Celebrating the Strength Within: 75 Years of Brand Vaughan Lumber

Jon Vaughan

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This year, the Brand Vaughan Lumber family celebrates 75 years of business. It’s been a pleasure and an honor serving our customers, so in commemoration, we wanted to take a look at some of the most pivotal moments in our history.

Black and white photo of R.L. Brand and Cy Vaughan standing in front of the Brand-Vaughan Lumber Co. sign.

Brand Vaughan Lumber was established in 1946 by founders R.L. Brand and Cy Vaughan, who joined forces with the common goal of building a high-quality business committed to outstanding service.

These two men built a strong foundation for the future of the Atlanta-based business. The post-World War II economy brought a boom in construction and Brand Vaughan was ready to serve the industry.

The company was founded on the core beliefs that our team strives to embody even today:

As a lumber company, Brand Vaughan may have had humble beginnings, but it began to see growth in the 1960s.

“In 1963, we added a more modern and functional office building and showroom to the original location,” says Jon Vaughan, President and Chief Operating Officer. “It was pretty old school before that, and old school in 1963 was pretty old.”

“Moving to an official office was a huge step for the team,” says Chip Vaughan, Chief Executive Officer. “Prior to this point, we were essentially working straight out of the lumber yard.”

Chip officially joined his father at the company in 1976. Brand Vaughan Lumber evolved as a family-owned business when Chip’s son, Jon, joined in the family tradition in 2006.

Jon Vaughan, Chip Vaughan and Cy Vaughan of Brand Vaughan Lumber are posed in their lumber yard.

One of Brand Vaughan’s long-held values is clarity: clarity in business, in relationships and in communication. When business goals and metrics are transparent to everyone on the team, a clear path towards those goals can be established and tracked. Technology supports this clarity, and early on, the executive team at Brand Vaughan knew that some kind of automation was needed for them to grow.

“Our first year of computerization was in 1988 and included our first software and management computer system. It was called ‘Aid Man’,” laughs Jon.

“It was expensive by today’s standards,” says Chip, “and it got us to having computerized accounting software, invoicing, receiving, things like that.”

Brand Vaughan was able to grow further with these kinds of efficiencies, and in 1994, Brand Vaughan purchased the Brown Lumber Company in Lawrenceville, GA.

“That was the first expansion. The first satellite and growth extension of our business,” says Jon. “This gave us more of a footprint. We were already shipping to the north side, so adding a presence was really helpful.”

For most of us in the construction industry, the housing recession of 2008 was a serious challenge. “At times, the 2008 recession felt never-ending,” says Jon. “We’re still grateful to our partners, founders and employees who helped us get through it.”

When Brand Vaughan was able to hire more team members in late 2010, Jon realized they’d survived the housing crisis. “The timely hires and our strong reputation in the market helped us get through,” says Jon. “It wasn’t until early 2011 that we recovered enough to look around and realize that our business survived when many others didn’t.”

In fact, 2011 brought more growth for Brand Vaughan, which included the Columbus location and a new partnership with Boise Cascade.

“The Boise Cascade partnership gave us yet another way to work with our customers. It was a really big deal,” says Jon. “Boise enables us to provide more innovative products to our builder partners, increasing their efficiency, quality and timelines.”

Overhead view of lumber supply yard at Brand Vaughan Lumber, with stacks of products and trucks seen from above.

In 2012, Brand Vaughan Lumber opened a door shop at their Tucker location. “The Tucker door shop was integral in our success coming out of the recession,” says Jon. “Residential new construction had started up again, and the door shop enabled us to offer shorter lead times and more variety to our builders at a lower cost.”

The Tucker location features Brand Vaughan’s first Sawtec: an engineered wood saw that cuts and labels joists more efficiently. These kinds of improvements and equipment helped support our continued expansion, and in 2013, Brand Vaughan launched the Installed Sales program.

“The ability to install products, as well as sell them, enabled us to step up and join our customers in a way that we couldn’t before,” says Jon. “We were able to partner more fully and become an integrated part of our customers’ business.”

Brand Vaughan opened several more locations in these last few years to help serve the growing Atlanta and southwest Georgia regions:

Employees from Brand Vaughan gather in the lumber yard and smile for the camera.

Being a successful lumber company doesn’t mean there aren’t setbacks. There were a few hiccups for Brand Vaughan over the years, and those are the kinds of challenges that we try to learn from.

Brand Vaughan has stayed successful because of the people who make up our team, and the company stays committed to keeping employees happy. The Java with Jon program started in 2018, along with other employee programs, to ensure that our team members feel appreciated and heard.

Today, Brand Vaughan Lumber celebrates not only 75 years in business, but its third consecutive year of earning the Top Workplaces award from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is truly a testament to our incredible team who had to navigate an unprecedented year of challenges,” Chip commented.

Part of our continued growth is the support that we receive from our partners. In July of 2021, Brand Vaughan Lumber joined US LBM, “a partner that shares our commitment to people, innovation and delivering extra mile service,” Jon said in a press release. “This partnership will allow us to continue to grow and create new opportunities for our valued team members and customers, building on our message of ‘Strength Lies Within’.”

In honor of Brand Vaughan’s 75th anniversary, the entire month will be a celebration! There will be throwback photos and walks down memory lane, plus some BIG prize giveaways. We can’t wait to share how much the Atlanta area has changed over the years. Everyone is invited to get involved in the celebration by following each of our social media channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.