The ProSales 100 is as much a collection of individual stories as it is a tale of an entire industry. Here’s a look at one of six members of the club who all merit special attention, and all for vastly different reasons.

Eschewing the typical mix of lumber and building material products, Graber Post Building focuses on one thing: post frame building components, supplying these materials to customers in 26 states.

Operating through one facility in Montgomery, Ind., Graber has the highest single-location revenue of any ProSales 100 yard in the country, at $110.3 million.

Graber Post's increase in sales in 2011 from 2010.
brian walker Graber Post's increase in sales in 2011 from 2010.

The company started in 1973 when Glen Graber led a three-man Amish crew in putting up post frame buildings. Within a decade, Glen had expanded the business beyond construction into selling building materials to other dealers and other crews as well as producing components for sale.

By keeping it simple, Graber has steadily moved up the ranks in the ProSales 100, advancing from 43rd place on the 2009 PS100 (with $97.1 million in gross sales in 2008), to 34th on this year’s list. Its gross sales revenue jumped 23% between 2010 and 2011, and over that same period it added 50 employees (giving it 225 total) including two new outside reps (giving it three in all).

Post frame construction, aka the typical pole barn building, uses posts as the framing member, wide truss spacing, and metal roofing. The company makes its own laminated columns using high-grade Southern pine and manufactures its own roofing, using steel coil.

Most of the business is agriculture related, like equipment sheds or stables, says Graber sales manager Mark Graber (distantly related to Glen). “The farmer may have bought a new F150 [truck] and wants a new 30x60 foot building,” he says. A lot of the company’s customers are Amish or Mennonite.

However, Mark notes that the post frame market is changing, and the company has healthy residential and commercial contracts. On the commercial side, Graber Post is seeing contracts for churches and professional office buildings, and on the residential side, it’s young marrieds and retirees who are opting for post frame buildings.

Along with its dealer base, the company also runs 22 building crews.

“Some customers are only buying metals and trims, others, the same plus doors, and others buy the whole package,” Mark says. “The lumberyards are typically not buying the whole package, but components. With the way our customer base is set up nationally, our dealers tend to flourish when the farmers are flourishing.

“When residential bottomed out, it didn’t affect us. Knock on wood, this is what helped us get through those years.”