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about us

Wilson Worth Starr began the business in 1909 and his family continues to own and operate the company today. The company has been under the leadership of only four different managers in its 115-year history.

W.W. Starr began the company on November 1, 1909. Assets included a wagon, a team of two mules and one hired hand. During his lifetime, Starr acquired lumber yards in nearby communities, and the number of retail locations reached 14 at its peak. Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Starr earned a reputation as a community builder as well as a successful businessman.

Starr’s only child, Mildred, married Norman Ryerson, an electrical engineer from Chicago. The Ryersons moved to Oklahoma, where Norman worked for Mr. Starr, and eventually succeeded him as chief operator. During Ryerson's tenure, the company closed many of the retail sites, mostly in small towns that were declining. At the same time, competition and transportation had improved, so Ryerson concentrated his focus on strengthening the Alva location, the largest market. Aging and wanting to pursue other interests, Ryerson realized the need for new leadership and turned the business over to his only son, Richard, in 1960.

Richard Ryerson entered the business and immediately finished the job his father started, closing the Hopeton, Carmen, and Dacoma locations. Under his leadership, the company prospered and acquired two new larger lumber yards, one in Woodward, and one in Blackwell. In 1998, Richard welcomed his son, John, to join him in the family business after ten years in the financial sector.


Continuing to seek growth opportunities, John negotiated the purchase of the Athey lumberyard in Enid in 2015. Athey was a long-term successful Enid store for several decades and has proven to be a great fit with Starr. John currently serves as President of the Corporation.


Another important strategic move involved major investments in all four locations to transition from a store-front lumber yard to a larger home center format. Today, the four Starr locations have solidified Starr’s position as the preeminent lumber and building materials provider in northwest Oklahoma, as the company looks forward to a bright future.

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