SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

April 3, 2013

Gove Lumber closes after 103 years in business

BEVERLY — Gove Lumber, one of the city’s longest-running family businesses, has closed after 103 years of operation.

The company shut down its lumber yard on Colon Street last week and is under agreement to be purchased by Timberline of Gloucester, according to a letter sent to customers by Gove Lumber President Bruce Gove.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the closing of the Gove Lumber Company due to economic factors beyond our control,” Gove wrote.

Gove Lumber started in 1910, when it delivered materials by horse and carriage. It has been run by four generations of the Gove family, most recently by brothers Bruce, Sandy and Barry.

Bruce Gove could not be reached for comment. His father, Robert Gove, said the family wanted the closing to be “low-key.”

Timberline owner Chris Costello said Gove Lumber was hit financially by the economic downtown of the last few years. The Goves approached him several months ago to discuss a sale, he said.

“In order for the business to continue, they were in a position where they needed to sell to a larger company,” Costello said. “We’re a good fit for them. As companies, we’re very similar. We’re individually owned, with the same kind of family values.”

Costello said the sale is under agreement for $1.3 million and is scheduled to close this week. The business will reopen as Timberline around the first of May, Costello said.

Costello said Timberline will retain six to eight of the 10 employees who were working at Gove, including Bruce Gove.

Timberline began in 1979 in Gloucester. Costello bought the business in 2008 and opened a new location in Newburyport last year. The company employs about 60 people.

“Immediately, what customers are going to notice is the level of inventory is going to be brought way back up again,” Costello said. “As a larger company, we have much larger resources.”

Costello said the recent reports of increases in building permits is a good sign for Timberline, which sells primarily to builders, contractors and developers.

“The market with the downtown in construction has been challenging over the years, but it’s clear from the data that we’ve seen the worst,” he said. “We’re very encouraged by that.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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