Art Lindsey, a leader in the Cedaredge business community for over 45 years, has decided to retire. He has sold Big John's Lumber Company Inc. to Monty and Sally Lutzker of Park City, Utah, who will make just a slight change in the name, to Big John's Ace LLC.
The rest of the operation will remain essentially unchanged, including the longtime employees who have worked alongside Art for many years.
Big John's is one of the few remaining locally owned independent lumber yards in Delta, Montrose or Mesa counties. It's one of the oldest businesses in the Surface Creek Valley, having occupied the corner at 200 SW 2nd Street in Cedaredge for over 100 years.
Big John's truly fills a niche. "Our customers appreciate the fact they don't have to drive someplace else to make their purchases," Art said.
The lumberyard has been owned by the Lindsey family since 1968, when Art discovered the opportunity of a lifetime while working as a traveling salesman for the Macklanburg-Duncan Co., a building supply company. But he didn't start out in the lumber business. After serving in the Army Air Corps, he attended Peru State College and earned a teaching degree. He was a teacher and basketball coach in Johnson, Neb., then became a school superintendent after completing his master's degree at the University of Northern Colorado. While working on his master's degree during the summer months, Art met Earl Smith, a traveling sales representative for Macklanburg-Duncan. Smith recommended Art to his company, and for the next 15 or so years Art traveled Iowa, Illinois and Colorado selling building products. He was the first sales representative to produce $250,000, $500,000, $750,000 and finally $1,000,000 in sales.
When Art purchased Cedaredge Lumber Company from Josie Brewer in 1968, the lumberyard employed three people and a part-timer and was doing $180,000 annually. Art took the best ideas from the lumberyards he'd called on and implemented them in Cedaredge. He also recruited strong managers, including Bob Frost (a former partner), Cliff Davis, Bill Bryson, Jim Nelson and Bill Holt to oversee the business. Susan Kunkel, who is currently serving as manager, has been with Big John's for over 32 years.
As Art's son John began to take an active role in the business, they built a small truss plant in 1979 and opened a home center in Glenwood Springs in 1989.
The store in Glenwood Springs closed, but Big John's in Cedaredge continues to meet the needs of the community with a wide variety of products, from lumber and paint, to tools and hardware.
Art says it was his mother who taught him how to make money. "I hope I have been able to pass this on to Pamela, my daughter, and John, my son," he said. Looking back on his humble beginnings, he feels good about where he started and where he is finishing. "God has allowed me to have and share a great life," he said.
In addition to his two wonderful children, who live in Denver and Phoenix, John has four grandchildren. He plans to remain in Cedaredge for the time being, but may eventually move closer to either his son or his daughter.blog comments powered by Disqus