United Pipe & Supply closing; Vancouver branch expected to be sold

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

Published:

Updated: April 25, 2012, 5:55 PM

 

Portland-based United Pipe & Supply, a regional distributor of irrigation and other equipment for commercial and residential use, is closing down under a liquidation process aimed at selling its assets to new owners.

The company’s branch office in Vancouver is expected to be sold to a new owner, said Conrad Myers, the court-appointed receiver who’s handling the liquidation process.

Myers, of Myers & Co., a Portland-based management and financial consulting firm, said Wednesday he believes most of the employees at United Pipe & Supply’s Vancouver branch — which focuses on irrigation, farming and landscaping supplies — will keep their jobs, “although we don’t have control over that.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, an employee of the Vancouver branch who didn’t want to be named said the office employs three people and a seasonal truck driver. The employee said, as of two weeks ago, United Pipe & Supply — which has locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho — employed a total of 160 people.

Myers said that “a national company,” whose name he declined to disclose, plans to take over the Vancouver location. “That’s still being resolved,” Myers said.

Of the company’s 17 locations, Myers said, four will close without going to new ownership. Another five locations, including the Vancouver branch, have a “high probability” of being purchased by new owners, Myers said. That leaves eight locations that are still looking for buyers, he said.

Myers said in the past five to 10 years, United Pipe & Supply expanded substantially and that “they may have over-expanded.” The company’s problems were exacerbated by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, Myers said.

“It’s been a rough (time) for any building supply industry,” he said.

On its website, United Pipe & Supply has a logo that reads “1953-2012 Thank You!” It also thanks its “past and present customers for the many years of support and service. We are currently closing down operations of all branches in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The branches listed below are open during the final closure process.” Vancouver is among the listed branches.

Myers said “a number” of former United Pipe & Supply employees have found other jobs and “landed on their feet pretty well.”

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ;http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com.