Mother Nature hasn't been kind to Builders Supply Co. of Petersburg, a two-location dealer based in Petersburg, Va. After surviving a flood in the 1980s, a tornado in 1993, and a warehouse fire in 2002—along with difficult rebuilding—this pro dealer has certainly learned to weather a storm of challenges. But just as important to its success over the years has been the ability to change with the times. Since its founding in 1903, when it delivered materials by horse and buggy, Builders Supply of Petersburg has not been afraid to jump into many new ventures that have come and gone as its market and customers have needed, including lumber milling, manufacturing windows and doors, and manufacturing millwork for commercial jobs.
One of the most critical entry points—and one that remains in place today—was the company's foray into roof truss manufacturing in the mid-1960s. “That was a very significant move for us,” says president Jim Van Landingham. “... We've been in the truss business for 40 years, and that has been a huge boon for us because we've got 40 years of experience.” Today, truss manufacturing makes up 40 to 45 percent of the dealer's business.
Van Landingham also points to employee ownership—which was completed in the early-1990s—as an important fixture in the company's history and current success. “That's a big deal for us because we have lots of long-term employees here and they own a chunk of this business. That definitely helps you focus on the bottom line with our fellow owners here.”
Indeed, like many dealers, Builders Supply of Petersburg puts a lot of emphasis on its people; after all, it's leveraging the knowledge and dedication of those employees that has helped the company adjust itself over time. From implementing new services to weathering more than a century of ups and downs, year after year Builders Supply employees continue to prove they will do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their customers.