Aberdeen: (360) 538-6727 Elma: (360) 482-2421 Long Beach: (360) 642-3166 Montesano: (360) 249-4821 Raymond: (360) 942-2427


Stewart Lake “S.L.” Dennis circa 1900

Eighty percent of new businesses fail within in the first year, according to some studies, and only a few of those that make it last for more than five years. By comparison, any company that can remain in business for over 110 years is truly unique and must have found the fabled key to success.

On April 2nd, 2005, the Dennis Sales Company in Raymond celebrated a century of history that began in 1905. That was the year when Stewart Lake Dennis—known throughout his adult life as “S. L.”—joined P. W. Shepard to form the Shepard & Dennis Transfer Company. In 1919, Dennis assumed sole ownership of what then became S. L. Dennis Transfer Co., which grew and diversified over the next five decades, incorporating as the Dennis Sales Company in 1968. Stock was issued to Bruce (S. L.’s son) and Thelma Dennis, and to Gary (Bruce’s son) and Irene Dennis, with Gary as President and CEO, and Bruce as Vice President. In 2002, Gary’s second oldest son Brent was named President, and his younger brother Randy became Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer.

After 110 years of doing business in coastal southwest Washington, the Dennis Company remains a major player in the area’s retail economy—not only at its original store and corporate offices in Raymond, but at satellite locations in Aberdeen, Elma, Long Beach, and Montesano, plus a concrete plant in Ilwaco. These stores provide jobs, salaries, and benefits for approximately 85 employees, serve a total customer population base of 70,000. Given the extent of its historical and economic impact, the story of how this family-owned business evolved from hauling firewood with a horse and wagon to become the successful five-store retail chain it is today deserves to be told.

Learn More About All 110 Years >>

   The S. L. Dennis woods crew supplying cedar for his Channel Change shingle mill, circa 1901