Fitch Lumber a part of Carrboro’s history

Kristin Pope
Staff Writer

No orange aprons, big warehouses or catchy slogans here.

In a world of big box home improvement stores, Fitch Lumber Company, a no-frills, family-owned building supply store and one of Carrboro’s original businesses, stands out from the crowd.

Fitch Lumber Company, which has been in Carrboro since 1923, is the kind of place where customers say hi to each other in passing. It is a place where a dog begs for a treat from the store’s supply of dog biscuits, family portraits hang on the walls and the guys behind the counter greet shoppers with a smile and a sense of familiarity. It’s the building-supply version of Cheers, a place where everybody knows your name - a place where the employees can recommend the best hardware and best local bar as well.

In a locally-owned town like Carrboro, the small-town community feel makes Fitch Lumber fit in perfectly.

But Fitch Lumber is not just a modern attempt to capitalize on Carrboro’s affinity for local shopping. Though the town is full of privately owned businesses, Fitch has been around longer than most, except for the old mill and the railroad.

Mac Fitch, the current owner of the company and the third generation of his family to own the business, has been at the store since he graduated from college in 1971.

He started working at Fitch around the early age of 10 or 11, “Just messing around,” he said. Born and raised in Chapel Hill, Mac said he always knew he wanted to return to the business after graduating from college.

Fitch Lumber was started in 1898 when A.B. Fitch, Mac’s grandfather, moved to Mebane and worked for a lumber company there. He bought the company in 1907, and the company operated as Fitch-Riggs Lumber until 1923 when he bought Riggs