History Of Our Local Lumber Yards

Built on the Past, Vision for the Future

J&W Lumber has a long and rich history, and we are proud to remain a family-owned business that really cares about our customers and our staff. A company timeline is presented below.

In 1957—With a truckload of used lumber, J&W Lumber was established in Mission Valley on the corner of Texas Street and Interstate 8. Charley Jennings started the business by purchasing used building materials from John Woolman, a close friend and business mentor, thus the “W” in J&W Lumber.

1958—The City of San Diego, the rightful owners of the property, forced Charley to move the business. Fortunately, having saved enough money, he was able to start a new operation on Twain Ave in Grantville.

In the early days of J&W Lumber, Charley’s workforce consisted of mostly family, which included his sister and nephews. Charley and his wife Zuma had six of their nine kids at that time and they, too, were part of the workforce during holidays and summer vacations.

1961—Jess Grijalva, at the age of 19, began a 50-year career with J&W Lumber. He started out pulling nails and stacking lumber and later became Charley’s right-hand man. Charley had great vision and Jess added the detail.

1962—Due to poor service and selection from a local lumberyard, Charley decided to discontinue selling used lumber and get into the redwood business.

1966—The company’s name was changed to J&W Redwood.

1969—Charley purchased a larger piece of property on Marshall Avenue in El Cajon, and in January of the following year, the new lumberyard was opened for business. Jess ran the Grantville location and Charley ran the El Cajon location.

1973—Charley opened CJ Wholesale Lumber Company and sold the Grantville operation. “CJ” became a wholesale distribution yard, selling redwood to other lumberyards and manufacturers.

1976—CJ purchased Simonson Lumber Company of Smith River, California, and went on to become the largest redwood wholesaler in San Diego. Charley, Jess, and three of his kids—Claudia, Charmaine, and Clay—moved to CJ while his son, Clyde, took over the J&W operations.

All nine of Charley’s kids—Claudia, Clyde, Corinne, Charlynn, Clay, Charmaine, Craig, Cara and Carlton—worked for the companies during the ’70s and early ’80s. Charley had a strong work ethic that he passed on to his children.

1981-1991—J&W opened four more local lumber yard locations: Sorrento Valley in 1981, San Marcos in 1983, Escondido in 1986, and Murrieta in 1991.

1992—Clyde became Vice President and head of operations for both J&W and CJ, and began expanding the product line with pressure treated lumber, Western Red Cedar, and full-sawn Douglas Fir.

J&W was the first to bring in and stock Trex composite decking. Later, TimberTech and Fiberon were inventoried, making J&W the largest stocking dealer of composite decking in Southern California.

2002—Charley passed away, leaving behind a great legacy in the lumber industry, especially in Southern and Northern California, and a story of what you can do if you put your mind to it. One of Charley’s many sayings was, “work as if everything depended on you, and pray as if everything depended on God, and you’ll be all right.”

2003—J&W opened a 6th location in Chula Vista.

2004—Due to the continued growth of the product line, J&W Redwood reverted to the company’s original name, J&W Lumber.

2007- Started building an Outside Sales force. J&W now comes to you.