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Lumber supply closes

COVINGTON - PlyMart has closed its Covington lumber supply business on City Pond Road, the company's president said Thursday.

The location was one of the last casualties of the closing of PlyMart's entire lumber division. Of the company's 16 locations in the metro Atlanta area, only three remain open, and those will close in the coming weeks, PlyMart's President and CEO Ken Southerland said.

A housing slump and customers who haven't paid debts to the company are to blame for the fall of the 40-year-old Norcross-based building material dealer, Chairman Randy Mahaffey said.

The company had already dropped more than half of its 1,100 employees in the past year, Mahaffey said.

Staff reductions had impacted the Covington location, which at its peak had a staff of 30 employees but recently was operating with only eight people.

The last shipment was sent from there Wednesday, Southerland said.

The downturn in the housing market "made that business impossible to sustain," Southerland said. "There are a lot more competitors in the market versus homes being built."

PlyMart is in the process of trying to find investors to buy the company's specialty parts and stair division, he said. PlyMart operates nine specialty and stairs stores.

The Covington location sold some specialty parts, and two weeks ago, PlyMart representatives said that store and several others would remain open for the time being.

"Unfortunately, the 'time being' for Covington has expired," Southerland said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.