National Hardwood Magazine


Christmas 2011 Feature Story


Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company — Distributing Quality Hardwoods For 50 Years (pg 26)

By Michelle Keller

Chairman of the board, Arthur Ploetze began working with Schaller at
Gaines Lumber Company in 1958 as a salesman.

Poplar Bluff, Mo.—Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company based here, is a Hardwood distribution/concentration yard offering: domestic and imported Hardwoods; Hardwood plywood in a variety of species; melamine board; MDF; and particleboard. Value-added services include millwork such as surfacing, straight line ripping and gang ripping. In addition to the general office and distribution center located in Poplar Bluff, MO, Schaller has additional sales and warehouse facilities located in St. Louis, MO, Marionville, MO-located just 15 minutes west of Springfield, MO, and their newest facility located in Tulsa, OK. Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company also operates a concentration yard just west of Poplar Bluff, MO.

A testament to the company's quality products and services, Schaller Hardwood recently celebrated their 50 th year anniversary in 2010. Several of Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company's key employees have been with the company for over thirty years, including Dave Holmes, Distribution Yard Supervisor; Jerry Hampton, Air Dried Yard Supervisor; Willie Goin, Quality Control; Bill Baker, IT and Accounts Payable; Denise Ploetze-Rowe, Vice President/Personnel; Scott Lundstrom, Safety Director; Glenn Crook, Vice President Marketing; and Bruce Ploetze-President.

Domestic Hardwoods available include: Red and White Oak, Ash, Cherry
(shown here), Aspen, Basswood, Northern Yellow Birch, Butternut and Hard and Soft Maple.

Schaller Hardwood maintains a comprehensive inventory of domestic Hardwoods including: Red and White Oak ; rift and quartered Red and White Oak ; Ash ; Alder ; Cherry ; rift and quartered Cherry ; Northern Yellow Birch ; Butternut ; Hard Maple , rift and quartered Hard Maple ; Red Leaf Soft Maple ; Silver Leaf Soft Maple ; Poplar ; Walnut ; and rift and quartered Walnut . Imported Hardwoods available include: Bubinga , Anigre , Jatoba , Lacewood , Sapele , and African and Honduras Mahogany . Schaller Hardwood maintains an inventory of approximately 1.5 million feet of kiln dried Hardwood lumber inventory in order to provide the company's customers with the service, selection, and quality they have come to expect. Willie Goin-Quality Control and a graduate of the NHLA inspection school along with the other NHLA inspection school graduates, Dave Holmes, Scott Lundstrom, Herschel Vernon, Kirk Weatherford, and Roger Lockwood ensure that the product Schaller Hardwood ships meets or exceeds the NHLA grade.

Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company sources their Hardwood lumber inventory from a variety of sources and regions. The Alder is shipped from the Pacific Northwest and has become one of the major species stocked at Schaller Hardwood. Most of the Cherry inventoried originates from Pennsylvania. Schaller has found this stock to contain the best consistent color with minimal gum pockets. The Red Leaf Soft Maple is sourced primarily from the upper Midwest and New York region because of its brighter white color. Most of the Red Oak inventoried by Schaller Hardwood is harvested within a hundred miles of their Poplar Bluff facility.

The firm delivers its products promptly with a fleet of company owned
trucks. In addition to their corporate headquarters and main facility being
located in Poplar Bluff, a sales office and warehouse is maintained in St.
Louis, Mo.

The firm delivers its products promptly via the five company-owned over the road tractors and fourteen curtainside trailers. In addition each of the yards located in St. Louis, Marionville, and Tulsa provide daily delivery via flatbed straight trucks and curtainside straight trucks.

Th e equipment used at Schaller Hardwood Lumber has extensive capabilities. “The millwork equipment located in our Poplar Bluff location includes two 36” Oliver-Strait-O planers, with an additional 36” Oliver-Strait-O planer being rebuilt at Schaller's maintenance facility, one Newman S-282 planer, one Diehl straight line rip saw, two Mereen Johnson dip chain gang rip saws, two whirlwind cut-off saws, and one Holtec Package Saw,” Bruce explained. “Hopefully we have everything needed to meet the stringent demands of today's ‘just-in-time' inventory needs.”  

Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company has made employee safety a high priority. Scott Lundstrom, Safety Director has developed a comprehensive safety approach that has led to Schaller Hardwood achieving SHARP certification for the Schaller facilities in Poplar Bluff. This recognition by the State of Missouri in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor acknowledges that Schaller Hardwood exceeds the safety and environmental standards set by OSHA.

The Schaller Hardwood team.

Throughout the company's years, there is a lot of rich history worth telling. From surviving a devastating fire to being forced from their facilities due to a hospital redevelopment, Schaller Hardwood Lumber Co. has survived and thrived many challenging times.

Fred Schaller founded Schaller Hardwoods in 1960. Having already spent a lifetime in the Hardwood industry, Schaller was 61 when he established the company.

His early beginnings in the industry began at Luehrman Lumber Co. After years of hard work, Schaller would later advance to sales and management positions at Luehrman Lumber Co. Sometime after that he was recruited as manager for The Thomas and Poe Lumber Company.

Schaller and another fellow employee purchased The Thomas and Poe Lumber Company when it became available for sale. They decided to rename the company and Gaines Hardwood Lumber Co. began. He served as Vice President of Gaines until he resigned in 1960.

Schaller Hardwood’s Walnut shown here ready for shipment.

A lifelong dream of Schaller's was fulfilled when he purchased Christman Plywood and Veneer Co., added Hardwoods to the product mix, and renamed it Schaller Hardwood. “The rest is history, with Mr. Schaller's experience, highly respected reputation, and ethical business philosophy the foundation was laid for Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company,” states the company's website. “Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company continues to build on this solid foundation as the company enters the new century.”

Chairman of the board, Arthur Ploetze began working with Schaller at Gaines Lumber Company in 1958 as a salesman. Ploetze had no prior experience in the Hardwood lumber industry, but according to company sources, he achieved considerable success in sales of Hardwoods. So naturally when Schaller began his own business, he recruited Ploetze as an outside salesman.

After a 5 alarm fire destroyed Schaller's Hardwood lumber inventory and warehousing, Ploetze designed and permitted the new facility. He continued to generate sales and procure new inventory as he took on this new responsibility. By 1971, Ploetze was appointed Vice-President of Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company. In addition to his responsibilities as Vice-President, Art continued to cover a sales territory and function as the sales manager of Schaller Hardwood. Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company became the first Hardwood distribution yard in the Midwest to operate its own drying facility. Prior to 1975, Schaller Hardwood Lumber had used outside millwork facilities to surface and rip all lumber orders. “With the additions of the surfacer and straight-line rip saw, we were able to provide our customers a new level of service, Art Ploetze said.

Schaller Hardwood celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2010.

When Schaller was forced from their facilities in St. Louis due to hospital expansion and redevelopment, Art began the search for a suitable location for relocation and finally settled on the company's current location in Poplar Bluff, Mo. During 1980 and 1981 Art oversaw the relocation of all warehouse facilities, dry kilns, millwork facilities and the general office. As was done during the rebuilding from the fire, Schaller Hardwood Lumber never missed a beat. Art saw to it that the company continued to service its customers with no interruption. “The success of the move to Poplar Bluff, Mo. has far exceeded our expectations,” he said.

In April 1979, Arthur H. Ploetze was appointed President of Schaller Hardwood Lumber Company. He has over   54 years of experience in the Hardwood lumber industry, and according to company officials, “the go-to guy when you need an answer .”  Arthur is currently Chairman of the Board of Schaller Hardwood.

Bruce, Arthur and Denise Ploetze.

Schaller Hardwood Lumber Co. is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, Hardwood Distributors Association, and the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit




Each of the yards located in St. Louis, Marionville, and Tulsa provide daily delivery via flatbed straight trucks and curtainside straight trucks.



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