well. I am afraid what is going to happen here is that we will be left with 2 or 3 national builder supply companies. This… Read more »

Nanny State
Nanny State
10 years ago

Sorry to see another good, local business sucumb to this AWEFUL economy particularily in Petersburg where employment is badly needed. Businesses no matter who or what simply cannot survive for such an extended period of downturn. Good thing Obama gave half a billion to Green Energy jobs to companies like Solyndra, etc. Money that went nowhere except up someone’s nose. All you can do is VOTE in the next election. Make sure your vote is for job creators and economy fixers and NOT more of the same!