Click here to see full transcript of the Joe Appelmann interview.
Stock Building Supply expects to turn an operating profit in the fiscal year that ends next June, capping 12 months as a reorganized, slimmed-down, post-Chapter 11 operation, Stock's president and CEO told ProSales in an interview Tuesday.
Appelmann's comments were among the first to the public that he has made since a reorganized Stock emerged on July 1 from Chapter 11 bankruptcy law protection and launched a new fiscal year. It had entered Chapter 11 on May 6, one day after the Gores Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, bought 51% of Stock from Britain's Wolseley Plc. (See roundup of recent stories.)
At roughly 97 branches and 3,500 employees, today's Stock is far slimmer than it was several years ago, when two decades of acquisitions combined with the housing boom to push it to roughly 350 facilities and 17,000 employees in roughly 50 markets nationwide. Today it focuses on just 19, and while it probably no longer is America's No. 2 building materials operation, as the latest ProSales 100 indicates, it remains one of the biggest.
Interviewed in his office at Stock's Raleigh, N.C., headquarters [click here for a transcript], Appelmann said the dealer has retrained its focus toward its customers and its markets and away from internal stuff. For instance, the company is seeking to reduce the time that OSRs spend on paperwork and prospecting by handing takeoffs duties over to a centralized sales support team and hiring people whose sole job is to prospect for leads. "I see more of a focus on [asking] 'What can we do to help you today?'" he said.