Parr set to build in Ridgefield

Lumber company expands its presence in Clark County to capture growth

Parr Lumber has moved ahead with construction of a retail and distribution facility in Ridgefield. The company is constructing a 26,000-square-foot building on 6.5 acres in the Ridgefield Commerce Center, southwest of the Interstate 5 Ridgefield exit.

The Parr facility, expected to be completed by spring 2007, will be in addition to locations at 6400 E. 18th St. in Vancouver and at 1146 N. Goerig St. in Woodland. Parr also has a sales office on Highway 99 in Vancouver. Parr was founded in Vancouver in 1930 by Dwight Parr Sr.  Today the Hillsboro, Ore.-based company has more than 800 employees in nearly 30 locations in Oregon and Washington, including cabinet outlets and contractor-only operations.

The Ridgefield location was the right place at the right time.

"Due to the growth of the Southwest Washington market it has become necessary to add another facility," said Brad Farmer, property manager for Parr.

Mark Jackson, project manager at Schelcht Construction, general contractor for the Parr project, said the operation is ideal for the site.

"That area is ripe now for a new lumber yard to go in," he said. "(Parr) is closing the gap between Vancouver and Woodland."

Jackson said a combination of wood-frame, concrete tilt-up and steel construction will be used. Some highlights include colored concrete for retail floors and some sidewalks. Other amenities, such as faux windows, and a decorative fence to screen the lumberyard were included to tone down the industrial look of the site.

Schlecht will mitigate the challenge of completing the site work before fall rains set in by paving the lot before the building is complete, which is normally not done. Utilizing a cement-treated base process will allow paving to be completed before the building is done, said Jackson.

The construction of Parr’s facility is a bit of a role reversal for the companies, as Schlecht is normally the customer.

"We have always bought our lumber from them," said Jackson.

Parr made a point to hire local contractors for the project, said Jackson.

The Ridgefield Commerce Center, a 29.5-acre development, is also the planned home of High Tech Manufacturing Services, which announced it would relocate to 2.5 acres at the site from its Vancouver operation.

The combination of adjacent commercial development at the Ridgefield junction and increasing residential development north of Vancouver along the I-5 corridor further enhance the location. The interchange is expected to undergo a $32 million replacement to enhance access to the industrial land surrounding it.

"That area is going to continue to fill," said Jackson. "It’s one more addition to make that a reality."

Other Ridgefield projects planned or underway include the Seventh-day Adventists’ North Pacific Union Conference office building, the Heron Gate office and retail building and Pacific Power Product’s expansion at the Port of Ridgefield.

The number of employees projected for the site show Parr expects a strong stream of business.

"Thirty employees will be hired initially to service both pro contractors and retail business with plans to grow the employee base in that facility to 60," said Jennifer Swick, advertising and marketing director for Parr.

Even as national home improvement retailers continue to expand and gain market share, Parr has continued as a successful regional player.

"Although the big-box stores are top of mind for DIY consumers, we have our niche and that’s where we focus," said Swick.

Parr focuses on the "serious project oriented do-it yourselfer," she said.

Parr’s retail sales have been on the up tick for the past five years. May’s retail sales were up 52 percent over the same period last year – the biggest increase in company history.

Parr plans to continue its expansion through "acquisition or greenfield starts in multiple regions," said Swick. The company also expects to grow its products and services through offerings such as wall panels, trusses, installation services and additional cabinet outlets.