"It's a pretty exciting time for our industry," says Brad Pence, CEO of Salem, Ore.–based Keith Brown Building Materials, a 12-unit pro dealer that saw improved profitability and a 20 percent sales increase land the company on "The Next 25" list of hot companies to watch (see page 84). "Twenty percent growth is great news," Pence says, "and we've been tracking a little higher than that for this year." At Keith Brown, the success has created an opportunity to reinvest back in the company by upgrading facilities with new paint, pro contractor–centric remerchandising, and a fresh coat of asphalt for all of the yards.
Like Keith Brown, most of the PROSALES 100 are finding that the prosperity of 2004 is providing ample resources to make the capital investments that will ensure continued success in 2005 and beyond. "Now is the time to put those investments back into the company and the employees; it's what we have been working on for the past couple of years," says Patti Ennis, COO for Smithfield, N.C.–based Guy C. Lee Building Materials, which posted a 56 percent sales increase in 2004 and in turn upgraded all eight of its locations with brand-new computers. "[The upgrade] will enable us to serve our customers better as we continue to grow," Ennis says, "and the employees love it as it makes their jobs so much faster."
In addition to facility improvement and IT expenditures, a full 87 percent of the PROSALES 100 report having already invested in showrooms for the business through 2004 (see "Contractor Services," page 87). Waltham, Mass.–based Harvey Industries, a 33-unit specialty distributor with a primary focus on remodeling contractors, opened four showrooms last year, and the spoils of 2004 are enabling the company to continue that push. "Even though the majority of business that we do is in remodeling, new construction is catching up," says company business development coordinator Bill Cottle. "So [for both customer types] showrooms are again a main focus in 2005 for us. We have plans for four to five more by the end of the year."
Mansfield, Mass.–based National Lumber Co. also had showroom success in 2004, developing a brand identity in its markets with two "Kitchen Views" showrooms that helped to increase revenues by 37 percent while maintaining "incredible service" for customers, reports company CEO Steven Kaitz. National is continuing the facility investment into 2005 with the launch of a new wall panel plant, as well, joining the 37 percent of the PROSALES 100 offering panels (see "Manufactured Product Lines," above) and the 70 other firms in the survey with manufacturing capabilities.
Business and capital reinvestment are continuing full-steam ahead at Guy C. Lee, as well, where company officials are adding to the capital reinvestments of 2004 with additional upgrade and acquisition plans. "We plan to open up a new location, and we are always looking to acquire good building material dealers, so we are looking at several things already," Ennis says. "2005 looks good so far."
Download 2005 ProSales 100 List (PDF)