Stine Lumber nearly halted its plans to build a $14 million store in Walker.
President/CEO Dennis Stine told a gathering this afternoon at the Livingston Economic Development Council that the company reconsidered the project after the national economy showed its first signs of slowing down. “We questioned whether we should proceed with this project,” Stine says. “Bear Stearns had just gone under, and we started having second thoughts about all the investment.”
Parish President Mike Grimmer apparently convinced Stine to keep going. “He started talking about how they could assist us with the Enterprise Zone,” Stine says of the state tax-credit program for hiring workers within a designated area. “He said, ‘We can do this. We need you here.’ He was very persuasive and he turned us around.”
Stine says Livingston won out over all the other parishes the company was considering because market research indicated $41 million in potential home improvement business and only one other existing warehouse store – a Home Depot in Denham Springs.
The 100,000-square-foot facility set to open in March will have 80 employees headed by Stine’s son in law, Brady Cunningham, and Lynn Patton, former owner of the Ace Hardware at Perkins and Bluebonnet roads. “I think we’re in the right place at the right time,” Stine says. “Mortgage rates are at their lowest in 30 years, lumber prices are at their lowest in 30 years, and Livingston Parish is going to continue to grow.”
Stine Lumber is the largest Louisiana-based home improvement chain, with 10 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Walker store, on La. Highway 447 between Interstate 12 and U.S. 190, will cater to both contractors and do-it-yourselfers and feature a garden center.