Guy C. Lee Building Materials, a long-standing building supply company in North Carolina has purchased one of Wilmington’s oldest family-owned businesses, E.W. Godwin’s Sons Lumber Co.
The buyout is a new step for both businesses and allows Smithfield-headquartered Guy C. Lee to fully integrate into the Wilmington market while still maintaining nearby Sneads Ferry and Shallotte locations.
“Our industry has been consolidating over the last decade,” said Zack Godwin, who served as the company’s president and is staying on during the transition before retiring this summer.
Godwin said that other issues such as employee retention and ever-growing competition led the family to sell to Guy C. Lee.
Lewis Connor, who will serve as general manager of the Wilmington Guy C. Lee location, said that both businesses have a similar customer, and Guy C. Lee is ready to work with the customers that have long done business with Godwin.
The Godwin name will remain on the business for the foreseeable future, and the transition has been smooth, Guy C. Lee CEO Cory Jameson said.
The sale included all E.W. Godwin Lumber Co.'s assets, according to Jameson. The deal's financial terms were not disclosed.
The purchase ends over a century of the Godwin family’s lumber mill in Southeastern North Carolina.
E.W. Godwin came to Pender County from Delaware in 1906 to form his sawmill business. By 1909, he set up his store along Castle Hayne Road, where it has remained ever since.
Zack Godwin said what kept the company going for so many years was the loyal customer base that the company has managed to hold on to.
“Our two cultures align well with both Godwin and Guy C. Lee being family run,” Guy C. Lee’s Jameson said.
He added that the Godwin and Lee families have known each other for many years throughout the lumber business so it was an obvious collaboration for both companies. While Godwin’s was formed early in the 20th century, Guy C. Lee was founded in Smithfield in 1924 and now has offices in North and South Carolina.
“We see this as a win for both parties, and the future is bright,” Jameson said, believing that the deal will expand Guy C. Lee’s foothold in Brunswick and southern Onslow counties.
“We value the Godwin family as well as the employees that bring their business to life,” he said. “Every single person on staff will be able to stay on. We look forward to serving the Wilmington market.”