Building material firms announce merger plans

Posted Nov. 17, 2010, at 11:09 p.m.

Two prominent eastern Maine building materials companies will join forces beginning next year.

Viking Lumber Inc. and Rhoades Building Products Inc. announced Wednesday that they would merge and retain the Viking Lumber brand at 10 locations throughout the state.

“This merger presents a great opportunity for the combined company to better serve the expanded coastal community,” David Flanagan, president of Viking Lumber, said in a statement.

The Flanagan family will be joined in ownership of the new company by Rhoades CEO Chris Rhoades.

“I am very excited about how this merger will benefit our customers and our employees,” Rhoades said. “The Flanagan family is such a class act, and I am honored to become partners with them as we merge our companies and grow the combined entity.”

The merged company will employ nearly 200 workers in several locations throughout midcoast and Down East Maine: Belfast, Blue Hill, Ellsworth, Hancock, Holden, Lincolnville, Machias, Milbridge, Vinalhaven and Warren.

“Viking services customers in Bangor from Belfast. Now, we can do that from Holden, which is much closer,” Rhoades said. “Similarly, we serve customers on Mount Desert Island from Holden, but they have closer facilities in Hancock. We’ll save on fuel, truck maintenance and we’ll have access to better buying power.”

Viking Lumber started in 1944 and was incorporated in 1945 as a lumber mill owned and operated by Jud Flanagan and his brother-in-law Gene Rich. The Flanagans continue to operate Viking Lumber today. Headquartered in Belfast, Viking now operates five lumberyards in Belfast, Hancock, Lincolnville, Vinalhaven and Warren.

In 2004, Rhoades, an entrepreneur from Falmouth, purchased two H.F. Pinkham locations in Machias and Milbridge. Two years later, he opened a window-and-door showroom in Ellsworth. Finally, in 2007, Rhoades purchased Granville Lumber and its two locations in Blue Hill and Holden and then rebranded all five locations as Rhoades Building Products Inc.

Rhoades said the merger grew out of a friendship between Flanagan and him.

“We became acquainted at vendor events over the last couple years,” Rhoades said. “It’s a dream combination. We benefit from their 65 years of operations and best practices, but I think both sides get access to great teams of employees.”

Flanagan agreed.

“There will be some overlap of employees, but we’ll try to minimize that,” he said. “The announcement was to let employees and the public know, but now we’ll get into the nuts and bolts.”

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