Kim Badcock of Beavertooth Oak. Jim Craven 5/16/2008 - Jim Craven

Weathering recessions to stay on top

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

Kim Badcock: We're a wholesaler of hardwood lumber, plywood, wood flooring and hardware. Basically, we sell to the cabinet shop businesses, a little bit to installers and some retail, too. We started in 1981 and we have 45,000 square feet here, 21,000 square feet in Auburn, Calif., and 18,000 square feet in Redding, Calif.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley?

We were both born here and moved back from Portland in 1981.

What inspired you to go into this line of work?

We were lumber traders, sitting behind a desk on a telephone. We decided we wanted to look at the hardwood lumber business. At that point we were living in Portland and this was a good place to start, because we already had friends and relatives in this area. We started in the middle of the worst housing recession that ever existed in 1981, high interest rates and no housing starts.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

If I knew what I knew now. I probably would've tried to get bigger sooner, but we had to learn the business. All of a sudden I wanted to be a lumber salesman. We had experience and knew where to buy things, but we had no idea what local sales were like. We could have grown faster, but every year we've grown — even last year.

What's the toughest business decision you've made?

Probably buying real estate. That involved buying our first building here in Medford. Mike and I had experience in California. We first opened a store down there in Newcastle in the mid-1980s and then moved it to Auburn. We had a lady — Lucille Hussman — down there we had done business with. We hired her to be a manager and it then it grew. Our Redding store came in the late 1980s.

Who are your competitors?

Everybody. Lumber Products, a Portland chain that has a store in Medford, and Hardwood Industries (of Sherwood) are two. Our advantage is quality of product, service and our basic knowledge of the industry.

What are your goals?

I don't know about expansion to other stores, that's an item that presents itself when it happens. We start doing a lot of business in an area and then look to put in a store. Our service goes from Sutherlin and Coos Bay, all the way down beyond Eureka on the coast, down the Interstate 5 corridor to Sacramento and east into the Reno-Tahoe area. Our latest expansion is to the coast; we have always gone to Brookings, but we've expanded into Bandon and Coos Bay. We've always done business in Roseburg. Right now we're going to continue to be in business, hunker down a little bit and be there when the next expansion starts.

What training or education did you need?

I have a degree in marketing from Southern Oregon (University) and Michael was in the military. We were at North Pacific Lumber, a brokerage in Portland in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, it was one of the largest commodity brokerages in the United States. From the start here, we paid a lot of attention to what the customers wanted. If somebody needed something, we made sure we got it there. If we needed to deliver it on a weekend, we would.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Live within your means. Just because you make plenty of money this year, don't expect it will always be that way. Learn to save enough money for next year. Pay your suppliers first and make sure you pay all your other bills before you pay yourself.

To suggest an idea for this column, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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