In 1953, Clifton “Skip” Hammond borrowed $50 from his wife, Verna, bought a saw mill and started a lumber business in Belgrade, Maine.
Total number of employees, including himself: three.
In the years since, Hammond Lumber Company has grown into one of Maine’s largest independent building suppliers. In addition to the ever expanding sawmill, there are now twelve retail stores around the state and also Hammond’s Maine Pine Log Homes division, which manufactures and markets log-home building packages.
Total number of employees today: 440.
Skip Hammond’s philosophy from the start was to saw straight, talk straight, and do more for his customer than the guy down the road would do. Son Donald, who started the retail stores in the late ‘60s, and grandson Michael, who has added highly successful product lines such as ShoreMaster Docks and spearheaded the company’s recent expansion, have followed suit.
Skip, who always preferred riding a bucket loader to riding a desk, stepped aside as company president a few years ago, handing the title over to Donald, who in turn handed the vice-presidency over to Mike. Skip still routinely visits the Belgrade store to share stories with the staff while his wife, Verna, is also a regular presence.
The start of retail…
Donald Hammond opened the first retail store, next to the sawmill in Belgrade, in 1967, when he was just out of high school. Skowhegan was added in 1975 followed by Farmington in 1983, Auburn in ‘89, Greenville in ‘91 and Fairfield in ’97. Mike spearheaded the purchase of the Bangor Store from Wickes Lumber in ’02, the construction of Portland in ’08, the purchase of Brunswick from Downeast Energy in 2010, and the purchase of Boothbay, Damariscotta and Pemaquid from New England Building Materials in 2011. Maine Pine Log Homes was launched in 1987.
“We’ve been really lucky to have so many good people work with us along the way,” says Donald Hammond, “and so many who have stayed with us for a long time. That solid core of stability and experience has allowed us to keep expanding our products, services and stores.”
Companywide, there are over 120 people who have worked for Hammond Lumber for more than ten years. More than 40 have been with the company 20 years, and almost 20 have been with Hammond for more than 30 years. Others now working for the company, especially in the newer Hammond stores, have many years of prior experience in the industry.