Solano County’s Oldest Lumberyard
VALLEJO, Calif. – Foster Lumber Yards, a division of Central Valley, a U.S. top-100 building supply company, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in September. As Vallejo’s oldest continually operating business, and Solano county’s oldest lumberyard, Foster Lumber first opened in 1920 at the corner of Napa and Maryland Streets in Vallejo. The original operation started as a planing mill, but shortly thereafter entered the retail lumber business, which it has maintained since.
Founded by Gilbert D. Foster, the business was purchased by brothers Jim and Cecil Jones in 1946. The business remained in the Jones family until it was sold to Napa-based Central Valley in 2018, making the Patterson family the third successive family owners.
Lumber runs deep in Foster Lumber’s family owners’ pedigrees. Gilbert Foster began his career as a lumberman at the age of 15 and developed his craft as a fine interior craftsman. As an experienced designer of interior finish work, Foster Lumber achieved a local reputation for its craftsmanship. Prior to purchasing Foster Lumber Yards from Gilbert Foster, Jim and Cecil’s father James hauled lumber in the 1930s to survive the Great Depression. Steve Patterson, President and CEO of Central Valley, is the third generation and fourth president to run Central Valley having grown up in the family business – starting as a teenager sweeping yards and working his way through and up the organization.
“We have an incredible history and legacy to continue in Napa and Solano counties,” said Patterson. “Not many companies get to see its 100th birthday. Foster Lumber has more than survived, each successive generation has left behind something bigger than itself – leaving a lasting impact on its people, its community, and its customers.”
The legacy of family ownership continues with the Patterson family. Steve Patterson has seven children, with one son already spending time in the business.
At the time of the purchase by Central Valley in November 2018, David Jones, the second-generation owner and President of Foster Lumber said, “This opportunity will make us better together and make sure the legacy of Foster Lumber is in good hands moving forward.”
Joining the Central Valley family has enabled Foster Lumber’s existing one thousand customers to access more efficient purchasing, 41 additional acres of inventory, and five additional wholesale locations in Northern California including Napa, Woodland, St. Helena, American Canyon and Healdsburg.