After Kaga Ross founded the business in 1932, Ross Lumber was owned and operated by members of the same family for more than 80 years.
But that lengthy run ended as of Nov. 23, when Jimmy and Alicia Swindell assumed ownership of the iconic downtown Houston business. The new owners are aware of the store’s historic standing in Houston, and won’t be changing its name.
“We’re just hometown people and we like to treat others that way,” Jimmy said.
The Swindells are both long-time Licking residents and graduates of Licking High School, and moved to Houston three years ago. Jimmy has run Swindell’s Construction for about 20 years, and until recently, Alicia was a recognizable fixture in the state license bureau office in Licking.
“Jimmy has wanted to do this for quite a while,” Alicia said, “and I’m doing it because he wanted to.”
Jimmy said his construction company has a few projects in progress, and once they’re complete he won’t begin any other jobs and concentrate on the new venture. Ross Lumber is a full-line hardware and do-it-yourself store, and customers will already find an expanded inventory.
“We’ve already added more plumbing and electrical equipment,” Jimmy said. “We’re going to try to keep adding – putting more shelves in and stocking more stuff.”
After settling in for a while, the Swindells plan to do some major expansion to the store’s interior, perhaps displaying cabinets and other larger items.
“It will be about twice as big as it is now,” Jimmy said.
In acquiring Ross Lumber, the Swindells purchased a real estate package that also includes the store’s warehouses, along with the building harboring the adjacent Manier Surveying business and a parcel of land on Cedar Street across from the warehouses. The surveying business will remain unchanged as a renting tenant.
“We’ve always taken good care of people and we’ll continue to take care of them,” Jimmy said.
Special orders are welcome, Jimmy said, and house construction estimates and delivery in the area are both available for free.
Ross Lumber is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is now open 7 a.m. to noon Saturday as well. The store’s phone number is 417-967-3808.