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KC Black-owned lumber yard honors loved one, revitalizes city's east side

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Posted at 8:11 AM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 09:11:17-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For decades, Deloris Henderson got his building materials from Albert Tamm Lumber Company to rehab and remodel homes.

“I've been coming here because friendly people and the lumber is pretty good,” Henderson said. “You can buy lumber right here in your neighborhood.”

Now, the lumber yard has a new name: Eastside Lumber.

Co-owners Ebony and Daniel Edwards purchased the lumber yard last April.

“This location has been selling lumber here since the late 1800s,” Daniel Edwards said. “And we are the next generation in line to take over.”

They’re taking over a place that brings a lot of memories for Daniel.

“Albert Tamm Lumber was my grandfather's primary supplier, as a kid. He was a builder on the east side as well,” Daniel Edwards said. “I would hop in the truck with him, load up lumber.”

While the new lumber yard is known as Eastside Lumber, legally, it’s named Robert Wiley Material Supply Company, named after Daniel’s grandfather, the man who taught him the ins and outs of building something new.

“I've been in lumber all my life,” Daniel Edwards said. “I’ve been in building all my life.”

The couple is now planning to build and bring even more life to the place they call home.

“A long time ago, I realized I redlined myself out of my own neighborhood,” Daniel Edwards said. “So me and Ebony just made a choice that everything we do from this point forward would be to reinvest everything we have, back into our communities that our families grew up in.”

According to its website, 87 percent of profits are reinvested to rebuild the east side.

“Our housing development we are looking at, it's a 28-acre site, across six blocks,” Daniel Edwards said.” We’re doing 200 homes and we're going to do 200,000 square feet of supportive commercial amenity space.”

And as the pandemic continues, the couple says they’ve seen the challenges firsthand.

“The supply chain in terms of rebuilding has been a major challenge when we're talking about housing affordability,” Ebony Edwards said. “And then more specific in our case, being able to rebuild in neighborhoods that experience severe blight and vacancy.”

Although vacant, they continue to see value.

“We look at our community as super abundant and if we don't look at it that way then nobody else will,” Daniel Edwards said. “We want to supply a product that can help us reinvest those resources back into the community so we can make Kansas City stronger and make us a stronger region as a whole.”

The couple is also encouraging their three children as they rebuild and look forward to see their community grow.

“I want them to understand how valuable we are as people,” Ebony Edwards said. “I want them to understand our communities are.”

It's one of the reasons why Henderson keeps coming back; seeing himself in the area he grew up in.

“I could go to Home Depot or anywhere like that, but this, I come to see me here,” Henderson said. “I come to see me. And I'm proud of that.”

The company’s housing development project will break ground on the first six of the 200 homes and then massively scale up that process within the next three years.

To learn more about projects with Eastside Lumber, email