The idea for our company surfaced when I went on an annual ski trip with my brother, Greg, and our dad in January, 1984. At the time, Greg was selling demountable walls in Madison and I was an insurance underwriter in St. Paul. On a particular chair lift ride at Big Powderhorn Mountain, Greg and I threw around the idea of going into business together. Even though we grew up in a family business (Reitan-Lerdahl & Co.) we knew it wouldn't be in the insurance world. The discussion continued into the evening at Petrusha's supper club outside Hurley, WI on Highway 51.
Two months later, Greg called me at home to inform me he was taking the necessary steps to create a company based on demountable walls. The company's first day of business was April 16, 1984 when Greg made phone calls while sitting on the floor of an unfurnished one-room office in a new company he named Lerdahl Associates. Tim Lerdahl joined the family business in 1987.
For eight years Greg successfully created a large demand for "demountable walls," which are floor to ceiling walls used in offices that are pre-finished with vinyl on gypsum board, installed on top of carpet, and below a continuous ceiling. Greg was committed to the idea that private offices and conference rooms should remain flexible in the planned and unplanned changes that occur in most offices.
Now to fast forward to 1997 and the sea change that happened at LBI when we became dealers for Kimball Office. Our furniture offerings multiplied overnight and we had a recognizable product to promote and sell. In a short time our business changed from 80 percent demountable walls to 80 percent furniture and design. This has defined our business now for fifteen years. When is the next sea change development at LBI? Stay tuned.