A Tale of Two Pro Dealers
ProBuild Holdings was the last of the national pro dealers to continue expansion and acquisition through the early stages of the subprime fallout and even the recession. The company remained outwardly optimistic and clearly placed its money where its attitude was.
Lately things haven’t appeared to be so rosy for the Denver based company. Recent news featured the departure of several key executives including former President, CEO and once long time 84 Lumber wunderkind Bill Myrick. In fact Myrick’s 2007 move to ProBuild from his longtime home at 84 was seen by many as a prominent indication of ProBuild’s strength despite the then troublesome signs the economy was displaying. At the same time the move was also seen as a rebuke against a somewhat sagging and shrinking empire that 84 Lumber was approaching.
Lately 84 has begun to re-enter a few select locations it had briefly and reluctantly deserted a short time ago. The company shows signs of growth and has previewed a more DIY friendly prototype which is a considerable departure from 84 locations of the past.
Now Probuild just announced the closings or consolidations of 12 of its locations across the country. These affect a range of markets stretching from South Carolina to Virginia, New Jersey to Illinois, Colorado to Washington state. These moves are to be completed by mid-November.
Additionally, less than a month earlier ProBuild announced its departure from the Chicago market, where it waged an infamous and bitter battle with labor union members a year ago. The company plans to close its Yorkville and Westmont, Ill., facilities by Dec. 16.
Ironically in June of this year, ProBuild which a few years ago replaced 84 Lumber as the nation’s number one pro dealer, decided to take on 84 Lumber in its home territory by opening a store in Western Pennsylvania and other areas near the 84 company headquarters. Here ProBuild, was led by former 84 Lumber executive Myrick. Myrick moved to ProBuild in February 2007 as Senior VP Strategic Initiatives. He was promoted to COO in June 2008 and replaced hall of famer Paul Hylberrt as CEO in April 2010.
Perhaps as the original move from 84 Lumber to ProBuild by Myrick was seen as a sign of the rise of ProBuild and the simultaneous decline in the fortunes of 84, his abrupt departure from ProBuild after leading a challenge to his former employer in its own backyard can be viewed as a reversal of fortunes for two pro dealer giants.