(Photo | courtesy of Longhorn Lumber)
Brad Campbell, president of LongHorn Lumber, brings a nearly unmatched level of experience and expertise to the industry. In 2008, after spending 25 years with his previous employer, Campbell founded LongHorn Lumber with the mission to bring wholesale prices to the consumer, cutting down on unnecessary cost and helping people save big on projects of all sizes.
This has been the main business model for LongHorn Lumber since its founding, “We take out several layers where profit would have been added by middlemen,” Campbell said. “We find that our customers like having to skip over several layers like distribution and retail costs, saving them money on their projects.”
This business model became especially lucrative in a time where many businesses found themselves struggling to stay afloat: the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009. While building projects and furniture sales definitely slowed, they didn’t stop to a complete halt. Pretty much every builder, contractor and any other professional involved in the industry was looking to save as much money as possible, wherever possible. When LongHorn Lumber came onto the scene and offered extensive experience plus high-quality salvaged wood for wholesale prices, they became one of, if not the most, viable lumber suppliers around.
With a viable business model like that, it’s no surprise that folks can find examples of LongHorn Lumber scattered across the region, “Some of the projects that I have furnished materials for are 10 Barrel Brewery, Good Life Brewery, On Tap Food Court, Silvies Valley Ranch and Golf Resort, the HomeTown Animal Hospital and more,” Campbell said. “The flooring for the Cascade Lakes Welcome Center was salvaged from a barn in Powell Butte, and many pieces of barn wood furniture and barn doors can be seen in homes that have been featured in the COBA Tour of Homes.”
LongHorn Lumber was even featured on the HGTV show, Mom & Me, where their reclaimed lumber was used in several of their custom home builds.
LongHorn Lumber has provided a variety of services over the years, starting out with imported wood from Austria, back when it was founded in 2008. Campbell had formed connections overseas with his previous company that he was able to utilize even after moving on from that employer.
Now, a huge focus of LongHorn Lumber is in the reclaimed wood market, “LongHorn Lumber started reclaiming wood in 2008 and has gone from selling truckloads of barn wood to other sellers, to starting an inventory and selling directly to the consumer,” Campbell said. “Lumber is salvaged and brought to the yard to be cleaned and have nails removed to be ready for sale. All of our barn wood is salvaged locally.”
For Campbell, the process of salvaging his barn wood looks a lot like a sculptor, sizing up a piece of marble and imagining what kind of art he can pull from it. From the moment Campbell steps onto a property with a structure that could potentially be salvaged, he is evaluating each piece of wood for what it might become.
“I always make sure to pay the property owner, as well,” Campbell said. “Imagine someone walking into your house and asking to take your old stuff for free. I don’t think that would go over too well, for most people.”
Experience definitely plays a role in this process; where an amateur might just see an old barn, Campbell sees exactly what kind of projects that can be salvaged from the wood. Experience also plays a role in an industry like this one that is based heavily on connections, “I have people call me when they can’t find what they’re looking for anywhere else,” Campbell said. “This is a very connection-based industry, and I’ve gotten to know plenty of people over the years. With my first experience with the lumber mill to now having 47 years of experience in the industry, it has enabled me to offer a wide range of expertise and services.”
For Campbell, utilizing reclaimed and salvaged wood is more than just a business opportunity. For each piece reclaimed, he is adding his mark to that wood’s history, and helping create a more sustainable and low-impact build.
A recent reclaimed project included a 2,000-year-old redwood that was salvaged from a train tunnel in Southern Oregon. The heartwood was used in the construction of the tunnel well over 100 years ago, but the rest of the tree lives on in the hands of Campbell.
“It is such a beautiful material, it is almost indescribable, to be honest with you,” Campbell said. “I’ve worked with salvaged redwood before and it is always this beautiful. A lot of this wood goes back to the days of old train robberies, with one of the last big ones happening in Southern Oregon. With something as old as a redwood, there is always going to be so much history attached to it. I’m honored to be adding to and preserving that history.”
According to Campbell, LongHorn Lumber is chasing after some short-term goals, as well as long-term ones, “In the short term, my goals are to keep offering new and reclaimed Lumber products at the quality we are offering them now,” he said. “Further down the road, we’d like to find someone with a passion for customer service who can take the reins on that side of the business and help us build new relationships.”
LongHorn Lumber • 3698 SW Reif Rd., Powell Butte • longhornlumber.com