French’s turns to Lumberzacs
Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:22am admin
Hardin lumberyard gains new owner following Conrad Yerger’s retirement
By Andrew Turck, Big Horn County News
Eight and a half years after what Conrad Yerger expected to be a five-year purchase, the French’s Building Materials store in Hardin has a new owner and name, but is not necessarily under new management.
Owner Zac Kruger of Lodge Grass served as the store’s general manager and has six and a half years’ experience as an employee. According to Yerger, “he can run the business every bit as well as me, or better.”
Though the name “French’s” still adorns the top of the store, Kruger has business cards and shirts with its new title: Lumberzacs. Kruger, Yerger, and their wives were in negotiations for about a year prior to the purchase. The store was profitable, Yerger said, but he was ready to sell.
“This is the year Conrad wanted to get out of it,” Kruger said, “so he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Customer service and hard work are two values stressed by Kruger, whose career has spanned the ranch along with store management. Lumberzacs is a bit sparse at the moment, as he moves in, but Kruger intends to fill the walls with “full, national-brand hardware.”
“I’m stocking Heartland pallets, I’m stocking ice melt, and more doors and windows than we ever did before,” Kruger said. “I want it to be a full retail hardware store, along with the lumberyard.”
Current challenges faced by Kruger are filling out paperwork and finding help – the store just has two part-time workers at present. Yerger echoed the latter concern and added that, when he sold the store, he wanted someone local at the helm.
“If he wouldn’t have stayed, I would have closed her up the same day he left, because you just can’t find help,” Yerger said. “I’m glad I took the opportunity when I could and sold it.”
Kruger plans to hold a grand opening for Lumberzacs during the first weekend of May or June.
The store’s operating hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To reach the store by phone, call (406) 665-1402.