Though the tornado of last month may have claimed Greensburg’s hardware store for good, the town may gain a combination hardware and lumberyard facility on a permanent basis in its place in the coming months.


Though the tornado of last month may have claimed Greensburg’s hardware store for good, the town may gain a combination hardware and lumberyard facility on a permanent basis in its place in the coming months.
What is a certainty is that Fisher Lumber of Garden Plain plans on being open for business at the east end of Greensburg by July 2 to at least meet rebuilding needs over the next year.
Manager of inside sales of the firm, Greg Tremblay, confirmed last Friday that the beginnings of a lumber and building material outlet of the company will begin setting up shop on the space immediately south of Brown Auction, bordering the golf course.  Fisher has signed a one-year lease with Brown for use of the property.
“If things work out the way I hope, we could be there in Greensburg a very long time,” said Larry Lampe, veteran salesman of the company who will be on site five days a week come July.
“We’ll start with having material for foundations, framing, boxing and siding at first, but will have windows, cabinets and other interior materials available later on,” he continued.
Lampe said he and other company officials visited with Rod and Mike Sutton of Sutton’s True Value Hardware before making the decision to open a branch in Greensburg.
“It didn’t sound like they were going to rebuild, and so we tried to hire Mike to work for us,” Lampe said.  “But he has plans for elsewhere.  I think Rod decided against reopening because of health reasons, among other things.”
Lampe said Fisher would reconsider staying long-term in Greensburg if Sutton should later reverse his intentions about reopening.
“We’re a family business and sure wouldn’t want to get in the way of another family business in their hometown if they decided to come back,” Lampe said.  “I know we wouldn’t appreciate it if we were wiped out in Garden Plain and someone else moved in to try to take away our market.”
Though most hardware products won’t be an immediate part of Fisher’s stock, Lampe said such items would be added later if the stay becomes long-term.
While he wasn’t sure whether eventually building a business in Greensburg would mean locating north of Ohio in the planned industrial park area, or as part of the downtown business district, Lampe said Fisher would try to fit in either way.
“If there’s an overall scheme to downtown, and we could be a part of that, we’d do what would be needed to assimilate,” he said.
With lumber outlets in Pratt and Dodge City currently the closest available to those rebuilding in Greensburg, Lampe said having a local alternative should “give ease and convenience for consumers in town.”
Lampe stressed the size of Fisher Lumber, saying the volume of sales of the business makes them competitive price-wise with national chains such as Home Depot and Loewes.
In business for 52 years, Fisher has seven full-time out-of-store salesmen that regularly call on customers in Wichita, August, El Dorado and even farther to the east and south.
The company plans on opening a 12,000 square foot showroom in West Wichita by early September.
“About 90 percent of our business comes from Wichita,” Lampe said.  “Most of the rest is east of there.  But now we’ll have a share west of us, and we hope that’s a share that continues to grow as time goes on.”