A new super dealer takes shape with the acquisition of the Warner Robins family of businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Building Industry Partners LLC (BIP), the private equity investment firm, has formed a new regional pro dealer organization, Southeast LBM Interests (Southeast LBM).
Southeast LBM is in partnership with pro dealer industry veteran, Roger Farmer. BIP has been a force behind forming and building some of the largest pro dealers and building material organizations in the last 10 years.
According to BIP and Farmer, Southeast LBM was formed to build a best-in-class, people-first regional LBM organization in the Southeastern U.S. commencing with the acquisition of the assets of the Warner Robins family of businesses: Warner Robins Building Supply Co., Henson Building Materials, and Mountain Building Supply (collectively, Warner Robins Supply).
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Founded in 1947, Warner Robins Supply is a longstanding independent, eight-location pro dealer, serving local, regional and national builders and contractors, as well as DIY customers, in Warner Robins, Ga. and across seven rural markets throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
The business has a legacy of more than 70 years of integrity and service, generates over $80 million in annual sales and employs over 190 people, BIP said.
The transaction addressed the Bayer family’s succession planning needs for the business, according to BIP. Mark Bayer will remain as an advisor to Southeast LBM and Chairman of Warner Robins Supply post-transaction, after more than 40 years leading the organization.
Farmer will serve as president of the platform Southeast LBM and succeed Bayer as president of Warner Robins Supply. The businesses will retain their longstanding business’ names in the market.
“We’re excited to kick off our new regional LBM platform with these businesses as our foundation,” said Matt Ogden, founder and managing partner of BIP. “The Southeast has strong housing construction fundamentals and it’s a region we have deep affinity for, close strategic relationships in, and we’ve wanted to invest here for many years.
“On the personal front, four generations of my grandfathers are buried in Southeast Georgia, and I spent my annual holidays as a child in Tallahassee, Fla. — so I have extra fire for building a business in this region,” Ogden noted. “We’re buying longstanding, high-integrity businesses here, with such good people, who are excited to be part of a bold, but realistic, growth vision for the future.”
Ogden also noted that Southeast LBM is BIP’s first new platform under our people-first purpose.
“We’ll be implementing broad-based employee ownership programs, with supporting programs designed to set in motion the virtuous cycle of investing in people,” he said. “There is a wonderful opportunity ahead for this family of companies, our employees, our customers, and all of our business partners.”
Mark Bayer, a second-generation owner of the Warner Robins Supply, commented “BIP has significant experience creating value in the businesses in which they invest. The Warner Robins Building Supply, Henson Building Materials, and Mountain Building Supply teams are energized about the prospects for the future with BIP. I believe our combined talents and capabilities will deliver great results for our customers.”
Farmer has led and grown market-leading LBM businesses throughout the United States for more than 25 years. He most recently served as executive vice president of a sixth-generation family-owned pro dealer, Swift Supply, where he led substantial growth across 10 locations in Alabama and Florida, including green fielding millwork, component, and showroom facilities. His earlier career spanned pro dealers 84 Lumber, Hope Lumber, and American Building Supply.
“Roger has grown up in the LBM industry and has created success for others and himself at all levels of the organizations he has led — including in small markets, big markets, with national builders, custom builders, and DIYers, and across commodities, components, and hardlines,” said Pat Mascia, partner and head of strategic development at BIP. “We are thrilled and honored to sponsor Roger in pursuing his entrepreneurial vision. We are beginning with acquiring a business he’s long known and admired — the Warner Robins family of companies, in markets he knows well —Georgia and the Southeast U.S., where he’s had terrific success growing businesses of this complexion before.”
Roger Farmer commented, “I’ve been fortunate to work for outstanding family-owned businesses during my career. The formation of Southeast LBM gives me a great opportunity to become an owner, and to establish and lead the strategic direction of a great organization. I have the utmost respect for, and trust in, BIP, as well as a great admiration for the Warner Robins family of companies.”
BIP Operating Partner Nick Massengill, a Georgia native and greater Atlanta-based LBM veteran, will be part of the BIP Investment Team supporting Southeast LBM’s success. Nick previously served as President of Robert Bowden Inc., where he led the business with people-first principles to extraordinary performance and equity value creation, transitioned the organization to employee ownership in 2001, and led its sale to BMC in 2015.
The Warner Robins family of companies was introduced to BIP by Walt Kurek and Mike Collins at Building Industry Advisors (www.buildingia.com), a building products-focused investment banking boutique established in 2012.
Other partners involved in this opportunity were Holland & Knight LLP and Fifth Third Bank. Intrinsic LLC, CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., and DSG Benefits Group were also instrumental.
Based in Boston, Building Industry Partners has had a key role in the formation of US LBM, Kodiak Building Partners, United Cabinet Holdings, Rugby Architectural Products, Homewood Holdings, and U.S. Fence Solutions.