Lumber Direct has new owners

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Mike and Misty Stenger, left, and Lisa and Ray Fair recently purchased Lumber Direct, which, as they say, “is more than lumber.” The business is also a full-fledged hardware store to serve the community.

The biggest secret in Greencastle is out of the bag. Lumber Direct, 10 E. Walter Ave., is also a hardware store. New owners Mike and Misty Stenger, and Ray and Lisa Fair, bet the majority of the population doesn't know that. Ray Fair didn't know it either, when he and Truck Mounts Inc. business partner Mike Stenger were looking at the property.

Their goal, since taking possession Jan. 1, is to get the word out that retail customers will find what they need right in town, just as the commercial contractors do. The enterprise sells plumbing and electrical supplies, tools, paint, keys, seasonal items and other merchandise. The back end of the 40,000 square foot building houses the lumber materials. Another large building is to the rear on the seven acre property.

Former owner Ralph Michaels started Foremost Industries at the site, and later added the storefront. The employees will stay on under the Stengers and Fairs. Jake Leaper will continue as manager.

"This is Greencastle's big box store," said Misty Stenger.

The couples offer a convenience to local residents, who won't have to drive to other towns for purchases related to their homes. They welcome suggestions on what to carry or services to offer.

"We're local people trying to help local people," they said.

Lumber Direct has access to 600,000 items in warehouses within about 40 miles, so products can be restocked rapidly.

The four come from different work histories, and are anxious to put their skills together to guide the company to a visible spot in the community.

"We all have a lot of ideas and dreams," said Mike Stenger. "We're excited."

They plan to expand hours from the current 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. A website is in the works, as well as a Facebook page.

People may contact the store at contactlumberdirect@comcast.net or by calling 717-597-9928.

"It's a hidden gem," said Lisa Fair, and her husband added, "It's the best kept secret. We're willing to let the secret out."

A grand re-opening will be held in April.