by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer
Brad Campbell, founder and owner of Longhorn Lumber, has created a successful business as a specialty lumber contractor. Partially based on salvaging and reclaiming building materials, local businesses look to Campbell for their lumber needs as he can provide a unique service with one-of-a-kind materials.
Campbell has been in the lumber business for almost 35 years. A recent layoff and move to Central Oregon presented him with the opportunity to go into business for himself and in 2008, he created Longhorn Lumber.
“I could see a niche market working directly with contractors to offer high quality products direct from the manufacturers,” Campbell said. “I also dabbled into the reclaimed market and it has turned into a pretty big part of what I do. I buy or salvage the wood, clean it up and offer it for sale. That has been a good market in this economy.”
The work Campbell does has been spreading word of mouth, and he is often contacted for salvaging opportunities. “I have a reputation for being in that market [for reclaimed materials]. When I am contacted about a building, I go out and look at it and make a plan. I use a lot of local contractors to do the reclaiming work,” he said.
If there is value in what he finds on a salvaging job and knows he can market the materials, he will pay the owner for the product; if the wood is full of rot or unusable, he will clean up the site and recycle what he can.
There are other (larger) businesses in Central Oregon who deal in salvaging and reclaimed lumber, but Campbell is a one man operation who likes to focus on the local market and the unique aspects of Longhorn Lumber including reclaiming furniture and trade – in lumber, furniture or metals.
A few challenges he faces are finding enough quality materials on the reclaimed market, and educating his customers on the range of materials he is able to provide. “Sometimes my business is a surprise to people when they are buying materials, not knowing that I have them available also. I haven’t been advertising and most of my business has been through referrals,” said Campbell. “Anyone in the wood products market can be my customer, especially those looking for a high end product.”
Campbell is happy running a one man business and has no plans to be the biggest company around, “I would rather be someone who can stay hands on. I rarely sell something that I don’t see and work with myself.” Although not quite a broker, he would be interested in doing more wholesale business. At this point he keeps his inventory of reclaimed wood on the 40 acres of his ranch in Powell Butte and recommends interested buyers look at his supply before purchasing because reclaimed wood can look and feel very different from a similar newer product.
“I have a two to three day turnaround on my products. If I can’t do the job, I will refer them to the people who can. I have good customers, I will try and save them money and point them in the right direction,” he said.
Campbell has an impressive list of completed projects that include Good Life Brewery, the WildHorse Harley Davidson remodel, Backporch Coffee, Silverado and Healthy Paws. He can provide lumber for custom homes and has completed one of his favorite projects at a duck hunting club in Alabama. The club used 800-900 year old redwood salvaged from a site near Aurora, Oregon to provide trusses for the hunting cabin.
LongHorn Lumber Co., Inc. 3698 SW Reif Rd, Powell Butte, OR 97753, 541-633-6635, www.longhornlumber.com.