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Entrepreneurs of the Year | Al Bavry

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 11:00 a.m. May 15, 2015
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Why we chose him:
The independent lumberyard industry, trampled by the recession and left with facilities that are costly to operate, inches toward extinction.

But Al Bavry, 77, provides a remedy for the struggling sector. He's done that through a series of counterintuitive moves at Kimal Lumber, which he co-founded in 1981. Revenues are up 175% since 2011, to more than $33 million, and while that's off from the boom years, it's healthy recovery-era growth.

Beyond more demand for lumber, the recent success also stems from Bavry's ability to foster creativity and then lead the execution. Indiana-based industry consultant Greg Brooks, who has known Bavry for 20 years, is one of many who pay Bavry high praise when he calls the Kimal executive “the Steve Jobs of lumber.”

A noteworthy Bavry-led innovation is the Kimal Event Center in Venice, a $2 million project built in 2006 under green building standards. Another example: A drive-thru lumberyard Kimal opened in late 2013.

One of the few like it in Florida, the lumberyard sells products in strategically designed aisles that accommodate vehicles up to a full-size, four-door pickup truck with a trailer. The project, along with an 8,400-square-foot hardware store connected to the building, cost around $4 million.

Longtime Sarasota construction executive Jon Swift, who worked on the drive-thru lumberyard, says Bavry also balances creativity with a pragmatic, workmanlike focus. So when the downturn hit, Kimal Lumber conserved resources. “They survived the recession,” says Swift, “and were able to come back on the other side.”

2012: $20.3 million
2013: $24.8 million
2014: $33.1 million

2012: 86
2013: 100
2014: 148

- Mark Gordon


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