I know a guy named Joe and I was planning to write a classified ad for him.
However, before I do, I have to tell you about a small company in West
Joe Hall has lived the American dream in Olton, Texas. He went to work at
Jeffrey Lumber Co. in 1951 right out of high school, and ended up buying the
company in the mid-1970s. Now, at the age of 76, he is looking to pass that
business on to someone else with an American dream.
As president of Hall Lumber Co., Hall oversees a company that includes lumber,
hardware, ready mix concrete, along with contracting work for heating, air
conditioning, plumbing, and electrical.
Hall’s life story is not all that unusual for guys that grew up in the ’50s and
’60s. If you worked hard, learned a trade, and “kept your nose clean,” there
were opportunities to grow and prosper in a small town - especially in West
Texas about 35 miles from Lubbock. Hall learned the carpentry trade while
working at the lumberyard and left the company to start his own construction
firm in 1962. He continued to do business with the folks at Jeffrey Lumber
until 1976, when he and his brother learned that the owner was ready to retire.
They were able to get a Small Business Administration loan, and an American
dream was born. They renamed it Hall Lumber Co.
The contracting part of the business came about in the 1980s. Hall obtained his
air conditioning contractor license and also became a master electrician. Over
the years the air conditioning business has grown nicely. Hall said, “16 SEER
a/c units are our bread and butter.” He could put in just about any brand of
equipment, but he installs mostly Rheem equipment. I asked him why, and he had
to think about it for a minute, and then simply said, “I guess it’s because of
the service I get from my distributor, Airco Inc.”
Tim Guilliams, president of Airco Inc., has been working with Hall Lumber since
the early ’80s and from his perspective, “Hall Lumber is a rewarding business
because of the interaction with the community, and the ability to provide
services that are not available within a 50 mile radius.”
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
Hall and his wife/co-worker Betty talk about the people that
work at the company like they are family. Orillia Aldape is the manager of the
lumberyard and according to Hall, “When she tells me to jump, I say how high.”
Hall’s partner Ronnie Digby does “anything and everything.” He’s a cabinet
builder, is certified to handle refrigerant, and does most of the a/c service
work. Then there is their bookkeeper, Sanny Jimenez, and Constansio Rosales who
has been with Hall for over 30 years. Rosales takes care of all the equipment
including the cement trucks and the back hoe.
When asked what made his business unique, Hall simply said, “It’s still there.”
Upon further probing, Hall shared that Olton is a special place where there is
a lot of pride in the community. “We keep the city clean and neat, and it’s
just a good place to live and raise a family.”
Running a business in Olton is different. It’s the perfect fit for an
All-American Joe. Hall knows there is another American dreamer out there, but
he also doesn’t hesitate to offer some worldly advice to the next owner,
because, you see, Hall knows just about everybody that comes into Hall Lumber.
“You just don’t turn your back and walk away from a customer,” said Hall, “It
may take 20 minutes to make a $5 sale and that’s just part of
Joe Hall has lived the American dream, but he said, “It’s time to slow down, and
that’s all there is to it.”
So, there is the story of a small business, in a small town.
The HVAC industry has provided a lot of opportunities for a lot of people to
fulfill their dreams. Have you thought about owning a small business of your
own? Have you dreamed about raising your family in a small town where everybody
sticks together? Joe Hall found his answer in a lumber company in a small town
in West Texas.
It’s nice to meet dreamers in this business. Any more out there?
All-American Joe to continue building the American
Dream. Call 806-285-2393.