84 Lumber's new showroom in Riviera Beach, Fla., opened in June 2016

84 Lumber this month opened the first of a new set of stores targeted for upscale customers and announced today the hiring of a vice president who will focus on new market development, chief operating officer Frank Cicero said.

The new operation in Riviera Beach, Fla. (shown above), located just north of Palm Beach and in the middle of a lucrative market for high-end homes, differs markedly from an 84 Lumber setup known most for bare-bones buildings and heat lamps over the cash register. Roughly one-third of the enormous warehouse is given over to a showroom with kitchen vignettes, high-end window and door displays, some plants, and a ceiling painted in baby blue. Behind the showroom is an operation in which the company can create custom doors and moldings from raw stock; it even can cut its own molding knives on site. The yard's grand opening took place on June 18.

"Maggie always asks ‘What does it take to be No. 1 in every market?’" Cicero told ProSales today, referring to company president Maggie Hardy Magerko. "In Tampa, Birmingham (Ala.), maybe Knoxville (Tenn.), we're No. 1. But for the market down there [in Riviera Beach), those [high-end custom capabilities] are the tools that they need. I think this is another venture for us to keep going. We’re good at custom to some degree, but what we’re doing there is the next phase of customer service. We don’t build 12-foot-tall, 3-inch-thick doors in a lot of places. This is really the true, true custom stuff. If an architect draws it, we can build it."

84 also aims to take advantage of Florida's tendency to have lots of specialty dealers and relatively few full-service operations. By being able to sell lots of different kinds of stuff, 84 hopes the Riviera Beach store will win customers by being a one-stop shop, Cicero said.

84 Lumber's showroom in Riviera Beach, Fla., opened in June 2016
84 Lumber's showroom in Riviera Beach, Fla., opened in June 2016

The new Florida store likely will be joined as early this fall with similar 84 operations in Holbrook, Mass., south of Boston (to serve that city and Cape Cod), and Riverhead, N.Y. (to market to the Hamptons), Cicero said. After that, 84 is looking at opening similar operations in San Antonio as well as in Ruskin, Fla., on the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, 84 also is continuing to work on expansion in the Western U.S. It's currently looking for sites to grow in Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and in Boise, Idaho, Cicero said.

To that end, the company announced today that John Hathaway has joined as vice president of real estate and development. "In his role, Hathaway will be responsible for overseeing 84 Lumber’s extensive development strategies, including new market development, new store construction and redevelopment and expansion in existing markets," the company said in a press statement.

Hathaway most recently was vice president of real estate and construction for Hanger Inc., a medical device company, where he managed a portfolio of 1,200 leased and owned properties across the United States.