ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Changes are in the air for Hillsboro’s Cooperative Grain and Supply and The Lumberyard.
The CG&S tire and service store, located north of the lumberyard, is downsizing and moving part of that operation to the Hillsboro Industrial Park east of town.
The Lumberyard is planning to expand and has purchased the large CG&S building and the bull-pen lot to the south-a fenced, open area that connects the two properties.
“My father and I had been talking about it for years,” said Jon Hefley, president and manager of The Lumberyard. “We thought, if it ever came up, it would be a very good location for us to acquire because it ties in with us very well.”
About mid-May, Hefley learned there might be an opportunity to purchase the property, and he approached Lyman Adams, general manager of CG&S.
“I went over and spoke to him, and he and I started dealing,” Hefley said.
“We haven’t really decided what we’re doing over there yet. I know we want to paint it, clean it up and move our rental equipment there. After that, we’re not sure. We’re looking at other options.”
The Lumberyard takes possession of the building July 1, and mid- to late July has been set as a target date to open the new facility.
The CG&S building is actually two connected buildings-one stretching east and west, and the other extending north and south.
“Between the two buildings, we’ll have roughly 6,300 square feet there,” Hefley said.
“One building is 50-by-70 feet, and the other is 32-by-90 feet.” The purchased property also includes the bullpen area used for storage. The bullpen will be used to store large equipment, such as trailers, an excavator, a bull dozer and lifts.
“All the rental equipment will be moved, and we’re planning on moving a few other things-shifting some stuff around-and just getting more room,” Hefley said.
“We’re still looking at a few options there. We’ll be adding some new lines, new products and other services, too.”
A building across Ash Street currently houses the rental-equipment operation. It’s not unusual to see employees walking back and forth across Ash to get the rental equipment out in the morning and then bring it all back in at closing time.
After the rental equipment is moved into the new building, the building across from the lumberyard will be cleaned and reorganized.
“We’ll turn that into storage for extra paint that we were storing in our paint room,” Hefley said.
“That will keep it organized better. We’ll move the paint room back a little bit here and move all the extra paint over there. That way, we can gain a little more showroom in this building.”
Signs have been ordered for the former CG&S building, the blue exterior paint will be replaced with a new color, and the concrete floor inside will be cleaned and painted.
“We’ll repaint the walls and organize our tools and other equipment in the back-in the shop area,” Hefley said.
“Hopefully, in a month or so, we should have it up and going full time there. We’ve already hired two people, and we might need another person over there, too.”
One of the services offered at the CG&S store-propane refilling and kerosene-will still be available when the Hefleys expand into their new location.
“We’re taking over that portion so people will still have a place to go to get those filled,” Hefley said.
Hours of operation will be the same as the lumberyard-7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday.
“We’ll have an open house down the road, once we get organized,” Hefley said. “Our suppliers want to come in, help us out, do demonstrations and things like that.”
Hefley said he was looking forward to the addition of a show room for rental equipment.
“I think it will help out a lot because customers will have a set store to go to with somebody there all the time,” he said.
“And I think it will be fantastic because now they’ll have a place where they can walk in and see the actual tools that nobody has seen. They’ll be on display now out front, where you’ll be able to walk in and look at them.”
Just as Hefley and his late father talked about expanding, Adams said the possibility of downsizing and selling the tire store had been discussed at CG&S.
“We’ve talked about it for several years, because it’s been a business we’ve struggled with,” Adams said.
“Working with management, the board has been contemplating what to do for the last three or four years. The service-station business has changed over the years. Tires are lasting longer, and oil changes are going longer. The business is an area that we felt had changed drastically, and we decided that it was not a business that we wanted to focus on in the future.”
As a full-service station, the store sold tires, batteries and accessories and offered service work on vehicles.
About two decades ago, CG&S operated a hardware store in the building on Ash Street. Tom and Ken Koslowsky eventually purchased the hardware business and leased the building from 1985 to 1987 before moving to their current Hillsboro True Value Hardware location on Main Street.
When the Koslowskys moved the hardware store out, the facility evolved from a warehouse and tire-repair shop to its current operation. Products and services have included tires, batteries, oil and lube, steel products, twine and propane.
By July 1, equipment will be moved to the CG&S shop area at the Industrial Park.
“We will still be able to service some vehicles by appointment only, and we will be able to sell some tires,” Adams said. “We’re downsizing what we had before and just trying to be more efficient. But we won’t be a full-fledged service station as such.”
Employee Matt Hines will follow the move to the Industrial Park location.
“He’s been our main person there at the station,” Adams said. “He’ll be the one person we’ll have out there” at the Industrial Park.
Customers needing bulk fuel can call the CG&S general office on Main Street to place an order.
“Our bulk-fuel plant is still out at the Industrial Park,” Adams said. “So just the ordering place will change.”
Adams said he felt the sale was a win-win situation for CG&S and The Lumberyard.
“They needed more space, and we were able to consolidate our operations out there where we can better utilize the help situation,” Adams said.
“We’ve worked with The Lumberyard over the years with various equipment and helped each other out. They’re good neighbors.”