20 Apr 2020
As experienced lumber industry professionals, Tim Doyle and Carl Serck saw an opportunity to invest in a local lumberyard, both as a business venture and a chance to keep a lumberyard in a community. But they knew they needed assistance.
“The Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s REED Fund has a real commitment to community and they were able to fill a financing gap to make our plans a reality,” said Doyle, President of Northern Plains Lumber.
Over the course of two years, financing arranged through Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s REED Fund, allowed the two businessmen to create Northern Plains Lumber (NPL) through the purchase of an existing lumberyard in Beresford, South Dakota and open a new location in nearby Worthing.
“We saw an opportunity to be committed to the industry and the community.” said Doyle. “Thanks to Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s REED Fund, we’re able to continue to be a thriving lumber company in rural South Dakota.”
Northern Plains Lumber is a full service retail lumberyard, specializing in project management from planning, design and product supply. Their defining purpose is to help customers with all aspects of a building or remodeling process.
“From conception to completion, we can help consumers determine if they want to do the work or hire a professional, making the best connections to get the job done with the appropriate products at the right price when they need it,” said Doyle.
In April 2018, one Southeastern Electric Cooperative REED Fund loan allowed Doyle and Serck, Vice-President, to buy the existing lumberyard in Beresford, which had been operating over a number of years under a series of owners. The loan allowed them to free up their cash flow, putting it toward assets needed to operate the facility. They knew an expansion was necessary, with Beresford quickly reaching capacity after a first year sales increase of 35%. A second loan in May 2019 allowed them to purchase a new 3.2 acre facility in Worthing, three times that of Beresford. And with the expansion, they’ve been able to add four new jobs in the past year.
“Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s REED Fund is a great leveler for small communities, because most towns don’t have the money by themselves to attract business,” said Doyle. “It would have been very difficult if not impossible for us to purchase and expand without their help.”
NPL attributes several keys to developing thriving operations in their rural community. “Above and beyond the rest is the personal approach by the city of Beresford, which creates an atmosphere that makes doing business there very enjoyable,” said Doyle.
“It is truly incredible that a small town like Beresford has such a cutting edge, service-oriented group of people,” he said. “And as we’ve grown, the city has been very patient with the amount of traffic we’ve generated downtown.”
That growth has certainly tested the limits of their Beresford facility. Doyle knew they needed to improve their infrastructure to manage inventory, improved ordering and ensure customer safety.
“The Beresford Municipal Telephone Company helped us with every aspect of our networking and telephone needs,” said Doyle. “They held our hand every step of the way as we learned to deal with the high level of technology required in business today.”
After such aggressive activity the past two years, NPL’s short term vision is to settle into their operations, with their first goal focused on growing market share. “As with all businesses, success is determined by the interactions of the people involved,” said Doyle.
“We all saw the potential in the community of Beresford and we’re thankful to grow our business in serving rural South Dakota,” he said. “Thanks to Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s REED Fund, while other communities have lost their local lumber dealer, Northern Plains Lumber continues to thrive.”