Since 1908, Charlotte-based Fulton Lumber Co. has withstood downturns in the economy and the spread of chain home improvement stores. As the company turns 100, it once again celebrates continued growth.
According to excerpts from the article:
In an age of big-box retailers such as Home Depot Inc., Lowe's Cos. Inc. and Menard Inc., Christi Dutcher, who helps run the family business, said a "history of information" is what keeps Fulton Lumber growing as it embarks on its second century.
Dutcher's brother said another strength of the 100-year-old lumberyard has always been what he called the moral value ingrained in it.
"My grandfather was somebody that was respected tremendously for his integrity, fairness, good nature," said Mike Fulton, 51, of Charlotte. "And my dad's carried that on. He's very much in that same mold. We hope that these are the principles that we would continue to operate on."
A century ago, W.B. Fulton founded the lumber company with his brother-in-law, Ike Colborn. W.B. Fulton's grandson, Bob Fulton, and two of Bob Fulton's children - Dutcher and Mike Fulton - now run the company.
"If you don't have the trust and loyalty of your customers, then you don't have a business, as far as I'm concerned, in a small town," said Bob Fulton, 86, of Charlotte.
Fulton's lumber and hardware operation encompasses about two acres that includes a retail store, several two-story lumber storage bins and seven other storage buildings, Mike Fulton said.
In the 4,100-square-foot showroom, expanded from 900 square feet in the 1970s, Fulton Lumber sells items such as paint, hardware and metal products, said Dutcher, 58, of Gun Lake. Besides the owners, the business has 12 full-time and two part-time employees.
Multiple types of lumber, from pine to mahogany, are trucked in from more than 100 suppliers worldwide, primarily from the West Coast, Dutcher said.
Other wood products include plywood, doors and windows.
The Michigan Lumber and Building Materials Association gave Fulton Lumber a Century Award earlier this year, honoring the company for being owned by the same family in the same location for 100 years, said association President Rick Seely.
"It is highly unusual in today's business climate, especially in an industry that can be volatile," he said.
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