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2017 Young Retailer of the Year: Jason Plummer

Multi-store Retailer

R.P. Lumber, Edwardsville, Illinois

Vice President

Jason Plummer’s commitment to excellence is shown in his dedication to constantly improving and growing R.P. Lumber, one of the largest family-owned hardware and building material dealers in the country.  Plummer is involved in numerous functions at R.P. Lumber, including new store development, finance, merchandising, purchasing, and operations.

“I love every minute of it,” said Plummer, “I enjoy knowing you are never really done, there is always something you can do a little better. You can’t rest because someone out there is always working.”

Plummer also pointed out the close knit organization at R.P. as a strength of the company.

“My parents, Robert and Donna, and my sisters, Julie and Jenny work in the business every day. Not many people get that opportunity,” he added. “It is a blessing to be able to work every day with your family and the many great team members we have at R.P.  This year is our 40th anniversary and we have a lot of team members that have been with us 20, 25 and 30 plus years.  That’s a testament to the company and our team.”

R.P. Lumber was founded by Jason’s parents, Robert and Donna Plummer, in January, 1977, with one store in Staunton, IL.  The company has since grown to 66 stores across Illinois and Missouri.  The company recently launched a new inventory and merchandising program that will roll out to all their locations this year.  Plummer noted, “We operate in an extremely competitive and low margin business.  I think that forces you to grow and it also forces you to constantly finds ways to improve.”

“My goal is to make sure our team members and existing stores are constantly improving,” says Plummer. “We want to perform at our best so we can deliver R.P.’s Best Service and Best Value, our hallmark. I am more concerned about how existing stores operate than I am about finding a new store.”

Additionally, Plummer is working on expanding R.P. Lumber’s digital capabilities. He recently rolled out a new more interactive website and entered a partnership with an ecommerce platform allowing the company to offer over 100,000 items for sale online.  Other future initiatives on Plummer’s plate include opening a couple new stores later this year and expanding the company’s kitchen and bath business.

Plummer consistently works to improve himself professionally by staying up to date with trends and being involved within the industry. He’s on the board of the Illinois Lumber and Material Dealers Association and remains active with other organizations such as the Illinois Business Alliance and numerous Chamber of Commerce as a voice for business in regards to government regulations, taxation, and other issues impacting employment, growth, and economic opportunity.

Plummer stays deeply involved in other family businesses spanning several industries.

“We’re active in a few things, especially real estate related businesses, and I enjoy them a lot, but the vast majority of my time is focused on R.P. Lumber,” said Plummer.  “I think every business and every industry is complex and difficult in its own way, but I put the building materials retailing industry up there against any.  It’s tough and takes constant focus.  I enjoy the challenge.”

Plummer and his wife, Shannon, live in Edwardsville with their dog, Rambo.  Like R.P. Lumber, he is dedicated to serving local communities.  He serves on the board of TheBANK of Edwardsville, is a member of the First Baptist Church of Maryville, serves on the board for Carmi Baptist Children’s Home, and is active in several other civic and charitable organizations.

Plummer won the 2010 Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Illinois and suffered a very narrow defeat in the general election.  Plummer stays politically active by dedicating his time to help with campaigns and events for candidates committed to economic growth, strong families, and small government. Additionally, as a former Army ROTC cadet and having served as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer for eight years, Plummer continues to support military and veteran organizations.

Watch Plummer’s video here.

About Hilary Welter

As marketing and research coordinator, it’s Hilary’s duty to keep retailers informed about NRHA products and services and to help coordinate industry research projects. Additionally, Hilary is the voice behind NRHA’s and Hardware Retailing’s social media accounts. She appreciates a good book, spicy food, well-made horror films, craft beer and exploring new places near and far.

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