Ganahl Lumber's story began when brothers Christian and Franz Ganahl moved west from St. Louis, Mo. and founded C. Ganahl Lumber Co. in 1884. They soon opened a second location using their innovative branch yard theory, a model we still use today.
Building was flourishing in Los Angeles back then, and many people were moving west because the transcontinental railroad was offering trips to California for $1. L.A. had a growing population of 22,000, and Christian Ganahl seized the opportunity to purchase a lumber company he named the C. Ganahl Lumber Company. A few years later, he made a daring move and opened a second lumberyard. Although his "branch yard theory" was a new business idea, it took off and eventually he had several yards located throughout the Los Angeles area, including one he opened in Anaheim in 1904. Up to this point, the C. Ganahl Lumber Company sold only lumber and cement.
Early 20th Century
Two years after the Anaheim yard opened, Christian took another risk and added a new product: plywood. In 1921, Christian's nephew, Ernest, bought a part interest in the Anaheim yard with Charles Grimm, the yard's manager, and renamed it the Ganahl-Grimm Lumber Co. In 1928, they built another store in Lake Arrowhead. This yard thrived during the Great Depression, because the movie industry was booming and Hollywood stars were building summer homes there. Following the death of Grimm in the 1930s, Ernest Ganahl bought his family's interest and changed the name to the Ernest Ganahl Lumber Company. He also made his contribution to the changing needs of the lumber business by adding hardware to Ganahl's growing product line.
Post World War II
After World War II ended, Ernest's son, John, returned home and joined the family business. In the late ‘40s interest in millwork products was growing, so Ganahl opened a mill division and went to work manufacturing cabinets for the many schools being built in the area. Ernest died in 1959 and John became president of the company, and 1964 John changed the name to Ganahl Lumber Company. As with many family businesses, the Ganahl children worked at the lumberyard part-time and during summers while they were going to school.
The Modern Era
Our current history began when John's son, Peter, joined the company full-time in 1968 and became president of the company in 1973 upon the death of his father. That same year, John Jr. and his brother Andrew joined the company.
By 1972 Ganahl Lumber was operating out of three yards in Anaheim, Lake Arrowhead and Corona; the current 20-acre Anaheim location was built in 1978. Several yards were opened, closed, and relocated over the next few decades, utilizing the branch yard theory to best serve the ever-expanding Southern California market.
The 1990s were a time of rapid expansion as Ganahl purchased Capistrano Lumber in 1995, then nearly doubled in size by acquiring four yards in Costa Mesa, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, and Huntington Beach from Barr Lumber.
The new century brought further expansion with the acquisitions of Laguna Beach Lumber in 2001 and Buena Park Lumber in 2002, increasing our footprint to eight locations.
The rise from the Great Recession began with the opening of a new Pasadena branch in 2012, then a new Torrance branch in 2017, giving us a strong foothold in the greater Los Angeles market. Expansion has continued with either major remodels or brand new facilities in Costa Mesa, Los Alamitos, and San Juan Capistrano. Our most recent acquisition of Northridge Lumber in 2022 brings us into the San Fernando Valley, giving us 11 locations —and we have our sights set on continuing our growth in Southern California to provide the highest level of service to pro builders throughout the region.