Address: 3 Adirondack Street
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 18, 1988
Hardware answers for thirty years
SARANAC LAKE - A screw is a screw is a screw — or so many people believe when they walk into their neighborhood hardware store and grab the first thing they find for their latest home improvement project.
Those in the hardware business know differently. They know there are many kinds of screws and nails and a variety of other implements that can make a big difference in finishing that project.
Perhaps nobody knows this better than "The Answer Man," Phil Lalande, owner of Gendron Lumber on Dorsey Street. Lalande has been in the business for thirty years, and he can help a customer figure out even the stickiest questions about lumber and hardware supplies.
Gendron's was founded by Donat Gendron in the late 1940s. At that time, the business was located on Adirondack Street in the old Kendall Lumber Company building.
It remained there until 1958, when it was incorporated as Gendron Lumber Company by four partners — Donat Gendron, his son Rene Gendron. Philip Lalande, and Larry McKillip.
They moved the business to its current location at 9 Dorsey Street, where they geared up hardware sales while gradually steering away from the building supply trade. Before then, Gendron's had been for the most part a contracting firm, with some sales of building supplies.
"(Sales) has grown gradually ever since then," Lalande said.
McKillip left the business in the late 1960s, leaving Phil Lalande and Rene Gendron to maintain the store until 1980, when Rene Gendron retired and Lalande bought out the Gendron Lumber Company.
"When I did that we ceased most of the building operation to push the retail hardware business, and we're still going strong," Lalande said.
Gendron's maintains a year-round staff of eight, with the number increasing slightly through the summer as business picks up. When the weather is good, Lalande explained, more people work on their homes and sales reflect it.
And while serving the needs of people who are improving their homes, Gendron Lumber has done some improving of its own. Lalande pointed to a number of changes made to the building in the past few years. "We've put on a new roof, we've painted the building a bright orange, we've fixed up the area where we keep the lumber," Lalande said, his voice trailing off, leaving unmentioned the many other things done to the building since then.
Many of the changes at Gendron's have been in the services offered to customers. Lalande has been affiliated with the American Hardware Co., the maker of ServiStar products, for over 20 years. The store is always improving its stock and the variety of items available to the handy man or woman.
This year, Gendron's began carrying ServiStar paints. They carried another brand for some thirty years but felt that company's service had grown less reliable, so Lalande decided it was time for a change.
The ServiStar paint is a quality product with a name that Lalande and his customers have come to trust. Gendron Lumber also carries a full line of ServiStar tools and accessories, including locks, screws, nuts, bolts, and hand tools.
Gendron's carries many other brands besides ServiStar. You'll find True Temper garden tools, Portable hand tools, Mackenburg and Duncan tools, and Scott lawn and garden products, including a variety of seeds and fertilizers.
"We go with the brand names that we know our customers can trust in all our tools," Lalande said,
If it's a big project you have in mind, you can go to Gendron's to get both the right equipment and the right lumber. Plywood? Gendron's has it in all thicknesses. Two-by-four studs or other boards? Gendron's carries Dimension products made from sturdy Western Spruce. Pressure treated lumber? They carry most sizes.
You want more? How about finished boards? Gendron's has fine Sterling Pine suitable for many projects. For those planning a roof project, asphalt shingles and other supplies are available to keep your house tightly sealed.
A trip through Gendron's reveals shelves stocked full of the miscellaneous items needed for odd projects. Tapes and adhesives, pipe connectors, sandpaper, and countless other items are available — each helping preserve Gendron Lumber's local reputation for wide variety and thoughtful service.
Lalande is not only the proprietor of the store. He has been heavily involved in the community for many years. For 24 years, he was involved in the Pee-Wee Hockey Association, serving a long tenure as president. He is currently on the board of directors of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the General Hospital of Saranac Lake.
The positions are indicative of the way Phil Lalande does business. In the community, he works to pave the way to the future. As Gendron Lumber's "Answer Man," he works to help customers meet their needs.