Mead Lumber was founded in 1910 by Morton B. Mead in Ashland, Nebraska. During the early 1930’s his three sons Lyman, Emerson, and Wilbur were working at the lumber company. During the depression, Mead Lumber let farmers buy materials in exchange for corn. Mead stored the corn and sold it after President Roosevelt put a floor under the price of corn. The money from the grain sale made it possible to buy the Columbus yard, which is just one of the expansions Mead Lumber has made and is the site where our corporate office is now located, along with a retail yard. Lyman’s son Robert started his lumber career with Mead in 1964, becoming President of Mead Lumber in 1987, and today Bob continues to serve as our Chairman of the Board. Bob and Gail Mead’s daughters Kate and Anne provide Mead fourth generation leadership serving on our Board of Directors, and Kate also being Mead Lumber’s credit manager. Mead Lumber's sustainability and growth over the past one hundred years has been based on the Mead family’s leadership, commitment to their associates and suppliers, and in providing quality service and products to each store's community and surrounding area.
John Knecht established his first lumber store in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1928. The first Knecht delivery truck was a 1925 Ford. In 1931, John Knecht bought his first load of Masonite sold west of the Missouri River, marking the beginning chapter of Knecht Home Center’s journey to become who we are today. John’s sons Clem, Don, Ben, and Bob all worked for the company, as did other family members and associates- all who were progressive and instrumental in setting the foundation for whom we are today. Knecht was purchased by Peter Van Wingerden in 1986. After many advancements and expansions in 2000, Mead Lumber purchased the Knecht and Ace Hardware stores in Rapid City, Spearfish, and Gillette. Since that time, Mead/Knecht has added locations at Billings, Canon City, Pierre and Sheridan.
Before purchasing Knecht, Mead Lumber had already grown to 15 stores, and now the Mead/Knecht family has 42 lumberyards, hardware stores and millwork and truss facilities in 7 Midwestern states. Today, the Mead/Knecht family of stores includes: Mead Lumber, Knecht Home Centers, Thomae Lumber and Truss, Black Hills Truss, Great Plains Countertop and Ace Hardware’s in Canon City, Sheridan, and Rapid City. In addition to our ownership, we have over 750 associates who are committed to making Mead Lumber and Knecht Home Center our customer’s first choice for lumber, building materials, hardware, and trusses.
The key to our success is our associates, many of whom have made Mead and Knecht their workplace for life. Almost two dozen associates have more than 30 years of service with our company. The culture of our company, combined with our commitment to providing a safe yet fast paced work environment, solid growth opportunities, attractive compensation and fringe benefits, has created an outstanding work force that is very loyal and hardworking.