Along with more stores, company also sees boost in sales growth.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Johnstone Supply Inc. has added an additional 18 locations during the past 12 months, including three independent store owners who joined the national cooperative as members.

According to Johnstone officials, the national growth has been accompanied by strong sales, which have been above the industry average for the past two years. In 2003, Johnstone Supply boasted a 13.5 percent sales growth over previous years, more than doubling the industry average of 5 percent. In the first two quarters of 2004, Johnstone Supply sales continue to exceed the industry average by 30 percent.

President Gary Daniels said the company's setup as a cooperative made up of independent owners contributed to Johnstone Supply's success.

"Our members take great pride in their stores," he said. "Much more, I think, than someone who is simply managing a location for a larger corporation or who is more restricted by franchise stipulations and requirements."