Case Studies

Hancock Lumber Company

A Maine-made, Family-run Operation for Over 165 Years

Kevin Hancock remembers when Hancock Lumber Company (Hancock Lumber) was a small store and mill in Casco Village, Maine. “From the time I was a Little League age boy growing up in Casco, I can still recall when our entire company was located in the small town,” recounts Kevin, president of Hancock Lumber. “Today, we have 10 stores throughout Maine and New Hampshire that sell a full line of lumber and building materials to professional builders and homeowners. We also operate three sawmills and ship products across North America and the world.”

Kevin admits, despite significant growth and expansion, much has remained constant for the Maine-based company. “We’ve been family owned-and -operated since 1848,” he shares. “We have stayed loyal to our core values that focus on people, as they are the key to a successful organization. We are very respectful of our employees and customers because they are Hancock Lumber and what truly set us apart.”

The Sixth Generation

Hancock Lumber was founded by Nathan and Spencer Decker in 1848 and has since grown to be one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished family-owned lumber companies. “Nathan ended up remarrying and eventually his step-son, S.O. Hancock succeeded him as the second generation,” explains Kevin. “We suspect the company began before 1848, but the oldest date we have on record is a copy of a contract for the construction of a new mill.”

Hancock Lumber

Kevin grew up surrounded by his grandparents, aunts and uncles who worked for the company, but originally decided to take another path and attend college. “I wasn’t always positive I’d end up in the family business,” he admits. “I went to Bowdoin College and became a teacher at first, but eventually joined the company in 1991.”

Kevin, who’s been president of Hancock Lumber since 1998, has watched the company thrive over the last decade. “The company has changed dramatically in the years that I have known it, but our expansion is directly related to our good reputation and valuing our people” he says.

Hancock Lumber remains true to the company motto that puts people first. “We’re a customer intimate company,” explains Kevin. “We don’t deliver what the market wants, but what specific customers want. We have a great work environment because all 418 employees build relationships and take personal care of our customers.”

From the Ground to the Home

Kevin reveals that Hancock Lumber’s advantage is not only in quality people, but in the company’s integration of all facets of the lumber industry. “Most companies in our industry have chosen to focus on just one piece, but we incorporate everything from growing our own trees, to processing and selling the final product,” he conveys.

Hancock Lumber operates a timberland division, growing trees on its own land, in addition to three sawmills where the company processes all product in-house. The company is also set up for large-scale, national and international retail operations, selling building materials to commercial customers and homeowners. “We’re the largest producer and exporter of Eastern White Pine globally,” details Kevin. “There was a time, not too long ago that very few people outside of Maine would have ever bought our products. Today we have customers all over the world.”

The retail aspect of the business has grown significantly over the past 40 years. Hancock Lumber’s retail center has employees with a combined 321 years of home outfitting experience. From siding to mouldings, decking to hardware, kitchen and bath to windows, Hancock Lumber has whatever a homeowner or commercial builder needs.

“We’ve recently completed a $700,000 window package for the Regency Hotel in Portland, Maine,” shares Kevin. “We’ve donated a significant amount of window material to the restoration of Cuckolds Lighthouse in Southport, Maine, and a UniLuxe window package to the Coast Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.”

Supporting Local

Kevin insists that Hancock Lumber doesn’t hesitate to help out local organizations because the company values the community that’s helped make for such success. Over the years Hancock Lumber has worked to support Camp Sunshine, an organization that provides a lakeside retreat for families with sick children and various Habitat for Humanity projects.

“Our brand, our people and our reputation set us apart,” explains Kevin. “Our brand runs deep in Maine, since 1848. We have a reputation for doing right by our customers, employees and the community for the long term.”

Lasting relationships and the company’s diversity have allowed Hancock Lumber to survive amid an unstable economy and lagging housing market. “When the new home market declined we used our mill business to switch to a lot of exporting,” details Kevin. “We had to examine the business differently, from our number of employees to being consistently accurate in our measurements in the lumberyard.

Kevin foresees Hancock Lumber on a continuous path of more of the same; more of the same commitment to customers, employees and the community. “The key to our business is to stay focused on core customers, products and services,” he shares. “We’re trying to improve our understanding of our customer’s priorities and creating a great workplace for our employees.”

For over 165 years, Hancock Lumber has had a vested interest in people. “When you’ve been doing business for a client for 10 to 20, or even 30 years, you really get to understand the nuances of what they care about,” says Kevin. “You also take an interest in their success, and come to see their success as your own.” Hancock Lumber Company continues to run deep in Maine through the right people, a variety of products and excellent service.

For more information about Hancock Lumber Company, please visit: (www.hancocklumber.com)

Published on: September 10, 2013

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