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Photo by Sue Watson
Business owner Teddy Bryant (standing nearest the trailer, in shorts) supervises the loading of two bundles of treated decking material. Buyer Dustin Rager, of LaGrange, Ill., drove all the way to Holly Springs to procure this pressure-treated lumber.

Contractor drives long way for lumber

It is a combination of increased demand and short supply that caused Dustin Rager of LaGrange, Ill., to drive all the way to Holly Springs for a load of pressure-treated decking material.

He said he heard about Teddy’s Building Supply at a big home trade show in Chicago. That’s how Rager knew to look up Teddy’s to acquire decking material for his home repair business.

The decking, all 192 pieces — two bundles—of 5/4 inch by 6 inch by 16 feet, will be used to build porches and decks.

“He couldn’t find it anywhere,” Bryant said. “He couldn’t buy it locally after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The housing market is good right now.”

This is just one of many such instances where Bryant has been asked to supply lumber to distance places. He once filled an order from a company in Texas, going to Cockeysville, Maryland, to be used in the construction of a Joe’s Crab Shack.

“We shipped it for him,” Bryant said. Since the pandemic, Bryant said people who have been laid off due to the financial crisis associated with COVID-19 are looking for stuff to do around their property. The demand for fencing and decking and other building materials is high right now because people are home and want to do home improvement projects, he said.

Bryant and his wife Sally have operated Teddy’s Building Supply in Holly Springs since 1992 after he sold out to his partner in Moscow, Tenn.

“We were shipping a lot over here from Moscow, Tenn., to a bunch of builders in Oxford at the time,” Bryant said.

So he bought about seven acres located next to I-22 and opened his own supply store to capture the Oxford market and the local market as well.

At one time there were a number of lumber businesses in Marshall County, but his is the only lumber business that has survived, Bryant said.

Later he and Sally purchased Grisham’s Lumber in Blue Mountain, a business they still own.

She spends half the day at Blue Mountain and the last half of the day in Holly Springs. She is the accountant for both stores.

“We’ve been together just about more than any couple in Holly Springs,” he said. “She has a job and I have a job ­ in our business.”

Their daughter, Leigh Bryant, and her husband Tommy have taken over a Farm and Building Supply store in Walnut that the Bryants owned. “It’s been a family affair,” he said. “Leigh graduated college at Blue Mountain and was working at the Blue Mountain store. They chose to get in hardware and lumber (in Walnut). They have a neat store over there. It’s got two jail cells in the building.”

Before the Bryants bought the Walnut hardware store, it was W.L. Tomlinson Farm and Building Supply.

“It’s like an old general merchandise store. You go in and buy overalls and black-iron skillets,” he said.

Rager, owner of Dustin Rager Home Improvements, explained why he drove to Holly Springs for lumber.

“You can’t get it anywhere else,” he said. “Pressure-treated lumber is in short supply and high demand.”

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388
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