& Free Trip to Margaritaville
Vick Lumber Company, started by M.Y. Vick, began as a basic lumberyard in this small southeast Texas town. After her husband’s death in 1952, Mrs. Vick ran the store, with help from managers, until her son took over while in college. After his passing in 1995, a widow took over again.
After the massive fire in 1999, George Jaster, who had worked as store manager for the Vick family for years, bought the company to completely rebuild the main store and lumberyard. He also bought a building next to the original location. In an effort to help customers find his temporary store, Jaster decided not to change the store name.
In 2009, Jaster was ready for retirement and asked if current owner Randy Lowery would be interested in buying the store and carrying on the traditions of a family-run, customer-oriented lumber company. Lowery had worked at the store since he was 22-years-old and had grown fond of the business and the people.
“Jaster and I had worked together for 25 years, and the people I worked with there were almost family,” said Lowery.
Lowery had been exposed to every part of the business, from working in the lumberyard to driving the delivery truck. So, he decided he would purchase the building and begin his own journey as the owner of Vick Hardware, LLC. Today, with seven employees, including Randy, they are ready to meet contractor needs and assist do-it-yourselfers with home projects from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. – noon on Saturdays.
Like the Vick family, Lowery is continuing the tradition of keeping the 1.75 acre site a family business. His wife Rita takes care of human resources and accounting for the store, while his brother-in-law Rick Schroeder uses his extensive knowledge of lumber to help the store be successful. Before coming to work at Vick Lumber, Schroeder had worked at other lumberyards in the area and knows a lot of people, said Lowery.
Following in Lowery’s footsteps are his 37-year-old son Scott, who has been working with his dad since the summer after high school, and his 29-year-old son Nick can also be found helping run the store.
While both sons work as assistant managers, do most of the product ordering, and help out wherever they are needed, Lowery says they each bring their own traits to the business. “Nick is really good at mixing and matching paints,” Lowery explains. “Customers can bring in a sample, and he can usually match it.” For Scott, it is all about his people skills. “He’s a really good people person,” says Lowery.
His other two employees, Steve (who has been there 8 years) and Greg (who has been there a little over a year), are also connected to the Lowery family. “Both of them went to school with my son,” said Lowery. “Steve has experience working with homebuilders. Greg, who learns really quickly, helps out in the lumberyard and has also starting helping out inside the store.”
For Lowery, having that close connection with employees and customers is important. “When people you work with are family (or near-family), it makes it so much easier to come to work every day,” says Lowery. “Also, a lot of people like to deal with a family business where they know customers by name.”
Lowery says when he was newly married, had a son, and needed a job–he didn’t see himself in the retail industry–but 37 years later, the people he works with and the customers of Madisonville and surrounding areas are what has kept him at Vick Lumber for so long.
“I meet a lot of great people, and I like being able to help people,” said Lowery. “I also enjoy the variety – every day is different.”
Whether a commercial homebuilder or an individual do-it-yourself type of customer, the main store has a wide selection of tools and supplies in the hardware department and the home improvement/building area. Basic home improvement or building supplies such as sheetrock and bagged concrete are available.
For bigger jobs, DeWalt power tools can be found along shelves, along with power nail guns and accessories and an extensive plumbing category. Electrical needs may also be met with wire needed to complete a home and breaker boxes.
“I feel we have a good selection of products, and if a customer brings a list, in we can compete with the big lumberyards,” said Lowery.
There is even an expansive paint center. The paint center is stocked with Benjamin Moore paints in many different colors and finishes.
“Our employees are always available to help and answer questions about paint or anything else our customers need,” said Lowery. “If they have questions, we try to be there to answer them.”
Sprawled out over about an acre is the covered lumber yard stocked with yellow pine, fir, treated lumber, and plywood of all kinds. Cedar planks and birch plywood can also be purchased.
Lowery says it is important to him that Vick Lumber can provide needed materials for his community. Currently, his customers are a mix of homebuilding contractors, individual homeowners, and businesses. This includes local schools, governments, and churches.
“During this COVID pandemic, some materials were and still are hard to get, but we just shop around until we find them for the customer,” said Lowery. “Electrical and plumbing, especially PVC pipe, are the hardest to find right now.” However, as manufacturing plants reopen, Lowery says things are starting to get back to normal.
Vicks Lumber also offers delivery service. Lowery says while they try to keep deliveries within a 20-25 mile radius, they have delivered as far as 75-80 miles away, and their materials can be found in locations such as Midway, Huntsville, and even the Madisonville mushroom plant nearby. Another example of the family’s commitment to customer service is shown when talking about their delivery service. Lowery explains that they will bring smaller delivery loads to avoid materials sitting out in the weather, whereas big chain stores will bring all the supplies they can in one load – leaving the materials vulnerable to extreme weather and deterioration if not kept under cover.
Potential customers may also go online to vicklumber.com and fill out a free estimate quote for purchases.
Lowery says he enjoys living the small-town life and feels the community has been good to him, so he makes sure to try and give back. “We try our best to be fair, keep prices competitive, and help people out,” said Lowery.
“We are a friendly, hometown business that tries to make sure we have quality products, affordable prices, and we are always ready to help.”
206 W Magnolia St
Madisonville, TX 77864
Phone: (903) 348-3522