Pro dealers proceed cautiously against COVID-19

The lumber and building material ranks take added measures against the coronavirus.

BY Andy Carlo

With the specter of the coronavirus (COVID-19) gripping the nation, government emphasizing social distancing, and schools and offices closing across the country, pro dealers have been forced to quickly react to the situation.

Deliveries continue and yards are open for business. But dealers are taking added measures to combat the virus while maintaining employee and customer safety.

At 84 Lumber, with more than 250 locations across the country, company president Maggie Hardy Knox suspended all air travel for company associates.

Hardy Knox said she is supporting all associates at company headquarters who might be impacted, including no sick time or paid time off being charged during this period.

“I will continue to support all of my associates financially during this time,” Hardy Knox said in a prepared statement. “I will stand behind all associates’ base pay and there will not be any lapse in medical benefits. Given the recent school closures, children always come first.”

Hardy Knox emphasized that she did not want her employees to worry about their jobs or paychecks. “I want (employees) to focus on their health, their safety and their family. At the end of the day, it’s really all about family and my 84 Lumber associates are my family,” she said.

New Jersey dealer Hamilton Building Supply said it is prepared to meet customers’ needs and is making all deliveries with no order minimum.

“If you need a tube of caulk to keep your project going, we’ll deliver it,” John Perna, president of Hamilton, announced via a Linkedin post.

Hamilton also told customers to call ahead, email or text their orders so they can be staged and ready at the dealer’s Express Pick-Up area.

Ridgefield Supply Company, the Connecticut pro dealer said, “our top priority is providing a safe and clean retail space for everyone.”

In a statement to its customers, Ridgefield said that employees have been instructed to stay home if ill, wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing, and avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.

The dealer also told its employees to notify human resources immediately if they test positive or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVD-19.

In the meantime, Ridgefield Supply is “consistently disinfecting” its equipment, windows, doors and railings while providing customers with and sanitizer at the paint and lumber counters along with common areas.

“Rest assured, our service to you has not be impacted! Our doors will remain open for business to continue to serve our great community and customers,” the dealer said. That includes the company’s delivery fleet continuing to provide service.

On March 15, Mid-Cape Home Centers said it remains open and had cleaning supplies readily available. But the dealer serving Massachusetts’ southeast and Cape regions is taking extra precautions. Mid-Cape, with six locations, has instructed employees to take added self-cleaning measures and told them to stay home if sick while increasing the cleaning schedule of its own facilities.

In regard to social distancing, Mid-Cape is utilizing conference calls instead of face-to-face group meetings. The dealer has postponed all customer events for 30 days or better and has postponed its employee 125th anniversary celebration.

“We will continue to stay abreast of the situation and take the proper actions,” Mid-Cape said.

Spahn & Rose

Spahn & Rose, with 24 locations in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin has suspended customer events as well.

Along with prioritizing strong hygiene practices, Sphan & Rose has told employees who have traveled outside of the United States in the last 14 days to self-quarantine.

“We are closely monitoring the situation, and are providing our employees with the most up-to-date safety guidance, as recommended by the CDC and other health officials,” Spahn & Rose said.

Andrew Goodman, the president and CEO of Sherwood Lumber – the Mellville, N.Y.-based building materials distributor and wholesaler, announced that the company will be making a contribution to a coronavirus relief fund, derived from orders this week.

Goodman estimates that the donation will in the area of $10,000 and will be used to help contribute to food, supplies and medical assistance for those in need.

Sherwood has also purchased additional laptops so employees can work from home.

“We have entered into a time when our people, our customers, and our vendors may be feeling additional stresses that weren’t present a couple of months ago,” Goodman said in a letter sent out this morning. “Let’s be our best selves this week, let’s lean on each other for support, let’s remain positive, and let’s be impeccable for others around us to get through this quickly, effectively, and safely as possible.”




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