Brown Lumber brings home the Gold

Andy and Andrew Brown have worked hard to make sure their business, Brown Lumber, serves customers well and contributes to the Columbiana community.

At the 2009 Retail Day luncheon Sept. 29, they were rewarded for that determination with the Gold Retailer of the Year Award, given by the Alabama Retail Association. Brown Lumber won the award in the “Annual Sales More than $5 Million” category.

Andrew Brown said the company is honored to have received the award.

“It was a real surprise, and we’re very flattered,” he said. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into this.”

Brown Lumber, which Andrew B. Brown Jr. began as a sawmill operation in 1950, now occupies 10 acres and is affiliated with the Ace Hardware chain of stores.

Andrew Brown said although the housing market downturn has been a struggle for the company, Brown Lumber’s retail showroom has helped keep sales high. Retail sales account for about 30 percent of the company’s sales.

“It’s one of those things that everybody else is going through, and it’s just one of those things where you just get up every day and go do it,” he said.

Community participation is essential for the company’s survival, Andrew Brown said.

“It’s probably the most important thing. I would say that just goes back to building a better relationship with your customers,” he said. “The more you help them out, the more it helps you out.”

The Browns have also used technology to weather the economy, creating an e-showroom and sending out a monthly e-mail newsletter.

Stacy Walkup, executive director of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, nominated the Browns for the Gold Award.