Southern Lumber and Millwork Corporation, located in Charleston, SC, was organized in 1940 by Herman Albrecht, Jr. With ten years of building materials and millwork experience behind him as well as additional experience as a teacher of carpentry and blueprint reading at Murray Vocational High School, he started a small millwork business in the backyard of his home. In 1941 Raymond Rike, a former millwork salesman, was offered an opportunity to become a partner in the business. With his years of millwork and selling experience, Raymond was able to take over the estimating and sales work, which allowed Herman to devote his efforts to managing the shop and purchasing inventory. From a modest start in a small waterfront warehouse at 160 East Bay Street, the company enjoyed a strong and steady growth.
As the business prospered, it experienced a few growing pains. Quarters became too cramped and lumber was scattered about on nearby leased lots. This situation lasted until plans were drawn for a new plant to be located on King Street on a lot occupying seven acres. The building was completed in September, 1945.
Hugo was the strongest hurricane to make landfall on the continental U.S. since Hurricane Camille in 1969. Along the coast of South Carolina, Hugo set new records for storm surge heights along the U.S. East Coast, reaching 20.2 ft (6.2 m) near McClellanville, South Carolina. The surge and winds wrought extensive damage across South Carolina's barrier islands, destroying many beachfront homes and other coastal installations. Hugo's northward acceleration at landfall led to unusually large and significant impacts to forests between South Carolina and Virginia, inflicting further damage to property; in South Carolina alone the loss of timber was estimated at $1.04 billion. Flood and wind impacts followed Hugo across much of the eastern United States and into eastern Canada.
The present day business is still located in the original building constructed in 1945, which was noted for being the building with the “round corners”. In 1995 major renovations were made to the interior of the building, expanding the sales area into the warehouse and creating a showroom for millwork displays. Additional office space was added to the rear of the building.
Southern Lumber and Millwork is a member of the Southern Building Material Dealers Association, and its founder, Herman Albrecht Jr.; his daughter, Joye Shuler; and three grandsons, Will Albrecht, Ben Albrecht, Jr., and Thad Shuler have all served on the board. In 1998, it received the association’s prestigious Dealer of the Year award. Southern Lumber is also a member of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association, and has won first place honors in the Home Show several times.
A modern, warm and inviting space with conference rooms, and extensive window and door displays was constructed along with adding and updating office space that doubled as a showroom space.
New warehouse to hold window and door inventory; also brought back Marine Treated line of products back.
Southern Lumber maintains ties to the Charleston community by supporting local schools and providing learning opportunities for students with an interest in millwork and carpentry. The company continues to enjoy a steady growth, built on the strong foundation started by Mr. Albrecht in 1940.