When Steel Wood Supply was in the process of closing last winter, Zach Felt was making plans for his future. He had thought of buying the store with a manager, but that fell through.
Felt, undeterred, adjusted his plan and opened his own business in July: LumBros. Building Solutions.
LumBros. is a building-material sales store. Felt offers window, siding, deck and other options; providing "everything from entry-level stuff to high-end building materials," he said. He does not do labor himself, but he can refer people who will and he works with any contractor.
"This has always been a dream of mine. I mow lawns and listen to building material podcasts," Felt said, laughing.
Felt has been working in the lumber sales industry for the past 16 years, working his way from the bottom to top. Most of that time was spent locally, as he was born and raised in Detroit Lakes and stayed here. His family has been in the Minnesotan lumber business since 1895, starting with a sawmill.
This experience showed Felt things he did and did not want to do with LumBros., both with his products and his own actions.
Felt offers A-grade lumber, aiming to provide the "best lumber in town at the best prices," he said. When projects are completed, Felt said his final price for customers is usually under the preliminary budget he gives them. One of his goals is to have clear communication with contractors and homeowners, as he believes that then the contractor will earn more money as the homeowner saves more.
Felt's dream started because it was his personal goal, but also because he had support and strength from his wife.
"My wife just encouraged," Felt said. "We have three kids under 5 and ... she is amazing. I would really just like to thank her."
The family aspect is the reason that Felt named his business LumBros. He purposefully combined "lumber" and "brothers."
For Felt's employee, Adam Edwards, the name and family are just as important. Edwards is from England but moved to Detroit Lakes to be closer to his wife's family in Crookston. He and Felt are good friends, working together at Steel Wood Supply before Lumbros. They have a photo in their office building of both of their families together.
Since it's just Felt and Edwards right now, Felt is hoping to add a forklift delivery driver by spring. He said he "plans to kind of hunker down through our first winter," but wants to continue growing LumBros., adding a "very fun, diverse, friendly crew."
"We just want to make this a fun, healthy place for families to make a career out of," Felt said. "But we wouldn't mind things taking off and the Vikings playing in the Lumbros stadium."
Location: 25130 County Highway 22, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Website: Coming soon