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Specialization is Key to Success for Local Company

Photography Provided

You won’t find carpeting, tile, birdhouses or backyard grills at Hershy Lumber Yard. What you will find at this family-owned business is quality lumber and the hardware needed to finish that building project, without the distractions of other items such as lighting fixtures, gardening implements or plants.

In these days of superstores, the simple task of buying lumber for a project can become complex. There are multiple aisles filled with distractions, and a consumer is likely to spend more money and buy more products than they came for. That’s why Hershy Lumber Yard is a pleasant alternative, as the company’s focus is on lumber only. 

Owned by Samuel Herschberger and his son Delmar Herschberger, the store is located at the family home, utilizing a 28’x80’ building previously underused. The Herschbergers started the business in 2016, with help from their community. Samuel, a 40-year employee in the RV manufacturing industry, was considering retirement. He credits his son for coming up with the idea for the lumber company.

There was no place to get lumber in the Topeka area at the time, according to the Herschbergers. The closest supplier was in Shipshewana, about 11 miles away – not very convenient for many of the families, farmers and carpenters in this area of the state. 

According to Delmar, having a lumber yard in the community gives local contractors a place to buy necessary materials. The opportunity for customers to inspect each piece of cut wood makes Hershy different from hardware stores and big-box megastores. 

“I like to pick out my lumber myself,” Delmar says. “That way I can pick out what I want. There won’t be anything that I have to take back.”

Providiwng such hands-on service means a contractor can select the boards needed. They can make sure the board is straight, checking the grain and the edge for defects. They can also decide if the knotholes in the board will work for a project, or opt to choose a different board.

Hershy Lumber Yard stocks many board sizes, from 2”x4” up to 2”x12”. The company also has nails, metal and decking screws, washer heads, and GRK fasteners, among other types. They also have cement blocks, ready-mix cement and mortar, field tile and framing materials for barn doors. 

GrenHeat Bricks are also part of the inventory, and are part of their summer sale. These pressed wood bricks are used in fireplaces and wood stoves. The bricks are made from recycled hardwoods and contain no additives or binders. They burn slower than hardwood and generate less smoke, ash and creosote.

The company is now offering delivery for a nominal fee.

The company’s typical customer comes from the local area. Hershy doesn’t have large contractors buying supplies, but that hasn’t deterred the growth of the business.

Word of mouth has proven to be effective for Hershy Lumber Yard according to Delmar, and local support from customers keeps the business successful.

“Farmers still need wood to repair their buildings,” he says. 

The Herschbergers are thankful that the business community is also supportive of their home-grown company. Hardware stores in Shipshewana, for example, are sending customers their way. 

“They are glad we started this,” Samuel says. “We would like to build on, with the business growing like it is.”

If expansion occurs, Delmar says it would likely double the existing footprint of the company. 

Samuel is 69 years old and is still active in the business. Delmar said he appreciates his father being onsite to act as a mentor, and help drive the business. Samuel enjoys being able to come and go as he wants in a boss capacity, and as Delmar still works at an RV factory, onsite staffing is provided by Samuel.

Samuel and his wife LeAnna are based in the local area. The couple raised six children, three boys and three girls. One of their sons was killed in 2012 in a car-and-bike accident. Samuel and LeAnna consider their son’s widow and her new husband as their own.

Delmar is 30. He and his wife Ruby have one child, a daughter. 

“I want our customers to know that we are here and can help them,” Samuel says. “If we don’t have it, we can try to get it for them.”

Hershy Lumber Yard is located at 6505 South 500 West in Topeka. For more information, call 260-593-0325.

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