Three years shy of its 100th Anniversary, Keim Lumber could be considered a paradox in the building industry.
There’s the fact that Keim is located in the Amish capital of Charm, Ohio—in the midst of hayfields and cornfields—yet its 120,000-square-foot showroom is a cutting-edge facility that receives orders from across the state and beyond.
There’s the fact that Keim only became computerized a few years ago, yet its 100-plus species of domestic and hardwoods (from locations as exotic as the West Indies, Africa and the Pacific Rim), custom doors (19,000 square feet worth) and unique trims and moldings (done on seven high-end molding machines) ship all over the nation.
And there’s the fact that this fourth generation family owned business—which still has hitching posts for its Amish and Mennonite customers—is a pioneer in the progressive green building area, using advanced processes to create high temperature thermo-treated wood, thermo-treated decks and sidings and solar powered products.
Not what you’d expect in a small village like Charm, whose population teeters right around 100—and whose other businesses include antique shops, a general store, a harness and boot shop and a dry goods store. The closest Lowe’s is a half-hour away in Wooster, Ohio; the closest Home Depot a 45-minute drive to Canton.
Keim Lumber, No. 170 on the Home Channel News Pro Dealer Top 350, racked up sales of $51 million in 2007 (a 20 percent increase over the previous year). The business was started as a sawmill by brothers Mose and John Keim in 1911 and grew into a thriving lumber business over the next several decades. Mose’s son Roman joined Keim Brothers in the 1930s and started to sell plywood under a new name, M.J. Keim and Son. By the 1950s, they were manufacturing hardwood flooring and had expanded into several buildings, including a main office and a hardware store.
Headquarters: Charm, Ohio2007 sales: $51.0 million2006 sales: $42.5 millionUnits: 1 Source: HCN Top 350 Scoreboard
Headquarters: Charm, Ohio2007 sales: $51.0 million2006 sales: $42.5 millionUnits: 1
Source: HCN Top 350 Scoreboard
Yet most of the growth has come in the last 40 years, under the guidance of third generation owner Bill Keim and his son, Robbie Keim. They have built it into a mega-business that covers approximately 40 acres, with almost 700,000 square feet under roof, more than 330 employees and 23 delivery