Smith & Sons Lumber Co.

10293 South Main Street
Rapid River, MI 49878

Becki Smith will be the first to tell you that she’s a proud Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa – and that she is 60% owner of Smith & Sons Lumber Co. in Rapid River, MI. 

Longtime committed residents of the area, Becki loves design and her husband Jack has a construction background. After a series of job changes, Jack serendipitously asked the local lumber yard owner “When are you planning to retire?” and the conversation soon resulted in the Smiths deciding to buy the business, with plans to run it someday with their four sons.

Because they didn’t have experience in retail, the Smiths recognized they needed help and connected with the Michigan SBDC. They worked with Business Consultants Lance Wolfe and Jim Beauchamp on reviewing the seller’s past financial statements and creating financial forecasts and a written business plan to support their lending requirements. In addition, Becki and Jack worked with Nicole Potvin, the Michigan Upper Peninsula’s marketing specialist, on developing and implementing the company marketing plan. The business is growing, but Jack retains a second job while Becki manages the business full-time.

“It’s important to make sure you look at the long term when owning a small business,” said Becki. “The day-to-day grind can be discouraging – we thought after one year we’d be where we are three years into it. But we’re on the right track. We just implemented a new POS system that modernized our invoicing system from the 1940s, and just hired a new employee from a big box store who brings with him a wealth of knowledge.”

When asked how she defines success, Becki waxes poetic about the relationships they are building with both year-round locals and seasonal homeowners who now call Rapid River their second home.


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