Have you wondered what ever happened to Randy and Rich Mahaffey, the Georgia brothers who led Ply Mart when it became ProSales' Dealer of the Year in January 2007 and were pretty much out of business 18 months later? Like Atlanta's symbol, the phoenix, the Mahaffeys have returned to the construction supply business as the force behind PMC Building Materials in Marietta, Ga.
At its peak, the Marietta facility's counter sales alone were cranking out more than $1 million a month and it took seven counter personnel to handle the traffic. Then the Atlanta housing market tanked. (See "Southern Fried," October 2008 issue.) But even with today's weak market conditions, the Mahaffey brothers saw an opportunity to re-capture that magic.
"We felt that if we were able to acquire this property from the bank, we could replicate the counter business we once had," Randy told ProSales.The Mahaffeys are now looking to build a new company, aiming for annual of sales of $40 million to $50 million in the next five to six years, through three or more locations in metro Atlanta. "We have some definite ideas on how we would like to service the market," says Rich, who also is a co-owner.
A famished housing market and a wave of debt proved too large to overcome for Ply Mart, which at its zenith operated 34 locations with sales of nearly $350 million and won honors from ProSales. Last summer, the company went bankrupt and disappeared.
"It hit us like a ton of bricks in the early summer and fall of 2007," Randy says. "We are fortunate that we have the opportunity that we have."
Over the past five years, the metro-Atlanta market saw 40,000 to 50,000 housing permits issued per year. This year the pace looks to be around 7,000, according to Rich.
In keeping with its new remodeler focus, PMC Building Materials concentrates on selling roofing and siding--the dealer carries more than 20 different types of lap siding--along with a full line of windows and interior and exterior doors. A cabinet display was also recently installed.
"We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to service the remodeler," Rich explains. "[We do it] Much more differently than the big boxes do it, while bringing additional value.
A large part of building the new business since it opened last September has been marketing. A new web site has been launched at www.pmcbmonline.com, and the dealer is reaching out to pervious customers who are alive and well via a minimum of 2,400 fliers mailed out every two weeks. "Lunch and Learn" seminars are being hosted as well with vendors discussing products and trends as contractors stop in for a hot dog or two.
"We are giving product knowledge presentations much more than we were previously accustomed to and they have been fantastic," Randy says.
With 20 total employees, not a single employee wasn't previously employed by Ply Mart. And the management/ownership team has about 125 years of combined experience in the industry. "At least two employees are not getting a paycheck at all," Randy jokes.
"We have experienced, friendly, knowledgeable people that know how to build relationships, build the core, and have fun," he adds. "There is a certain amount of chemistry we want in addition to just conducting business."