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08/16/2021

HomCo delivers service and values in Flagstaff

With an experienced staff, the LBM and hardware dealer has made an IMPACT on Arizona.
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a man standing in front of a truck
HomCo President Mike Brackin.

For Mike Brackin, the lumber business has been in his blood his entire life. 

Brackin’s great grandfather, Sanford Furrow started Payless Cashways in Iowa during the depression. 

“While growing up, I always wanted to be at the lumber yard,” says Brackin, the president of HomCo Lumber & Hardware in Flagstaff, Ariz. “I’d make a dollar here and there doing odd jobs but I loved climbing all over the units of plywood and particleboard in the warehouse.”

Brackin’s father, Don Brackin, left Payless Cashways in 1975 to start his own yard. Originally bannered as “OddsN-Ends,” the business allowed the younger Brackin to get his first real start working at a lumber yard at age 16. 

“This is the only job I’ve ever had besides delivering newspapers,” he says. “I took over the day-to-day operations in 1985 and haven’t looked back since.”

The company rebannered, eventually becoming HomCo Lumber & Hardware in 2013. 

Situated in a college town and tourist destination with a population of about 75,000 and an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level, HomCo delivers building materials and supplies all over northern Arizona. That can mean trips that take the company’s trucks as much as 100 miles away or better, including the Grand Canyon (about one hour away) and the Navajo Indian Reservation. 

HomCo’s customer base is 75% builder and remodelers and 25% retail DIY with the builder business being the larger segment of the company’s pro sales. “Although the builder business is larger, we work hard to exceed the expectations of both classes of customer,” Brackin says. 

What sets the dealer apart is the caliber of its 110 employees. Some of HomCo’s employees have been with the company for more than 30 years, and many others have been with the dealer for 20 years or better. 

“Our vendors love dealing with us because we are able to keep people around a long time,” Brackin notes. “And we also do a great job of hiring.” 

According to Brackin, HomCo’s best tool for hiring is the customer service it provides and the culture that’s been developed. “Many customers have applied here just for those reasons,” he says. 

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a truck is parked on the side of a road

HomCo’s core values spell IMPACT: Integrity and being true; remaining Innovative and thinking outside the box; displaying Maturity and good judge for calm, cool decision making; remaining People-focused while treating others how you want to be treated; Accountability for your decisions; solid Communication that means both listening and speaking effectively; and Team Leadership with employees having each other’s backs. 

The dealer maintains a wide array of departments including lumber, building materials, windows and doors, cabinetry, electrical supplies, tools, hardware, plumbing, workwear, and sporting goods among other offerings. 

The company is ready to launch a new e-commerce platform for its entire inventory through a partnership with Orgill and Unilog. HomCo also utilizes an ECI Spruce system with GPS tracking for deliveries on its POS system. Last year, the company implemented a software system that helps schedule installations and service calls. 

When it comes to technology, Brackin says, “We embrace it.” 

HomCo is also a big part of the Flagstaff community. The company recently raised more than $32,000 for a local children’s charity through its annual horseshoe tournament. “The participation of our vendors and customers to raise this money is beyond belief,” Brackin notes.

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a group of people in a store
HomCo serves the Flagstaff, Ariz. community and beyond through a wide array of products and services.

The dealer is not without its challenges, including securing enough products to sell and the labor shortage his builder customers face with fewer kids getting into the trades.

But Brackin says HomCo continues its success partly through specialized departments.

HomCo has a hearth shop and offers chimney sweeping as well as installation of wood fireplaces, pellet stoves, wood stoves and gas logs. Although this is Arizona, Flagstaff still receives 10 feet or more of snow each winter. 

The dealer also services all Stihl power equipment as well as Ariens snow throwers. 

Other service offerings include delivery of smokers and grills as well as patio furniture. The company installs kitchen cabinets and has window replacement services, as well. It’s also a fully licensed residential and commercial contractor. 

“This industry and the town of Flagstaff has been very good to me and my family as well as the 110 people that rely on this company for their livelihood,” Brackin says. “I let my people do their job and I stay out of their way.”

(This article originally appeared in the July/August edition of HBSDealer.)