By Starrla Cray
MAYER, MN Mayer Lumber turns 75 this year, celebrating four generations of family-operated service.
“We appreciate people shopping locally,” Lois Maetzold said, explaining that local businesses are an important part of a community’s tax base.
Lois and her husband, Rod, are the third generation of Maetzolds to own Mayer Lumber. Their son, Andy, is currently working at the store full time, and plans to carry on the family tradition.
According to real estate transactions, Rod’s grandfather, John Maetzold, officially became Mayer Lumber’s owner in 1938. Previously, John had been in a lumberyard partnership in Lester Prairie.
John’s son, Austin, took on the title of manager at Mayer Lumber at age 18. Then, when John passed away in 1940, Austin purchased the business.
An unexpected turn occurred not long after, however, with the onset of World War II. Like many young men at the time, Austin felt it was his duty to enter the armed forces; so, in 1942, he sold his inventory at the lumberyard, locked the doors, and served in the US Navy until 1945.
Rebuilding after WWII
In the months following the end of WWII, many items were difficult to obtain, including building materials. Austin had some priority on obtaining these materials due to his service record, but the first years were still filled with challenges and long hours.
Austin’s wife, Lucille, also helped at the lumberyard, minding the store while Austin made deliveries with a trailer pulled behind his Nash.
Mayer Lumber added the retail side of its business in 1962. By then, Rod was old enough to help out as needed.
“We lived next door, and did everything from washing windows to unloading boxcars of lumber,” he recalled.
“The train still went through at that time, and a lot of supplied were delivered on boxcars,” Lois said, adding that Mayer Lumber also unloaded coal from the trains, and delivered it to people’s homes.
Mayer Lutheran alumni
Rod and Lois (a Winsted native) met at Mayer Lutheran High School, with Rod graduating in 1968 and Lois graduating in 1969.
Rod and Lois’s three boys also graduated from Mayer Lutheran: Jon in 1991, Andy in 1994, and Adam in 1999.
“They all work closely together,” Lois said. “Rod is the fire chief, and all our sons are on the department, too.”
Jon attended Hennepin Technical College for carpentry, and currently owns Maetzold Homes in Mayer. Adam is also a business owner, operating AME Electric in Mayer.
Andy began working full time at Mayer Lumber in 1994, and is looking forward to keeping the business in the family for years to come.
“I like being able to carry on the tradition,” he said.
Mayer Lumber currently has 13 employees, and the Maetzolds are grateful for the contributions staff members have made throughout the years.
“We have very good, loyal, hardworking employees,” Lois said. “Many of them have been here a long time, and they’re part of who we are as a business.”
In addition to helping with payroll and insurance at Mayer Lumber, Lois has been serving as Mayer’s city clerk nearly 33 years.
Rod, who has a degree in estimating and drafting from Dunwoody Institute, said the biggest change he’s seen in the lumberyard industry is the number of choices people have.
“Nowadays, there are so many different kinds of siding, shingles, everything,” he said.
Mayer Lumber became a Do it Best member in 1984, and the Mayer Lumber Do it Best Hardware Store opened in 2001. The hardware store was part of a rejuvenation effort at Mayer Lumber that included additional shop space, a 114-by-200-foot warehouse, and a customer parking lot.
Today, Mayer Lumber offers a complete line of building materials, hardware, plumbing, electrical, and lawn and garden care (including landscaping materials). The company also offers free estimates, deck planning, free delivery within its service area, window and screen repair, glass and key cutting, and more.
Two days to celebrate
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Mayer Lumber is offering free hot dogs and refreshments during store hours Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28.
Customers will also have the opportunity to roll a set of dice to determine the percent discount they’ll receive on purchases that weekend.
Mayer Lumber is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
To learn more, call (952) 657-2291 or go to www.mayerlumber.doitbest.com.