Linton Tibbetts first began shipping building materials to the Cayman Islands from Tampa and St. Petersburg in 1948.
In November the following year, he purchased a small St. Petersburg lumber company, Cox Lumber and Supply Co. from TT Cox.
The lumber company was the smallest in the city, with a staff of just three, but nonetheless racked up annual sales that year of US$50,000.
Several years after the purchase of Cox, Mr. Tibbetts began to supply building materials to his friend, Spurgeon Ebanks, who operated a lumber yard for many years in West Bay.
Tibbetts and Ebanks, who had been a school teacher on Cayman Brac, made a gentleman’s agreement that Mr. Ebanks would use Mr. Tibbetts as a supplier, and in turn, Mr. Tibbetts would not operate in Grand Cayman until Mr. Ebanks retired.
After his friend retired in the late 1980s, Mr. Tibbetts opened Cox Lumber Co. on Eastern Avenue.
The grand opening, which was attended by the then governor Allan James Scott, was held on 10 August, 1989.
Since 1989, Cox has grown with Grand Cayman; its Eastern Avenue facility has been expanded and now incorporates a stronger retail emphasis. Cox has also established a contractor and manufacturing branch on Sparky’s Drive, near the Caribbean Utilities Company power plant.
At the Sparky’s Drive site, Cox manufactures roof and floor trusses, interior and exterior pre-hung doors and co-ordinates its growing installation division. The company installs doors, windows, hurricane shutters and other construction-related products.
Tibbetts said he plans to expand his Eastern Avenue facility to incorporate more retail space.
He also plans a new branch retail/contractor facility in the Bodden Town area and expects the Cayman operation to support his family’s expansion plan in other Caribbean islands, such as the Turks and Caicos.
Russ Brandes of Tibbetts Holdings said: “While that might sound like a great ending to a story, Linton, who will in November 2009 celebrate 60 years in the lumber business is preparing again to launch a new lumber business in Florida. Tibbetts Lumber Co. LLC opened its doors in St. Petersburg in July 2009.” Many of the former Cox team has joined the new Tibbetts Lumber team, including Juan Quesada, former president of Cox and Kyle Hooker.
Tibbetts Lumber expects to have three or four branches in Florida by late 2010.