84 Lumber is an American building materials supply company. Founded in 1956 by Joseph Hardy, it derives its name from the town of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, 20 miles (32 km) south of Pittsburgh, where its headquarters are based.
84 Lumber owns and operates over 250 stores, and the company operates components plants, door shops, installation centers and wood products shops in 30 states. As of 2012, they reportedly employ 4,900 employees.
Located 20 mi (32 km) south of Pittsburgh, 84 Lumber established its roots in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, a rural community that has endured as a farmland community. 84 Lumber flourished with the funds and determination of Ed Ryan and Jack Kunkle, Joe Hardy and his two brothers Norman and Bob Hardy. Together, these men collected 84,000 dollars for land and buildings to grow their business. As the business expanded, Hardy and his brothers became sole owners of the company.
84 Lumber established a cash and carry system; customers paid by cash or check, if merchandise was unable to be “carried” out, an additional charge was implemented to have the item personally delivered.
Throughout the 1960s, 84 Lumber continued to expand locations. This was accomplished largely by keeping overhead low and adopting a 'no frills' warehouse-style approach to most of its stores (many of which are unheated, even in cold-climate locations), as most of its clients were commercial customers not overly concerned with aesthetics or the like. But during the 1970s, 84 Lumber’s business grew and the company opened 229 stores.
In 1984, the company undertook an expansion plan to open at least 30 new stores. Along with grand openings, stores were remodeled and renovated from no-frills lumber yards to new and improved building materials stores. In 1987, as the improvement plan generated success the business opened their strict policy of cash-and-carry to options of using credit.
In 1991, 84 Lumber topped Pro Sales magazine’s “Dealer 100” list.
After 34 years of running the company, Joe Hardy appointed his daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko president and owner in 1992. Joe Hardy passed 40 percent of the company stock to Maggie that year as well, and added another 40 percent the following year. With a new leader, 84 Lumber continued to expand, opening its 400th store in 1997 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
In 1999, 84 Lumber opened its first “84 Plus” retail store in Graysville, Tennessee. The store, designed by Maggie Hardy Magerko, carried about 12,000 products and was meant to increase the company’s profits by selling products at a higher profit margin. Soon enough, over a hundred 84 Plus stores opened.
On December 7, 2002, the company exceeded $2 billion in annual sales for the first time in history. In 2004, the company opened another 18 new stores, most of which are located in metropolitan areas that had once been unprofitable.
84 Lumber suffered great losses in sales when the housing market crashed in 2009. Limitless spending on a family-owned resort, poor store site selection and a massive debt in account receivables also contributed to difficult financial conditions for the company. On the brink of bankruptcy, Hardy Magerko leveraged her own personal finances, closed stores and laid off thousands to prevent the company from going bankrupt. With the help of the market, Magerko’s efforts ultimately proved to be successful.
In 2013, 84 Lumber increased sales 27 percent over the prior year, generating $2.1 billion in revenue. In 2016, the company continues to expand and has recently announced plans to open at least a dozen new stores and manufacturing facilities in the West.
Most recently, 84 Lumber introduced Tiny Living by 84 Lumber, its new line of portable homes.
In 2017, 84 Lumber broadcast its first-ever Super Bowl ad, "The Journey", during Super Bowl LI. The advertisement chronicled a mother and daughter migrating from Mexico to the United States, but being blocked by a border wall. However, after the daughter presents a handmade U.S. flag she had made using fabric collected throughout their trip, the two discover a giant door in the wall that they use to enter the country, symbolizing that "The will to succeed is always welcome here." Previous images in the video showed people using lumber (presumably from the advertiser) to build something, which turned out to be the door.
The ad was controversial even before its premiere; prior to the game, Super Bowl LI's broadcaster Fox rejected a version of the ad that contained the border wall scene, as they felt the imagery was too politically-sensitive (newly-instated president Donald Trump promised the construction of a wall along the entire Mexico–United States border). The ad was aired in an edited form during the game's halftime break, which excluded the ending and instructed viewers to watch the full, nearly six-minute film, on 84 Lumber's website (which briefly crashed due to the influx of visitors).
84 Lumber serves the communities in which they are located by participating in local events and fundraisers. Dedicated to helping those in need, the company has created a campaign, Building Hope, which fulfills this commitment. The Boy Scouts, Justin Jennings Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Musicians' Village, Red Cross, and United Way are among the organizations and individuals 84 Lumber has supported over the years.