In April of 1948, Mr. and Mrs. Ivan S. Kropf, owners and operators of a saw mill and lumber yard near Molalla, OR, purchased the lumber yard on the east side of Main Street, the current location of Central Kansas Credit Union. Lumber, millwork, hardware, paint, cement, and coal were the principal items sold, and our venture was launched with only two employees!
Over the years, the Hesston community and our company continued to expand. By 1963, Kropf Lumber needed more space so land was purchased on Lancaster Ave. The first building to be built was a shop building, followed by warehouse buildings and the new store. In the late 1980s we were running out of showroom area too, and began thinking about how the store could be expanded.
But March 13, 1990 will be remembered by the Hesston community as well as by Kropf Lumber employees as a fateful day. Shortly after closing time, the business was struck by a powerful tornado that destroyed the store and adjacent warehouses. As the tornado roared through town it left a trail of twisted debris. And as employees dug into the massive task of cleaning up, they also needed to supply building materials for others who had suffered losses.
As a result of the tornado a new store and showroom were constructed on the east side of the street opposite the old location. The new store was almost triple the size of former one. The new facility opened in January of 1991. Today, our company can boast nearly 40 full-time employees and a proven record of continuing success serving Central Kansas with lumber and building materials. Kropf Lumber is currently owned by Ken Kropf, who is the grandson of Ivan, our founder.