Meek's purchases Barton's

Thursday, May 6, 2010

E.C. Barton and Company, headquartered in Jonesboro, Ark., is leaving the retail market in southwest Missouri and has signed a deal to sell the assets of seven Barton's retail building material stores to Meek's Lumber, headquartered in Springfield. The deal will be finalized on May 7.

According to a release from Barton's corporate office, Barton's stores in Shell Knob, Mt. Vernon and Nevada will continue to operate as Meek's Lumber facilities.

"The stores in Monett, Kimberling City, Carthage and El Dorado Springs will be consolidated with other Meek's locations in those market areas," the release stated.

According to Jeff Chastain, internal communications specialist for E.C. Barton and Company, major customers were notified by letter of the closing last week. No signs announcing the closing were posted at the Monett store Tuesday.

"The move reflects a trend in regional consolidation in the building material industry," Chastain said.

"Bartons will no longer operate in southwest Missouri following this transaction," Chastain continued. "The closest presence that parent company E.C. Barton and Company will have are surplus warehouse locations in Springfield and Rogers, Ark. Barton's will continue to operate 12 stores in Missouri and Arkansas."

"Barton's is a fantastic operation, and we are excited to be entering new markets in Mt. Vernon, Shell Knob and Nevada," said Charles Meek, general manager of Meek's Lumber.

Niel Crowson, president of E.C. Barton and Company, indicated there would be a "seamless transfer of business to a quality, well respected building material company."

Details about the disposition of the employees with Barton's would not be announced until after the deal closed on Friday.

Eddie Davison, manager of the Shell Knob Barton's store, said he would learn on Wednesday if his facility would be open for regular hours from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Barton's has been in the Monett market since buying Tapjac in 2000. Both Barton's and Meek's are ranked in the top 40 largest building material companies nationally by Home Center News in 2009.

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