Our First 10 Years

Each time we drove down to the Anderson yard in one of Dennis’s new Beemer’s we would get grand tours of a few of his homes under construction or finished, from the fence line. We were being primed to buy all the counties in Oregon for $1500.00 each and that’s all Dennis and the snake oil salesman ever argued about. Apparently, people were lined up behind us to buy them, if we didn’t. The pressure was on for us to make a decision fast and I hadn’t even sold our first home. Now, Dennis didn’t like being pushed around. He was accustomed to be the one doing the pushing and definitely liked being in control in every situation. He would often indulge the five of us with his grandiose plans of having hundreds of stove stores and log home dealerships up and down the West coast. “We’re all going to be rich, rich I say!” Thinking back, it was like being led by Napoleon towards Russia. “Those Ruskies don’t stand a chance against us this winter. Go get em boys.” Now, our big plan was to put half log siding on an old stick-framed building we were renting as the stove showroom and warehouse. Of course, the owner of the building loved the idea but was unwilling to participate in any of the actual costs. “Great.” We put a lot of work in it for several months and installed log siding inside and out, did some nice stonework, put on a new Cedar shake roof and new carpeting through out. The place looked pretty good and attracted some interest in log homes. Besides, woodstoves were selling as fast as we could install them that Fall, and the place was humming with activity. The six of us were on our way, with personal economic gain just around the corner, down the alley, across the tracks, over the bridge, through the tunnel and off the… cliff?

The relationship between the two owners had gotten worse, as Homestead’s boss demanded a check in the mail today for the dealerships. Dennis had finally had enough and wanted out. He recommended that we all cut our losses now and get out of the log home business. We were contemplating his opinion, and then the next day I sold our first log home kit. “He wants out… fine, we can handle the loss… the more for us! Heh, heh, smirk, smirk!” The home buyer’s were from Cave Junction, near the Oregon Caves. Lance and his wife were kind of like hippies, but with money. Yeah, they were Yippies. Both were about our age and wanted a log home kit right away. During the late seventies there were relatively few log home companies around and most were back East. They had planned on ordering one from Missouri until they had heard about us and our free 150 mile delivery promotion. I sent their 50% deposit to Anderson, signed his contract and were told to expect delivery in about eight weeks. I think the entire log home package for this two bedroom, two bath log home kit, was around $15,000.00. Neither of us, my partners or the buyers really knew what was included, it was way too confusing, but they trusted us. He worked me hard to get a 100% deposit out of these customers, even offering a 5% discount for cash. It seemed everyone else had fallen for it, but we were living on Corn Flakes, peanut butter sandwiches and Top Ramen noodles every day. And, $7500.00 was a lot of money to each and every one of us back then. Luckily they wanted to wait.