When Portage Lumber Co. opened on August 17, 1953, advertisements told customers to either call 829-R or go to the old Firari building for help with their construction needs. The full-time staff of two provided free estimates and free delivery service. If they weren’t in the store to serve customers, customers could buy their items, make change and pay bills in an old cigar box.
“In those days, it made for long, long weeks,” co-owner Dennis Dorn said. “They sold it, loaded it, delivered it…,” his brother and co-owner Ron Dorn said. “There was no one else to delegate the task to.” Ron said a policeman stopped their father Ray, who managed the business, late one evening in 1954, believing that the elder Dorn was driving a truck filled with stolen lumber. Ray responded that he was just making a delivery, and the officer let him go on his way. “His day hadn’t ended yet,” Ron said.
Sixty years later, the company may now have a payroll of 35, be roughly 25,000 sq. ft. larger, and offer services such as a rental center and a Home Décor showroom, but the brothers, who became the main owners of the business in 1988 after beginning their careers there in 1971, hope that their commitment to service Portage and the surrounding area remains clear. “We don’t want to force people out of the marketplace because they want products that aren’t available here,” Dennis said. “We’re now open 360 days a year, most days (Portage Lumber) is open from 7am to 7pm.”
Portage Lumber recently celebrated it’s 60th anniversary as well as a store remodel with the intention to not only add some new items to the product mix, but also to make the store and items more easily accessible to their customers.
With a fully stocked rental center that provides equipment for the Do it Yourselfer to the professional and a Home Décor design showroom, both open 7 days a week, along with a delivery fleet including a boom truck as well as a full Pro Sales staff, Portage Lumber is here to help you with any project from start to finish. Our sales staff of over 300 years combined experience in the building trades industry is on hand to help advise you to the best products and techniques for your needs.
Dennis and Ron Dorn have always been grateful for the community support and continue to try and give back to the community not only as a dependable locally owned home center, but also as a support to a growing future for Portage and the surrounding areas. Portage Lumber has teamed up with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to help raise funds for their organization, as well as a number of other local organizations, such as the Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotary Club, Lions Club, and many more.
We pride ourselves in offering the best possible service along with high quality products to meet the needs of all of our customers. Give us a call or stop on in and check out everything we have to offer when it comes to your home improvement needs.