When the lights dimmed at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference's (PCBC) annual P.A.S.S. (purchasing agents, suppliers, and subcontractors) Luncheon, held June 3 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, attendees poked at their meals anticipating another traditional presentation from one of the luncheon's nine sponsors, which included Petaluma, Calif.–based pro dealer Golden State Lumber. What they got instead was a tour de force video on Golden State's state-of-the-art Stockton, Calif., lumberyard and panel plant, shot with a helicopter crew and pulsing with a soundtrack from heavy-metal band AC/DC.
With 2004 pro sales of $433 million—an organic sales growth of 42.4 percent versus 2003—and a sales-per-employee figure that breaks down to $866,000, things certainly have been rocking for five-unit Golden State, and the P.A.S.S. luncheon seemed like the perfect opportunity to let Northern California builder purchasing agents and framing subcontractors know about it. “We've been coming to PCBC for about six years, and this is our second year actually exhibiting with a booth at the show,” said Golden State president Wayne Withers. “We brought the video just to share with everyone our capabilities.”
Capabilities indeed. The 81-acre Stockton yard, which opened in October 2003, includes an 18-car rail spur, a milling operation, an engineered-wood staging operation, and a four-line wall panel plant, in addition to traditional inventory areas for dimensional lumber, sheathing, and siding products. With only half of the property developed, there is plenty of room for additional bolt-on operations, including a possible truss plant to complement Golden State's panel offerings. The yard delivers to a service radius of approximately 100 miles, which includes markets from Reno, Nev., to the north, to Fresno, Calif., to the south, and west to the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to COO Rick Zaslove, the Stockton facility, which replaced a 14-acre yard in American Canyon, Calif., that was sold to Richmond, Calif.–based Channel Lumber in October 2003, has increased Golden State's sales in the region nearly twofold. “We've got about 40 to 50 trucks pulling product out every day,” says Zaslove, who estimates that the yard will deliver approximately 300 million board feet of lumber this year, including $30 million worth of engineered wood products alone. “[In total,] our best year ever at American Canyon was about $70 million,” Zaslove says, “and we think we'll do about $140 million out of Stockton this year, so we've already almost doubled our sales.”
Some of the power behind that sales increase is the facility's panel plant, which uses GreCon Dimter Opticut 607 optimizing saws to help crank out approximately 20 house jobs per day. “We have one-and-a-half shifts now and we're building up and training to get a full second shift,” Zaslove says. “But the labor pool here is very strong, and our customers are coming here as well. You have to go where the market is.”
As builders stream into the market—and into the Stockton facility for on-site tours—Golden State is using the video prepared for the P.A.S.S. luncheon to pump up the volume on what the company stands to offer. “We've got a lot of work out ahead of us,” Zaslove says. “The PCBC show has helped us out a lot. We made a lot of contacts and we've generated a lot of excitement and a lot of interest in doing walls and just doing business. [This facility and the video] really showcase that. It's not your normal lumberyard.”