COOLEY WHOLESALE LUMBER CO. was started in 1945 by H. DEAN COOLEY in Holbrook, AZ. Availability of lumber was very limited to the domestic market during the World War II years as much of it was committed to the war effort. Mr. Cooley worked in the Arizona lumber mill industry during these years and became acquainted with several lumber mill owners and managers in Northern Arizona.
Following the war, the demand for lumber in the Phoenix area was high. The population was increasing rapidly. Construction, which had been curtailed during the war had a lot of catching up to do.
For a couple of years, there was not enough lumber to go around, but because of Mr. Cooley's relationship with the mills he was able to have lumber available.
In 1949, Mr. Cooley moved his company to Mesa, AZ where he established a holding yard. During these early years he hauled hay and cattle feed to ranchers in Northern Arizona and lumber back to the Phoenix area.
In 1956, his oldest son, Dean L. Cooley, began driving for his father, hauling lumber on a 4-banger GMC truck and semi-trailer. Mill contacts continued to grow as the company continued to supply customers with the products they required.
In 1959 Mr. Cooley and his son, Dean, opened 15th AVE. LUMBER CO., a retail-contractor division in Phoenix. Cooley Wholesale sales and yard operations moved there also. During these years, 1960 - 1974, Cooley Wholesale Lumber sales were limited to some old faithful accounts and phone sales resulting from an occasional sales offering mailer. No outside sales contacts were made, as 15th AVE. LUMBER CO. was rapidly growing and requiring most of the available time and resources.
In 1969, the two lumber divisions were incorporated as 15th AVE. LUMBER CO. with H. DEAN COOLEY, President, and DEAN L. COOLEY Secretary and General Manager. On July 4, 1970 H. DEAN COOLEY passed away, after which his son DEAN L. COOLEY became President and MRS. ELLEN COOLEY, wife of H. DEAN COOLEY, became corporate secretary.
In 1972, the retail yard name changed first to 15th AVE. LUMBERJACK and then to LUMBERJACK BUILDING MATERIALS to facilitate opening retail yards in other locations. Property was acquired in Mesa, AZ., but before the second LUMBERJACK location could be opened, the buildings were burned down by vagrants.
In 1975, the decision was made to become more aggressive in the wholesale market by hiring the first salesman to represent COOLEY WHOLESALE exclusively. COOLEY operated from the LUMBERJACK BUILDING MATERIALS location until 1978, when they opened a separate wholesale yard and sales office in Phoenix, where sales increased significantly.
In 1979, COOLEY WHOLESALE moved to their present location, a 10 acre site at 1930 West Broadway, Phoenix, AZ.
In 1981, an expanded remanufacturing plant was built to better serve the special requirements of the packaging, and manufacturing industry. In 1988, COOLEY WHOLESALE expanded the reman facility to a second building, adding production trim saws, band saw, moulder, and new sawdust bins.
In 1992, 15th AVE. LUMBER CO. (The corporation which owns both COOLEY WHOLESALE and LUMBERJACK) was honored in the business community as an "Arizona 100" company, which ranks the top privately held companies in Arizona, entering the list for the first time in the 98th position. The requirements for ranking are based on revenue and employment. An outstanding management team and good employees made this possible.
In 1994, due to changes that needed to be made in the corporate structure, the decision was made to change the corporate name to COOLEY INDUSTRIES, and the wholesale business name to COOLEY FOREST PRODUCTS, and to retain LUMBERJACK BUILDING MATERIALS as the name of the retail and contractor business.
We are proud to be part of Arizona's growth and look forward to the coming years as we gear up to the challenges of doing business in the 21st century.