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Life's a picnic: Northwoods Lumber holds grand reopening

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Not only is Northwoods Lumber of Blackduck and Bemidji celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, but it has also celebrating new ownership.

Daryl and Lori Lundberg celebrated their new purchase with a grand re-opening picnic on Thursday, Sept 5 at the Blackduck Northwoods Lumber location to thank their loyal customers and vendors and embrace decades of ongoing community support.

"The community has been very supportive of the change in ownership," Daryl said. "They've always been very supportive overall."

Daryl and Lori purchased Northwoods Lumber from Daryl's father, Leonard, in March. Leonard Lundberg and his wife, Georgia have owned the lumberyard in Blackduck since 1973 -- when the business was formerly known as Northland Builders' Supply. It was changed in the fall of 1973 to Northwoods Lumber.

The lumberyard picnic was hard to miss Thursday where a large tent was assembled just outside the front entryway of the hardware store. Long tables sat nearby holding an array of summer food: Hot dogs, brats, potato chips, baked beans and cupcakes.

"We do our best to support the community whenever we can," Lori said. "All of the food came from Charlie (Anderson) at Blackduck Family Foods and because we just finished a project with Lueken's, the cupcakes are from them."

And in return, the Lundbergs saw many friends, customers, vendors and contractors pass through Northwoods' front gate to join the celebrations.

"It was valuable," Don Peterson of JD Construction said of the picnic. "We just ran into our best customers and had lunch with them. They're looking to do more things, so we were able to talk about that. Events like these provide an informal setting for those conversations."

Peterson's business partner, Jim Krabbenhoft agreed. The two, along with Krabbenhoft's son, Lucas, came out to show their support for Daryl and Lori and to pick up a few supplies along the way.

"We've always bought lumber from the Lundbergs -- either Leonard and Georgia or Daryl and Lori," Krabbenhoft said. "You can't beat the service and the quality. There are things you can get here that you can't get anywhere else."

Since the local Hardware Hank store in Blackduck closed, the Lundbergs have expanded their hardware section in order to absorb the leftover hardware business.

"We continually strive to have enough to grow our products in both hardware and lumber," Lori said. "We can't stock everything, but we hope to fill the needs of the people who who come here instead of having to run to Bemidji."

The Northwoods Lumber Bemidji location does have hardware supplies too, the Lundbergs said. However, its selection is minimal compared to what has been stocked in Blackduck.

"The Bemidji store is more of a lumberyard," Lori clarified.

Daryl Lundberg is a graduate of Bemidji State University and, when his bachelor's degree was completed, joined his parents at Northwoods and has been there ever since. He met Lori in 2000 and they married in 2001. After their marriage, Lori joined Northwoods in 2002 and does most of her work at the Blackduck location while her husband splits his time between there and Bemidji.

In many ways, not much has changed besides their title.

"Its awfully nice to know who you're going to deal with everyday at the store rather than some college kid at a big box store," Peterson said. "Five miles beats 25 miles every time when it comes to going for supplies and needing things."

For contractors like Peterson and Krabbenhoft, the Blackduck store also offers the ability to bring their clients to the lumberyard to see the materials in person.

"We've had customers come in and we'll meet them at the lumberyard on a Saturday afternoon with Daryl and go over the products," Krabbenhoft said. "They can touch and feel the products we are proposing and, if we need to, go into the meeting room upstairs and lay out the plans and talk about things."

"There's great value in having a local business like that," he added.

The picnic on Thursday gave Lori and Daryl the opportunity to show their vendors and customers that, despite the change in ownership, not much else will be changing.

"Our goal is to keep maintaining," Lori said. "The community has been very supportive of us. The input we got (at the picnic) was that they appreciate that we're still here."

The vendors in attendance supplied the various door prizes and goody bags that were given out to picnic attendees. They also went a step further and served the food.

"We're here to show support to the lumberyard for all the years of service they've committed to us," Guardian Building Products vendor Vern Mattheisen said.

"We just feel that its good to support them in this change of venue with Daryl and Lori taking over," Manion Lumber and Trust vendor Gary Handlos added. "They're a huge part of our business."

That business is not taken for granted by either Daryl or Lori.

"We've forged some strong alliances over the years," Daryl said. "We appreciate our loyal customers and without them, we wouldn't be here."