The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Hot Dog Bar and Door Prizes greet customers at Harlem Lumber Grand Opening


August 21, 2019

Harlem Lumber owner Rod Wagner shakes hands with Blaine County Commissioner Myles Hutton during the stores Grand Re-Opening this past Friday. Joining them in the photo are Sales Reprentative Ryan White, and Harlem Lumber employee Karensa Calvert. Wagner estimates, based on Hot Dogs eaten, that between 100-150 people stopped into the store during the day.

Harlem Lumber, as it's known now, can trace its roots in the area all the way back to 1926 when it was known as Monarch Lumber. This past Friday Harlem Lumber welcomed customers, family and friends to come check out their new location as part of their Grand Re-Opening.

Owner Rod Wagner and his wife Lorie took over the business back in 2012 from her parents, Charlie and Kay Brekke. Wagner has since taken the location to new heights. The biggest test to date was moving out of an outdated building and into a modern 4,800 square foot facility.

The new structure was completed back in December of 2018 and Wagner and his staff began serving their customers from the new location. Eight months later and the move 'mostly completed', Wagoner decided it was time to have a Grand Re-Opening and invite all to see the new, modern facilities.

From what began as an operation on the go back in the 1920' has had a remarkable journey to the present. Originally the Monarch Lumber Company had two locations, one up in Hogeland and on the north side of Harlem that would eventually become know as the Harlem Lumber Company.

Monarch Lumber maintained its association with Harlem Lumber until 1963 when the operation was purchased by Bestway Building Company in 1969. Bestway eventually became United Building Center (UBC). After just one year at a new location on the south side of town UBC made the decision to sell the business to Charlie and Kay Brekke. In 1977 Charlie and Kay built a new building and moved closer to the Highway 2 location of today. The Brekke's ran the business taking care of many customers along the Hi-line.

When Rod and his wife, Lorie, took over the operation they weren't exactly strangers to how things worked. Rod worked for Charlie and Kay for ten years before moving to Bozeman in 2002. When he returned he soon found himself in charge of a business deeply rooted in the region.

For many small town, especially along Montana's Hi-line a connection to the past through a business still in operation is rather uncommon. Harlem Lumber has turned that longevity into a staple of proffession contractors to weekend home renovaters, just to name a few.

In addition Harlem Lumber meets the needs of so many others. Their line of products available to their customers increased dramatically with the move from the old 1,800 square foot facility. With nearly three times the space. "All departments got bigger and everything is on display," added Rod. They have everything a customer might need and if not they can most likely order it.

Services include Window/Glass repair, Wood and building needs, including delivery of most wood products. They have a huge selection of paint available and all the Hardware one could hope to fine. Also in stock is a large supply of products to meet all of his customers home needs as well as lawn and garden care.

They also feature a large selection of tools, toys and a limited amount of sporting goods.

Rod says their is still a few more things to move in but that for the most part everything is in place. The old building is still serving a purpose, being utilized as a storage facility to better serve their customers as well as the main building.

The Grand Re-Opening was a big success and based on the number of Hot Dogs consumed that 100-150 stopped in. The new location has proven to be a big hit with his customers and Rod says with confidense that he is seeing more and more faces stop in that are 'new' to him and his crew and that is definately nice to see.

In addition to a pleathura of Hot Dogs, salads and chips for customers to snack on, Harlem Lumber had some Door Prizes to give away. Nick Hopkins won a gas/propane smoker that utilazes wod chips to smoke the product. Pete Haluzka won a Soda Stream that creats carbonated flavored water or pop. John Hoops won a Home Brewery Kit in the final drawing.


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