(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) After more than 200 years in business, Alexandria’s Smoot Lumber yard is shutting down today.
The Alexandria-area supplier of mouldings, doors and windows has been a staple for local builders since it was founded in 1822, and now its owner Builders FirstSource says that customers should visit its lumber yards in Manassas, Manassas Park, Springfield and in Waldorf, Maryland.
Builders FirstSource is at a “juncture of change,” Market Manager James Barbes wrote in a Nov. 29 letter to customers. Barbes did not say what the future holds for the sprawling property at 6295-20 Edsall Road.
“After thorough consideration, we are announcing the integration of our Smoot Lumber location with our other local Builders FirstSource and TW Perry locations. This strategic consolidation allows us to streamline operations while continuing to provide you with the exceptional service and premium Smoot moulding profiles you’ve come to rely on.”
Barbes continued, “Our commitment to Alexandria’s rich heritage remains unwavering, and we are pleased to assure you that a line of historical Smoot moulding profiles will continue to be available.”
Barbes also said, “the experienced and dedicated team members from Smoot Lumber will seamlessly transition to new roles within the market, ensuring that your interactions with us remain as dependable and customer-focused as ever.”
The transition isn’t seamless for all employees. Ed King has worked at the lumber yard for 27 years, 14 as a manager. He was told on Wednesday that his last day would be on Dec. 30, after he helps with the transition.
“I ain’t missed a day in 27 years,” King said. “I know every stick of wood in this joint.”
King said he was offered a severance package and will take the next six months off.
“I’m going to take a vacation and then decide what’s next after that,” King said. “I deserve a little break, but I’m sad to see it go. This has been my home away from home.”
Mike Dameron, owner of Alexandria-based Windmill Hill Home Design Build, said it’s a big loss for local builders.
“In one way or another, Smoot Lumber has been an integral part of the local and regional construction supply community for longer than any of us have been in business,” Dameron said. “It will be a major loss to see them leave the city.”
A brief history of Smoot Lumber is below.
Founded in 1822 in Alexandria, Virginia under the name J.H.D. Smoot, Smoot has been through many changes over the years, including name changes such as W.A. Smoot, Smoot Lumber & Coal, Smoot and Co., Smoot Lumber, and now part of the BMC family as BMC Smoot Lumber. Over the years, Smoot has sold lumber, coal, sand, gravel, salt and plaster, with the mainstay being custom high-end millwork and mouldings.
While Lincoln and Douglas were holding their great debates of 1858, Smoot Lumber had already been supplying millwork to many of the most important buildings in our nation’s capital. After the destruction of the Civil War, Smoot was there to help rebuild Washington and Alexandria. And when the National Park Service needed to find clear fir boards in order to build extra bleachers for President Kennedy’s funeral processions, Smoot was honored to answer the call and play a small part in history.
Over the years, Smoot has also worked on other important historical landmarks to include The White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, and Mount Vernon.
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