Forty years ago, Wilbur and Louise Fullaway started a small family owned business, Calaveras Lumber Company. From its humble beginnings with four employees and one delivery truck on ½ acre property, Calaveras Lumber has grown to over 60 employees, with six trucks and 13 fork lifts on 4 ½ acres. In 1976, the hardware store was 600 square feet; today the store occupies over 20,000 square feet.
The business that the Fullaways bought sold mostly fencing and grew into a retail lumber company. Wilbur had worked for American Forest Products, where he cultivated many contractor contacts in the Arnold, Angels Camp and Toyon areas. The first major lumber job was for the “Gold Country Inn” in Angels Camp. “I never imagined that what we had then would grow into this,” stated Wilbur in 2010.
Shortly after Wilbur and Louise opened the retail lumberyard, their son, Mike Fullaway and daughter-in-law Diane, joined them. They are now the current business owners. Mike had been working at Lawrence Livermore Lab as an Electron Microscopist, coming up to work the weekends and his days off at Calaveras Lumber. In late 1976, he and Diane took the plunge and joined his parents full-time. Both Mike and Diane worked at the yard/store during the day and made lumber deliveries after-hours, sometimes getting home after midnight.
On August 1, 1979, at 9:30AM, a fire started in the newly completed lumber barn destroying the building and its contents, as well as the office, which had all of the records. “The community reached out to help us rebuild the lumber yard. Contractors brought in their statements and said ‘I owe you this money’. We had people coming into the yard building their own loads and hauling the loads. Everyone in the community stepped up”, Mike shared.
Today, Calaveras Lumber Company has a full-service lumberyard, meeting the needs of homebuilders, remodelers and the do-it-yourselfers. A fleet of delivery trucks serves the entire Mother Lode. The retail store features hardware, tools, building materials, electrical, plumbing, housewares, a great paint department, gift department, garden center, outdoor living patio and a seasonal Christmas store.
Calaveras Lumber believes in giving back to the community. They donate to the community through scholarships, sponsorships and donations.
Wilbur and Louise passed away in 2013 after full and productive lives. “This has been an exhilarating adventure with its ups and downs. We have always been blessed with good employees”, Wilbur stated. Mike and Diane Fullaway have since carried on their legacy. Mike adds, “We appreciate the community’s support throughout the years. Our goal for the future is for continued growth and improvement of our business for our customers and our employees”.