About Lamperts

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About Lamperts

Lamperts was originally founded in 1887 by two brothers, Jacob and Leonard Lampert, with the purchase of a yard in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. While both brothers were born in Switzerland, their father moved the family to the United States in 1866. Jacob managed the yard at Sleepy Eye, while Leonard next ran a yard purchased in 1890 in Mankato, Minnesota.

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In the late 1800’s, the Interstate Commerce Commission adopted a regulation requiring that a community be established every six miles along the railroad lines. This being the farthest a farmer could travel in a day’s time. The towns were small, but served their purpose as trade centers for surrounding farms. The central business district normally consisted primarily of one general store, one grain elevator and one lumber yard. Lamperts was an early pioneer in the establishment of line lumber yards. Ten such yards were established by the young company before the turn of the century.

The retail lumber business during the first decades of the 20th century grew steadily along with the expanding needs of farmers in the Upper Midwest.

Since Lamperts was dealing in large quantities of lumber, it was decided that its headquarters should be moved closer to the source of supply, which was primarily in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. So in 1900, the General Office was moved to the Twin Cities. Jacob and Leonard each thought their son was the most qualified to run the company. Because of this a major development occurred in 1924, with the splitting of the company. Leonard Lampert retained all properties west of a line from Duluth to Mankato, to approximately Sioux City, Iowa. Leonard’s company eventually became known as Lampert Lumber. Jacob Lampert kept those yards east and south of that line. His company became known as Lampert Yards.

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In 1928, the passing of an era occurred when Jacob Lampert stepped down as President of the company and Horace H. Lampert (Jacob’s son) became president. Horace successfully guided the company through the depression and pre-war years in which several yards were bought. By 1937, Lamperts had a total of 53 yards.

In 1938 a tragic drowning took the life of Horace Lampert. Shortly thereafter, John K. Fesler was elected president. John was the husband of Elsie Lampert, Horace’s sister.

The next 30 years were reasonably uneventful, yet prosperous ones for the company. Sales volume increased steadily. Yards were bought and sold during this period. Most of the time, yards were purchased one at a time. At one point, the company owned approximately 75 yards. In 1966, John K. Fesler retired as president; his sons, David R. and John L. Fesler, assumed the roles of President and Vice-President, respectively. The company progressed rapidly, along with the housing boom of the 60’s and 70’s. The purchase of new yards and companies continued.

During the period of 1966 to 1979, the company realized substantial sales growth and prosperity. This was a period of change and consolidation. Many smaller yards were closed and most of the larger yards were remodeled to resemble the new "home center" concept.

In June of 1979, John L. Fesler acquired control of the company and became its president.

The early 80’s proved to be turbulent times for the lumber and building materials industry. These yards saw the worst downswing in our industry since the Great Depression. Starting in 1983, the company rebounded and through perseverance, was positioned to take advantage of the improved business climate.

Daniel Fesler became the eighth president of Lampert Yards in 1994. Dan follows in the footsteps of his father, John L. Fesler, grandfather John K. Fesler, and great grandfather Jacob Lampert. Dan is the fourth generation of his family to hold the president’s job.

Lamperts currently operates 34 lumber yards, located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Lamperts is dedicated to the lumber and building material business and is looking forward to a bright future through increased expansion and market growth.