As the industry battled the challenges of COVID in 2020, another hurdle arose: the massive surge in a demand for building supplies.
Stewart Builder Supply, with three locations in Tennessee and Kentucky, met the challenge while keeping its customers and employees safe. At the same time, the pro dealer continued to provide a high level of service.
Moving ahead to 2021, Stewart Building Supply is celebrating its centennial.
“For over 100 years, Stewart has focused on building relationships, building trust and providing the best services,” says Bill Stewart, owner of Stewart Builder Supply. “Our tenured employees have built key relationships with customers that allow us to serve them as their needs changed in different housing markets.”
Each Stewart location has an identity of its own. For example, the dealer’s Hopkinsville, Ky., location caters to large spec builders along with multi-family construction due to a nearby military base. In Dickson, Tenn., the focus is on homeowners and DIY sales in addition to custom and spec builders. Larger, luxury home builders, both custom and spec, is the target in Brentwood, Tenn.
“The challenge is recognizing these differences and acting accordingly while keeping a cohesive company,” Stewart says.
Overall, Stewart’s customer mix is made up of 90% professionals and 10% DIY customers. Within the pro segment, Stewart’s customer base is about 75% home builders, 15% remodelers, and 10% multifamily construction.
During the height of the pandemic, the sales and management team faced a stressed supply chain along with having to communicate increases in material costs and shipping delays caused by the virus. But Stewart Builder Supply overcame the difficulties.
“We strive to be the best building material dealer in the area and contribute to the success of our customers,” Stewart explains. “As a family-owned business, we are a close group. The employees support each other and focus on teamwork for the benefit of the customer.”
And employees, along with their efforts, don’t go unrecognized. The company celebrates the personal milestones and the birthdays of Stewart’s 70-plus employees.
In honor of its 100th anniversary, each store location is planning special celebrations, including being involved in the Music City Grand Prix, a trip rewards program, and cook-outs for customers and employees. Stewart will be the Co-Grand Marshall of the Old Timer’s Festival in Dickson. They are also in the process of establishing a Stewart’s Scholarship in recognition of this special time in their history.
Stewart Builder Supply also said it shows a deep commitment to the communities it serves as well. Each location contributes to area causes such as Eagle Scouts, churches, and disability projects, including wheelchair ramps. A few years ago, Stewart was able to give back to a family in need while participating in a project with the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” reality TV show. When it comes to maintaining its level of service to customers,
Stewart continues to invest in itself. New lifts, delivery vehicles and piggy-back lifts have been brought on board. Stewart has aligned itself with well-known vendors that want to help the business grow. The pro dealer implemented Epicor BisTrack and a GPS fleet management system.
“Stewart is always looking for ways to improve operations, increase sales, and uphold customer service all while looking at other opportunities for growth,” Stewart says.
(Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2021 digital edition of HBSDealer.)