Kellogg – Few businesses in the Silver Valley can trace their history to the turn of the 20th century, but the Kellogg Lumber Company can. “We can trace back a lumber company here for more than a hundred years,” said Steve Bristow, the owner of Kellogg Lumber. “We have property deeds, part of the property we own now that’s out back, that has Noah Kellogg’s signature on it.”
But while the company dates back to the turn of the 20th century, it wasn’t until the early 1950s that Bristow’s family became involved with Kellogg Lumber.
According to a 1971 edition of the Kellogg Evening News, Bristow’s grandfather, Daniel Fultz, first became involved with the lumber company on Jan 1, 1951, as a bookkeeper to help organize the business’s accounts. Fultz began as a part-time employee for the lumber company while maintaining an accounting position at the Bunker Hill Mine. But it wasn’t long before owners G.G. Reese and Pat Flannigan made Fultz a full-time offer and began transitioning him into an ownership role. Fultz assumed ownership of the company in the early 1960s, in the wake of a devastating 1955 fire that left nothing but the building’s vault standing.
Following the fire, the company rebuilt and expanded, adding new buildings for covered storage and outbuildings for a spur line that delivered lumber from trains when the railroad was running.
Fultz ran the business and updated the facilities until passing ownership to Steve’s father, Ronald L. Bristow, in 1989.
Like Fultz, Ronald kept the company viable through the 20th century, surviving one of the biggest hits to the Silver Valley’s economy in 1991 with the closing of the Bunker Hill Mine.
“It seemed like half the town boarded up. People went into panic mode,” Steve said of Bunker Hill’s bankruptcy and closure. “There’s only a handful of businesses that didn’t give up and throw in the towel. And they’re still here today. And those are the same deal, they’re multigenerational businesses. “Even though society is changing, there are still people who were coming here 25 years ago that still come in. The beauty here is the majority of the people here, you know them well and can engage them. It’s a different relationship; they’re not just customers, you see them at church, you see them at the grocery store, the post office. You know people.”
Steve first took control of Kellogg Lumber in 2000 after Ronald was diagnosed with cancer. After battling the cancer for six years, Ronald passed away in 2006, After his father’s death, Steve and his wife, Teirza, officially became the owners of Kellogg Lumber in late 2007. In his time running the business, he has kept to the business standards and ideas set by the two previous generations.
Rather than trying to draw in new business with gimmicks and ploys, Kellogg Lumber simply focuses on helping the people who come through the door, providing great service that will keep them coming back, as so many have for the past 60 years.
But that’s not to say that Steve hasn’t taken steps to keep Kellogg Lumber moving forward. He used the relationships built over the years with community businesses such as Bekel, Cozmo and ER Seagraves Construction, Ken Nelson Contracting and GM Electric to help with the remodeling of Kellogg Lumber’s building from the fall of 2012 to spring 2013.
And in 2011 , Kellogg Lumber was awarded PRO Hardware’s Retailer of the Year award for the entire Northwest region.
New projects also keep Kellogg Lumber’s clientele returning.
Steve says there is always something going on in the Silver Valley, whether it’s Silver Mountain Resort Building and making renovations, new apartment complexes, the building of a new bank building, or simply the remodeling of a house –Kellogg Lumber has been there.
Looking to the future of Kellogg Lumber, Steve said there is always the possibility of further expansion, such as building new facilities to keep inventory protected from the harsh winter weather. And while everything is really dictated by the economy, should the chance to build for the future present itself, Kellogg Lumber will take advantage.
“When the opportunity is there you take it,” Steve said. “When the wave is high, you surf.”