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How Does Your Local Lumber Supplier Compare to Big Box Stores?

Benefits of local lumber supplier

Whether you’re an avid woodworker or just dipping your toes into DIY building projects, you have a lot of options when it comes to buying your wood. To help you decide where to purchase your lumber, we’re breaking down some of the most important things to consider when shopping for lumber and seeing how local suppliers compare to the big box stores. 

Local Lumber Supplier vs Big Box Store: Head-to-head Comparison

Teams That Care About Your Best Interest

Local lumber suppliers are invested in their communities and want to help customers find the best solution for their needs. A specialty store values people over profits and will sell you the right lumber for your project, rather than upselling to a more costly alternative. Big box stores have corporate goals and targets to hit, which may take priority over what best meets your needs.  

Winner: Local lumber supplier 

Free Technical Expertise 

Employees at your local lumber supplier are passionate about lumber and have first-hand experience with a large variety of woodworking projects. Lumber suppliers love talking about wood and will take their time to understand your project goals. Their depth of experience means we can answer all your questions and make reliable product recommendations. Employees at big box stores don’t specialize in wood and have to know a little about every product they carry. While they may be able to give you some general recommendations, big box store employees don’t have specialized knowledge about wood.    

Winner: Local lumber supplier 


Many people think big box stores are always cheaper than local suppliers, but that’s a myth.  The price of wood can depend on several factors, including the type of wood, where it’s sourced from, and how often the store purchases that particular type of wood. Since lumber yards specialize in lumber, they purchase wood frequently and in large volumes. This helps local suppliers keep the price competitive when compared to big box stores.  

Winner: Tie

High-Quality Wood 

Local lumberyards tend to take better care of their wood. Big box stores have higher foot traffic, which means more customers are sorting through stacks to find what they want.  This can lead to damaged wood and a picked-over selection. Lumber yards specialize in wood and handle it accordingly.  In addition to correctly storing and preserving the wood, lumber yards will often keep track of environmental conditions to ensure their wood retains its quality and integrity no matter what. 

Winner: Local lumber supplier 

Lumber Selections 

In a lumber yard, wood is the product, and you can expect to find a diverse product selection. This is especially important if you’re looking for an unconventional or specialty wood that’s more difficult to source. Since big box stores sell a variety of products, you’ll likely only find the most popular wood varieties there.  

Winner: Local lumber supplier 

Quality Referrals 

If you’re buying lumber but planning to outsource the work, it can be notoriously difficult to find the right contractor for your project. Local suppliers are well-connected to the community, which means they’re a great source for referrals. Since your local supplier has worked with a number of contractors over the years, they can give you a trustworthy referral for the specific project you’re working on.   

Winner: Local lumber supplier  

Across the board, local lumber suppliers beat out big box stores when it comes to the quality of the product, choices of lumber, customer service, and expertise. These factors, combined with competitive wood pricing, make it easy to choose a local lumber supplier over national chains.  If you’re looking for a local lumber supplier near you, contact Forest Plywood.  In addition to our large stock, we also have our own in-house mill, which allows us to provide custom cuts and mouldings with an incredibly fast turnaround time.