In 1978 Bellingham Lumber Company (Belco) was created as an office wholesale lumber brokerage firm. In 1980, managing partner John Staley, purchased the company and began putting inventory on the ground around the greater Seattle area to better service its growing customer base in Alaska.
John Staley was a second generation forest products professional following the footsteps of his father Jack Staley who managed the US Plywood operations in Spokane after he served in WWII.
In 1982 John took the next big step and purchased property in Lakewood, Washington just south of Tacoma. Belco began operations as a wholesale distribution yard serving Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Belco’s “Service First” reputation and expanded offerings propelled record growth. They soon became one of the largest distributors in the Northwest.
Tragedy struck in 1991, when, after a three year battle with cancer, John died from a rare form of Leukemia at the young age of 45. He left a wife, four children and a giant shadow. Throughout the 90s, the company persevered. Three Staley siblings led by Bill Staley purchased the company in 1999, intent on continuing the service first Staley legacy that had become so well known in the forest
In 2000, at the dawn of the new millennium, Belco acquired an eight-acre parcel near the Port of Tacoma and began constructing a state of the art warehouse facility and rail spur.
Seizing a market opportunity to provide better quality primed SPF fascia, Belco revolutionized the product category when it created The ArmorCoat Process in 2002. High quality raw wood was sourced, manufactured and given a proprietary primer coating. ArmorCoat entered the fascia/trim market in 2003 and demand was robust from the outset. In short order, Belco took steps to increase capacity and quality control. By January, 2004 Belco acquired a 16-acre manufacturing facility in Shelton, Washington and redesigned the facility to produce ArmorCoat more efficiently.
As ArmorCoat grew to become the core product defining the company, it became prudent to consolidate operations to the Shelton facility. The Tacoma distribution center was sold to Parr Lumber out of Hillsboro Oregon in 2007.
In 2015 Belco incorporated its service first dictum into “Our Essential Intent”, a document that harnesses founder John Staley’s spirit, “to increase the value it delivers to customers every day.” For Belco that means continual improvement in our relationships and products.
2015 also saw the advent of ArmorCoat XT featuring Wolman AG® surface treatment now standard on all combed trim products. In late 2015 Belco launched the XT Post, a glue-laminated engineered column to complete the ArmorCoat XT product line.
In April of 2016 Belco installed a new planer and coating system which allows the company to run its massive 8×8 XT Posts through production.