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Hamshaw Lumber Acquires Leader Home Centers

General News

Hamshaw Lumber, Inc., (“Hamshaw Lumber”) a local, family run business with headquarters in Keene, NH has acquired Leader Home Centers, a chain of five retail stores with locations in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Hamshaw Lumber’s founder and Chairman of the Board, Douglas Hamshaw, shares that, “The joining of these two businesses will afford customers a broad selection of products and services across the entire Connecticut Valley region of New England.” He believes that personalized customer service and expert product knowledge, along with an expansive selection of in-stock inventory, is what today’s homeowner seeks in a local retail store. Hamshaw Lumber is an ACE Hardware cooperative member, with locations in Keene, NH and Orange, MA. ACE retail stores are all backed by a nationwide support program that allows locally owned businesses to compete with big box stores by offering a convenient hardware store experience with exceptional service and quality products.

With this acquisition, each Leader Home Center will transition to a Hamshaw Lumber store, with some locations receiving extensive building renovations and updates to vehicles and equipment. Current Leader staff will join with Hamshaw Lumber staff as the two businesses merge and grow. Leader Home Centers was started in the early 1980’s by the original owner, Peter Filion, and grew to its current five locations in Greenfield, Deerfield, Amherst, and Barre, MA and Brattleboro, VT.

Hamshaw Lumber, Inc. was started in 1980 by Douglas Hamshaw, who took over Old Colony Lumber in Keene, a local hardware store that was close to bankruptcy. Doug had been working in a sales position for several months at Old Colony and believed he knew what it took to run a successful retail business. He offered to purchase Old Colony by taking over the company’s existing debt, and Hamshaw Lumber was born. At the time, Old Colony was doing $200,000 in annual sales but over the next seven years Hamshaw Lumber grew 40% a year on average, and currently produces close to $50 million in annual sales across its 4 stores. Hamshaw Lumber currently has 165 dedicated employees, a number that will grow to 243 with the acquisition of Leader Lumber.

Hamshaw Lumber has an excellent record of giving back to its local communities, regularly supporting nonprofits in the Monadnock region, including United Way. Through more than 40 years of business, the company is proud to have navigated both extreme growth periods and economic recessions, without a single employee lay-off, and without compromising its mission to provide excellent customer service. In 2019, Doug’s son, Ken Hamshaw, took over as President of the company, and has continued to lead its recent growth. Doug’s son, Scott Hamshaw, who now resides in VT, has also contributed to the company’s growth over the years.

Hamshaw Lumber is the parent company of Cheshire Horse, an equine, farm, and pet supply business with locations in Swanzey, NH and Saratoga Springs, NY. Cheshire Horse was started by Doug’s wife, Marianne Hamshaw, in 1997 who led the stores through a tremendous amount of growth, which required them to move locations twice in the first 8 years. Doug’s daughter, Elizabeth Hamshaw, currently runs Cheshire Horse, and has worked to expand its customer base nationwide with the addition of an e-commerce site, In 2020, Doug founded Prichard Supply, a wholesale business specializing in equine products, as well as acquired ACE Rental Center (now Hamshaw Outdoor Power Equipment and Rental), offering local residents equipment rental and products for purchase, with plans to expand and grow.

The entire Hamshaw family has a deep commitment to lasting local relationships and personalized, unique customer service. Doug shares that his father and mentor, “always conducted himself in an unbelievably ethical manner. People trusted him. I saw how he operated and how he treated his employees. That was a big influence on me.” Those are the same qualities Doug brought to his dedicated work over the years, and principles that he continues to share with his family and staff.

Source: Hamshaw Lumber, Inc.