Customers Didn’t Care
When I originally dove into pole barn kit package sales in 1980 it appeared customers didn’t care about features or benefits of our buildings. If they did, they certainly were not asking me!
Advertising was simple – newsprint (regional farm paper and free shoppers). Our ads listed dimensions (width, length and eave height), along with prices for basic three sided barns.
Our only competition for barn kits was Gary Cornell’s Woodland Park Lumber, who had more than a five year head start. I have never met Mr. Cornell, who is now approaching his 80th birthday, however he did appear to have developed a successful business model. Our efforts to expand upon this model were wildly successful.
My beginning pole barn mentor was George Evanovich, a builder who operated a company known as Metal Building Erectors (previously mentioned in this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/entry-door-2/). Willamette Valley Oregon lumberyards in 1980 made a business out of selling lots of low grade (#3 and utility) green lumber. My employer, Virgil Lucas – owner of Lucas Plywood and Lumber, being no exception to this rule.
A little side reading about green lumber here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/499green-lumber-vs-dry-lumber/
Although perhaps just a rumor, I had been told Virgil got his lumber business start while working in a plywood mill. As this story was told to me, apparently he could buy discounted non-certified plywood. Taking this plywood home to his garage, he used a belt sander to remove grade marks and resell it to home building contractors making a tidy profit. When I was hired to manage his prefabricated roof truss manufacturing plant in 1979, Lucas Plywood and Lumber had become a thriving multi-million dollar enterprise.
Combining George’s knowledge (or lack thereof) and Virgil’s seemingly unending supply of cheap, low grade lumber resulted in a very affordable pole barn – knowing what I know now, was amazing they stood up!
From a street side view they looked just fine and we were not being questioned about quality. As we share in this journey through features and benefits in articles following this blog, I will throw in what was or was not being included in this 1980 vintage pole barn.