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What happened to Payless Cashways Inc?

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January 17, 2008 1:34AM

Payless Cashways Inc. was a major building materials retailer in the 1980s and 1990s and many consider it the first national chain to implement the powerful DIY strategy. They operated throughout the Mid West under the names Payless Cashways, Hugh M. Woods, Furrow, Lumberjack, Knox Lumber and for a while Sommerville Lumber was a wholly owned subsidiary. They faced their first major challenge in the mid 80s when they were the target of a leveraged buyout led by Asher Edleman and Sutherland Lumber. The resulting Payless Cashways stock buyback left them saddled with debt that almost stopped the expansion and steered the retailer to be left behind by the upstart "Big Box" home centers like Builders Square and Home Club (later Home Base). The company struggled through the nineties with moderate successes and recurrent failures and never regained the glory days of their first big expansion. The last straw was the burst of the dot com era that left many banks unwilling to continue the dream of it ever becoming a viable competitor to the successful Home Depot and emerging Lowes chains. On Sept. 10th, 2001 the company (already in bankruptcy) was ordered to be liquidated.