Truckee lumber company stays in the family
For more than 75 years Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Company has been all in the family ” and the business will continue to stay that way as the next generation prepares to step in.
Company president Breeze Cross announced in late January that he will be retiring from the business 35 years after stepping into the family lumber trade. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, Cross will now pass on the family trade, making Truckee -Tahoe Lumber Company a fourth-generation business.
When Cross first started working for his father at the lumber company in the early 1970s he said he had no intention of taking over the business.
“I was fortunate to learn the industry and business on the job,” Breeze Cross said. “I grew up inside the business.”
The lumber company was founded in Truckee in 1931 by E.T. Robie and was purchased by Breeze Cross’ grandfather, Charlie Cross, upon Robie’s death in 1950. The company was the main supplier for the construction of Squaw Valley’s Olympic Village for the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.
Chal Cross, Breeze Cross’ father, steered the way during the region’s building boom in the 1970s.
The company itself has expanded in the years Breeze Cross has been in charge, which includes a growing number of employees. The lumber industry has become more competitive, with more products available, and more volume of inventory to deal with, Breeze Cross said.
Despite an evolving industry, the business was “grounded in integrity,” Breeze Cross said.
“Many of the relationships my grandfather and father had were based on a handshake,” Breeze Cross said. “We’ve always tried to instill that commitment to understand and satisfy the needs of our customers.”
Andrew Cross said he is looking forward to “continue the legacy” his family has established with the downtown Truckee business. Within the last three months everything just seemed to fall into place, Andrew Cross said.
But long before Andrew Cross takes over the company he must first qualify for the job, Breeze Cross said. Job criteria includes a college education, outside work experience, and community involvement in order to prove himself, Breeze Cross said.
For the next three years Andrew Cross will work side-by-side with every company employee because “it’s hard to manage something you don’t understand,” Breeze Cross said.
“I got to shovel snow all day,” Andrew Cross said on Friday of starting out as a lumber yard laborer.
Jarrod Cross, Breeze Cross’ nephew, has also decided to join the company’s accounting department.
As Breeze Cross makes his transition into retirement, he will take the position of chairman of the company’s Board of Directors and still work part-time, he said.
There won’t be any immediate changes within the company, Breeze Cross said. Tony Reid will assume the role of company president and chief financial officer while the Cross family is in transition, he said.
Breeze Cross said he will continue to keep in contact with his customers and stay actively involved in the lumber industry.
“By letting go of the day-to-day it will allow me to pursue the things of interest to me,” said Breeze Cross of his plan to continue his involvement with local nonprofit organizations as well as other business ventures.
As time goes by with Andrew Cross moving up in the company into a leadership role, he will give him advice ” if he even wants it, Breeze Cross laughed.
“He’s (Breeze Cross) the best businessman I’ve ever met,” Andrew Cross said. “He’s a wealth of knowledge.”
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