Pole barns may be the most versatile buildings in agriculture. Farmers, ranchers, wineries and processors can modify them to suit their needs.
Long Brothers Building Supply in Woodburn, Ore., offers pole building kits that allow farmers to do most of the work themselves, at their own pace.
Depending on its intended use — usually farm storage or animal shelters — kits for pole buildings range from a 24-by-24-foot livestock shelter all the way up to a 72-by-240-foot building.
One of the nice things about pole buildings is they can be completed in leisurely stages and can often be converted to different applications without too much trouble.
“My dad has had a shop for 30 years and he finally retired,” Kelly Long, owner and vice president of operations, said. “He went through and insulated everything and put in a metal ceiling.”
Pole buildings can be built in stages, she said.
“A lot of people build the shell in the summer and then in the winter they’ll work on electrical and insulation and interior wall-type stuff — some people get fancy and sheetrock the building or a part of it.
“Depending on what you’re doing you might need lighting or maybe some plumbing; we’ve got the parts, toilets and utility sinks for all those things,” she said. “We had one barn that got turned into a doggie daycare, which is pretty cool; we actually take our pets there.”
Because of the agricultural nature of their clientele, Long Bros. also does a brisk agricultural fencing business.
“A lot of the people that are putting up barns, especially if they’re using them for horses or other animals, are also putting in fences,” Long said. “They can get their agricultural fencing posts, wire, gates — all of that here.”
In fact, Long says, the extensive inventory offered in both their hardware section and lumberyard make them a “one-stop shop.”
Part of their customer service is being on hand to help customers through small homeowner projects to complicated remodels.
“We have a huge senior citizen population at Senior Estates and sometimes they just need someone to come fix something for them,” Long said. “We have quite a variety of individuals on the lumber side of things and another group that works on the agricultural applications.”
The Long Bros. Facebook page offers ideas for projects that customers can do with the things the store stocks. Hardware stores can often be overlooked by crafters as an economical spot for hobby supplies. Long, a crafter herself, teaches sign-making workshops from time to time at the store.
“We have been here for 45 years now,” Long said. “Our grandparents started the business here in Woodburn in 1974. They retired and our dad took over. My cousins are here now; we are the fourth generation; our great-grandfather started in Keizer forever ago.
“We pride ourselves on being family owned, and if we didn’t have our customers, we couldn’t do what we do,” she said. “We try and just help our customers from start to finish and make sure that they come first.”