History of Public Lumber

Established in 1927 in the City of Detroit where it still stands at what is now the northeast corner of 7 Mile & I-75, Public Lumber & Millwork began as a simple lumber store selling to the “public.” For almost 50 years, it was owned and operated by the Gilbur family. In 1976, the Gilburs sold the business and the property to brothers Hani & Zuhair Sarafa. Hani & Zuhair successfully owned and operated the company together until 1986 when Zuhair moved to California, at which point Hani and his wife Fadiya Sarafa acquired full ownership. Hani & Fadiya successfully operated the company together, along with their son Craig Sarafa, until Hani’s death in July 2011. In September 2011, Hani & Fadiya’s daughter Christa Sarafa took on an operational role in order to help fill the void of Public Lumber & Millwork losing its’ Founder in the midst of the Great Recession.


Throughout its entire history, Public Lumber has been known as a traditional, family-owned lumberyard. However, in 1996, a moulder machine was purchased and millwork manufacturing was added to operations.  Now, after more than nine decades of selling hardwoods and over two decades of making architectural mouldings and specialty millwork, Public Lumber is a full-service millwork facility and specialty lumberyard specializing in the stocking and manufacturing of hardwood moldings and custom millwork. With over 3,500 styles in our current Moulding Profile Library, and more being added every day, we do all the templating and grinding of knife steel in-house, thereby controlling every aspect of production.


Public Lumber is certified by the City of Detroit as a Detroit Headquartered Business and a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise. Public Lumber is proud to be the winner of the 2015 NEIdeas $100k Challenge sponsored by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and The New Economy Initiative. Public Lumber is also proud to be chosen as one of the 2016 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by Michigan Celebrates Small Business and the Small Business Association of Michigan. Public Lumber has also received multiple “Spirit of Detroit” Awards from the Detroit City Council for its significant contribution to eliminating blight in the city over the years.