Rusty & Michael HaydenRiverside Lumber is family oriented in both who runs it and the relationships it has developed with customers.

Rusty Hayden, president and co-owner of Riverside Lumber, has been working for this family business for more than 30 years. He says, “We have a large clientele. And we have a lot of the same customers from before the storm. Every day someone comes in and gives us a big hug,” he says regarding the continuous influx of New Orleanians coming back to repair their homes.

Riverside Lumber is located in eastern New Orleans, and it received tremendous damage from Hurricane Katrina. The business is now in a temporary building at the same location — 5451 Morrison Rd. — and Hayden hopes to restore the original building within “a couple of months.”

For five generations, Riverside Lumber has been serving the Gulf South, and in addition to Rusty Hayden, his brother Michael Hayden and their cousin Bruce Hayden are co-owners. Riverside Lumber stocks only the highest grade of foreign, domestic and exotic woods. Different colors can be ordered, such as blonde, red and dark brown. Riverside can do custom millwork for wooden corbels, dowels, finials, post caps and rosettes, and custom soft- and hardwood moldings. Wood patterns can be matched for restoration or for custom work. Planing (surfacing of a wood board) and ripping (reducing the width of a board) can be done at Riverside. The company just opened a new division—a “supply” side. “We were more specialty-based before,” says Hayden. The new division handles standard construction lumber, framing materials — treated and untreated — sheet rock and insulation. “We have been selling a lot of hardwood floors,” says Hayden. “We also sell cedar fencing.”

With its resources and superior customer service, Riverside Lumber is helping city dwellers rebuild one house at a time. — By Sarah Ravits