Big Creek Lumber
Ten years ago, Benicia lost a valued business when Dolan’s Lumber closed shop; this made building a fence or deck much more difficult for weekend warriors and contractors as the closest lumber yards were big box stores not necessarily known for quality. So, it is my pleasure to share with you some good news: A lumber company with a redwood sawmill and its headquarters in Santa Cruz County has moved into the area bringing with it not only extensive experience, it stocks some of the best redwood available to the North Bay! The company is Big Creek Lumber and they just acquired O’Connor Lumber & Ace Hardware in Vallejo!
The community can credit Joe Pierre who owned and ran O’Connors for decades.
A former Benicia resident, Joe sold his family’s lumber yard so that he could take the plunge into retirement. However, wanting to preserve tradition and staffing, Joe was careful in selecting a buyer with a solid reputation. And one that was family-owned. Big Creek Lumber fit the bill!
Founded in 1946, Big Creek got its start when brothers Bud and Lud McCrary, along with father Frank, exited the military at Mare Island shipyard. Using a salvaged motor from an amphibious landing craft to power it, they started a small sawmill near their family property in northern Santa Cruz County. The family settled along the banks of Big Creek in the area of Swanton where their father, Frank McCrary, Sr. had made a living splitting redwood shingles, cutting tan bark and constructing cabins. Familiar with lumbering, the boys rigged a small home-made mill, which they affectionately called “The Termite.” It was 1946, and so began the official start of Big Creek Lumber.
Today, the company processes approximately 100,000 board feet of lumber each day, employing 200 employees at six retail yards — Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Paso Robles, Atwater and Half Moon Bay, and now Vallejo. Much of their product comes from timberland on company-owned and private lands in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, where in addition to cutting & milling, the company offers management of privately-owned forest land. Adopting sustainable business practices, it assists landowners in selective harvesting of timber while providing forest management services to reduce fire hazard, improve site restoration, and increase timber growth.
What does this mean for the deck and fence builders in Benicia? Quality product!
As Kevin Dussault, Retail Division Manager, shared with me, “We mill our redwood from land we own or manage and we are rigorous with our grading. We have some of the best redwood in northern California!” In addition, the company stocks a full line of lumber, from foundation to finishing, including an extensive selection of plywood, Douglas fir, moldings, and roofing material. Not only can do-it-yourselfers hand-select great redwood for a fence or deck, contractors and builders can order lumber for large projects like home building and general construction.
The changes that Big Creek Lumber brings to its new yard are already apparent — full racks and a lot of product!
They will continue their affiliation with Ace Hardware and have expanded the hardware section. Next year, they anticipate adding custom doors and windows!
It is important to recognize Joe Pierre and give him a hearty retirement send off for his great work in the community. Thank you, Joe! And we want to welcome Big Creek Lumber — still family owned and operated! Big Creek Lumber is the kind of small business that helped build America!
Location: 4310 Sonoma Blvd, Vallejo
Store hours: Mon – Sat 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, closed Sunday