The ownership of the Timber Mart in Beachburg changed from one local family to another on June 1. Here are the new owners, Matt and Carrie Gagne. Son Gavin is with Carrie and in the foreground, from left, are Chloe, Miles and Jacob. Marie Zettler – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

June 1 began not only a new month but also a new era for Beachburg’s only building supply store.

Now operating under the Timber Mart banner, the store, founded 55 years ago by the late Russell Lumax and continued by his family since then, saw its ownership transferred to another local family.

Matt and Carrie Gagne, who with their family of four are also residents of Beachburg, now own and operate the business at 9 Malcolm Street. Carrie grew up in the village, the daughter of Gail Robertson and building contractor John Vereyken. Matt, a Pembroke native, is a plumber and has now owned and operated Gagne Plumbing Ltd. for eight years. 

The store is a good fit as the next step in life for the ambitious young couple, both of whom are 33.

“We always talked about owning a store and said that if Lumax’s ever came up for sale we would like to buy it,” said Carrie. “With my dad being a contractor, I have always had carpentry in my life. And I already do the books for Matt’s plumbing business. Matt’s work is mainly on new homes and he has lots of ideas for jazzing up the plumbing department in the store.”

Carrie is a teacher and is just finishing up her most recent parental leave after giving birth to the couple’s youngest son, Gavin, a year ago. They also have a daughter, Chloe, age 8, and sons Miles, 5, and Jacob, 3.

“Instead of going back to teaching after my mat leave, I bought a hardware store,” she jokes. 

The store has been owned and operated by the founder’s son, Jim, and his wife, Marjorie, since the founder’s death in 1980. Their son, Wade, has been manager of day-to-day operations for the past 15 years and will continue to be employed in that role by the Gagnes. 

“I certainly have mixed feelings about the store changing hands after being in the family for three generations,” Wade said. “I began working for my grandfather weekends and summer holidays when I was 13. But from the time I was about 8 I would hang out with him and he would teach me things like how to weigh nails.”

Wade, now 54, has been working full-time in the store since he was 17.

He says the decision to sell the store was a family decision, but he was the driving force behind it.

“My kids are exploring other opportunities,” he said. “My dad is in his 81st year and my mother in her 76th year, and it’s time they should be enjoying their retirement. So last winter we let it out as a rumour that the business was for sale. We never dreamt it would be sold in less than a month, initially with a handshake and then we just had to wait for the lawyers to do their work and for Timber Mart’s approval. Friends who have sold building supply businesses have waited five or 10 years for a sale.”

He said that of three interested parties, the Lumax’s were most comfortable with the Gagnes. 

“They’re a good fit for the family and for the community,” he said. “My parents can stay in their home (adjacent to the store) as long as they are able. At my age I don’t have the energy to move forward with what they (the Gagnes) want to do. It’s good for Mom and Dad, and a good thing for the village and for Whitewater Region. And I will still have the opportunity to witness the growth that will result. Matt and Carrie are well respected in the community. It’s a good day.”

Carrie has worked in the store with the Lumax family for several weeks.

“Both Jim and Marj have been so good with the transition,” she said. “Jimmy has been great helping me to learn things, about inventory and ordering and lots of tricks and tips. And we couldn’t run without Wade, who has worked here for 40-plus years and knows the business inside and out.” 

She said she and Matt have “lots of plans, such as small renovations, stocking more of the same stuff that’s already here, bringing in new inventory, and so on.”

The business will be known as Gagne Building Supplies.

“But it will still be a hardware store too, with the same or greater selection of home items as now,” she said.

An official opening is planned for Saturday, June 24, with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. followed by a barbecue.

By Marie Zettler Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 14, 2023 at 08:03

This item reprinted with permission from   The Eganville Leader   Eganville, Ontario
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