After a century of business success, Laird Norton Company initiated a program of new direct investments in 1958. In 1961, when Hayes-Lucas Lumber Company merged with Botsford Lumber Company to form United Building Centers (UBC), Laird Norton Company acquired a majority ownership position. What followed were four decades of growth and evolution, resulting in one of the largest professional building materials dealers in the United States.
In 1978, LNC acquired Spenard Building Supply and merged it with UBC to form Lanoga. Over the next quarter century, LNC, working in partnership with Lanoga, expanded its lumber and building materials (LBM) distribution business with the acquisitions of firms such as Lumbermen’s Building Centers, Home Lumber Company and Dixieline.
As patient, responsible business stewards, LNC was less concerned by the cyclical nature of the LBM distribution business than a typical private equity owner. In fact, the added time and flexibility of long-term ownership allowed LNC to take advantage of the sector’s cycles. Lanoga successfully adapted to market changes, such as the emergence of big-box DIY stores and national homebuilders.
At the time of its sale to Fidelity Capital in 2006, Lanoga had revenues in excess of $3 billion from six divisions with 320 locations in 24 states.