About Economy Lumber
Economy Lumber was founded in 1936 by Herbert Mabie and Charles Lannin, both of whom formerly worked at Pacific Manufacturing in Santa Clara. The first lumberyard was in an unincorporated district of Santa Clara County known as “Burbank”. This facility would remain in place for the next 24 years.
1937, Lewis C. Woodfill was hired and worked as a millman. He later became a partner in the business.
In 1950, original partner Mabie started an independent lumberyard five miles to the south, on purchased land amid the orchards of Campbell on South Winchester Road. He took on a small group of partners, including Woodfill and Fred K. Saunders, who had previously been with Hubbard & Johnson Lumber.
By 1952, Lannin had been bought out of the Economy Lumber partnership, and both yards were then operated under the Economy Lumber name. This yard also operated briefly under the name Allied Lumber. In approximately 1960, the original yard on West San Carlos Street was closed, a decision likely driven by rising property values.
By this time the partnership had experienced some transitions, but still included Mabie, Saunders, and Woodfill. Within a couple of years Mabie’s position had been replaced by G.R. “Roy” Bleecker, who had a background in the logging industry.
In 1964, Bleecker sold his interest in the business to Saunders and Woodfill and in 1976, sold the land as well. In 1978, Saunders and Woodfill began selling their interests in the operation and land to their sons, John A. Saunders and William Woodfill.
In 2017, Woodfill sold his interest and the company is now jointly owned by father and son, John A. Saunders and John D. Saunders, representing the third generation of family business operations.
Economy Lumber has remained successful over the years, adding new products and services as needed to stay competitive in the lumber and building materials business. As with any number of businesses in earthquake-prone California, the 1989 Loma Prieta hit the area just as the new store was stocked.
The company has been affiliated with LMC, an industry buying cooperative since 2000 and was named the “Business of the Year” in Campbell in 2013. Economy Lumber is also active in lumber industry trade organizations. Both John A. Saunders and John D. Saunders have been president of the Lumber Association of California & Nevada, now the West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association. John D. “JD” Saunders was also the chair of the National Lumber & Building Materials Dealers Association in 2015.
The company remains active in community and charitable projects, including community theater, Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts of America, Santa Clara University, high school shop classes and the San Jose City College Construction Technology program.