Who run the business? Girls.
Most businesses don’t have a woman leading them, but a lumber yard in Woodburn is changing that.
Kelly Long is a woman who owns and runs her own business. She has been leading her company, Long Brothers Building Supply, since 2004 alongside her cousin.
“I’m the owner and Vice President of operations. I’ve been here for thirty years, and I worked my way exactly to where I want to be, on top of the food chain,” she said.
It took Long quite a while to get to where she is today. She went to OSU right out of high school, then decided to come back home and work with her dad. After a few years, she went to Chemeketa Community College to complete her transfer degree and graduated in 2004 from PSU with a business management degree.
“I really was on the nine-year program, I tell people,” Long said, “It took me nine years to get my way through college.”
As a woman in a male-dominated field, Long is a strong believer that women should be more encouraged to learn to build and fix things.
“We can all do it,” Long said, “I think it’s pretty empowering for women to know they can come in and run a saw and put something together. Or have the freedom to take paint and put it wherever they want to and make something…Our goal here too is to make it so that women can feel comfortable to come in here.”
Running Long Brothers Building Supply takes up a lot of Long’s time. “It is a lot of work. I think if you put the time and energy into it, the return is amazing,” said Long. “I work forty-five hours a week, but I take home ten hours a week, like, we work a lot of hours. There’s always something going on.”
For Long, the customers inspire her to make it through harder days, she said.
As a woman leader in business, Long makes sure to treat her workers “with the respect [she] wants to get treated with.”
“Once in a while, I get an employee that doesn’t like the fact that a girl’s his boss. But like, right now, my crew, I have absolutely no problems with them,” Long said. “They’re very respectful young men, and they work right alongside of me doing their thing.”
The Small Business Development Center at Chemeketa is a great resource for anyone who wants to try to start their own business. The director, Celia Núñez, encouraged anyone to come by who may need help.
“Our center is here to support businesses throughout their journey whether it’s that they’re establishing themselves, they have an idea they want to launch, expand, or they’re in the process of scaling up, or renewing. So we provide resources, services, we’ve got services and advising throughout all those stages,” said Núñez.
“I feel that everyone can do it if they’re passionate about it and put their mind to it,” said Long. “Just go after it.”
Long Brothers Supply Company in Woodburn, Oregon, holds many events including a Ladies Night, a Guy’s Night, Disaster Preparedness, and a Back-to-School event. https://longbrosbldg.com/