In 1946, 46-year-old first-generation New Orleanian and Italian American, Salvatore “Sam” Diecidue (pronounced Dásh-ê-dü) sought a way to add on to his 9th Ward home for his growing family.
Supplies were limited at the time, because production had shifted to the war effort, so Diecidue harvested lumber from a parcel of land given as store-credit to his Sicilian family’s grocery store in Lacombe, La.
This launched one of New Orleans’ most successful family-owned building supply enterprises, Dash Lumber & Supply.
To date, four generations of the Diecidue family have worked together to provide gypsum, lumber, doors, windows, trim, and many other building essentials for thousands of residential and commercial building projects across the Gulf South. This year marks Dash’s 70th anniversary.
“This business had a very simple, humble beginning,” said company CEO Michael Diecidue, one of Sam’s grandsons. “Thanks to the commitment of several generations of our family, our dedicated team and the continued support and business from the community, it’s a success story.”
When neighbors saw Sam’s lumber stacked next to his Kentucky Street home back in 1946, offers to buy more of the valuable commodity arose. Sam’s son, Joe, a merchant mariner returning from the war, soon joined his father; Sam Dash & Sons Lumber Co. was in business.
In 1969, the company moved to its current location on Chef Menteur Highway, where it expanded its warehouse space in 2004. Shifting its focus more on contractors and developers, Dash began developing an outside sales team to help build business regionally.
Although its warehouse was extensively damaged after Hurricane Katrina, Dash was the first lumberyard to re-open in eastern New Orleans; Dash helped hundreds of families get back into their homes.
Eventually, the Diecidue’s focus transitioned back to new residential projects, along with commercial and multi-family sector developments.
Michael’s middle daughter Amy is the company’s millwork manager and business developer. With a degree in Interior Design from LSU, she helps customers navigate the design process, including specifications, bidding and submittals that meet their project budgets. Michael’s father, Joe or “Papa,” is 90 years old and still drafts by hand every day, while assisting with customer service.
“Mr. Joe Diecidue personally helped me renovate my home in Gentilly in the early ‘90s,” said Jessica Hoofkin of New Orleans. “I was so grateful for his help that I went back to Dash after Hurricane Katrina for restoration assistance with my home in Broadmoor, and again got wonderful service.”
Terry Diecidue, Michael’s wife, is vice president and director of sales, while oldest daughter Kathryn handles business administration and team development. A younger daughter, Michel, works with the inside sales team and as graphic designer. Michael’s brother Gary is purchasing manager, and his sister’s son, Joe, is millwork coordinator.
From donating materials to the Tulane School of Architecture to helping NOLA Tilth, a community garden that works in tandem with the VEGGI Farmers’ Cooperative in New Orleans East, Dash has been an active contributor to many local nonprofit efforts.
All of Dash’s products come from renewable resources.
“Dash is a key resource for rehabs in historic neighborhoods, since big box stores do not carry the materials needed to meet HDLC requirements,” says Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO) Interim Director Catherine Crowell. She notes that the company has provided valuable in-kind donations for almost all of Rebuilding Together New Orleans’ October Builds.
The Diecidues have a full schedule of activities and community service projects to commemorate Dash’s 70th anniversary.
Visit www.dashlumber.com for more information.