Benthall Brothers Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Let’s face it: Pretty is as pretty does. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge how well someone is taking care of his or her home by the condition of its exterior.
Benthall Brothers Inc. (Benthall Brothers), a distributor of fine exterior products headquartered in Evansville, Ind., has been helping people in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee keep their houses looking good since 1943. As a wholesale exterior building products distributor, the one-stop shop specializes in all things domicile: siding, soffits, gutters, windows, exterior doors, garage doors, faux stone and more (including interiors portals).
Benthall Brothers employs 49 dedicated building supply enthusiasts in four locations: its Indiana headquarters, as well as Owensboro, Paducah and Louisville in Kentucky. The company’s dedication to quality products at competitive prices and prompt service has helped Benthall Brothers grow both its geographical footprint and its reputation for being “bulldog tough.”
A Family Tradition of Service
Founded in 1943 by brothers Greene and Fred Benthall, the company remains in the family today with Richard (Dick) Zirkle, president, joined by third-generation family executive Eli Benthall (grandson of founder Fred and son of retiring leader Dennis Benthall) as vice president.
Benthall Brothers is a respected staple in Evansville and family members strive to keep the name in good standing within the community. Eli, who has been with the company for six years, echoes that his philosophy follows the company’s historical promise to work directly with suppliers and clients to deliver value with integrity. “Success is all about relationships; that’s all it is,” he emphasizes.
Benthall Brothers maintains these invaluable partnerships in order to satisfy needs in residential, commercial, new construction or remodeling. The company’s main product line is vinyl siding, which is embraced by many homeowners for its amazing weather resistance, especially in humid areas, which make wood prone to rot. However, some customers are reluctant to embrace the vinyl siding’s sleek look. “Vinyl siding is our most popular product, because the price is right and we have it in stock with so many different colors and profiles,” says Eli. “In Evansville we do about about half distribution to lumberyards and half to contractors. We don’t do retail.”
Benthall Brothers was therefore excited to start carrying a new product in June that couples the durability of vinyl siding with the look of real wood: Apex Fiberglass Siding, a Marvin Windows division. The good-looking product comes in a range of rich, durable colors. It has less maintenance and a nicer look than fiber cement, another non-wood siding option.
The company also stocks trusted brands in windows, doors and other externals, including, but not limited to, Andersen Windows, Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors, Revere, Foundry Siding, Crane Performance Siding, Centurion Stone veneer, Leaf Relief and Spectra guttering, Trex Decking & Railing, Latitudes Decking & Railing and LiftMaster garage doors.
Though its clientele’s demands are mostly stable and traditional, the company attends the National Builders Show every other year and keeps up with building publications to stay current and relevant.
Stormy Weather Has Silver Lining
The economic downturn of the past several years led the company to make big changes, which have preceded positive outcomes. “We had to cut way back in employees,” shares Eli. “But this year we’re up 25 percent. It’s been a good year, well over last year; we’re back up to 2007 levels. We had a lot of storms in the area which helped business.”
New home construction and renovation are up, too. The company runs delivery trucks all week long. “We have box trucks that have routes each day that they run, and they deliver to customers once a week and some twice a week depending on their volume,” shares Eli. The trucks deliver from Marion, Ill., to Paintsville, Ky., north to Terre Haute, Ind., and South to Clarksville, Tenn.
In addition to reinforcing building envelopes, the company embraces its role in the community and likes to give back. Benthall Brothers provides windows or siding to the St. Phillips church auction every year. In 2012 it gave siding to a peewee baseball team in the area. And a recent special project for the company was Jacob’s Village, a veteran’s home in Evansville. “We supplied all the windows and siding for that,” says Eli.
Giving back to the community will continue as the company celebrates its 70-year anniversary in April 2013. “We’ll have a contractor appreciation day,” shares Eli. “We do it almost every year, but we’ll maybe have a bigger one for the anniversary.”
Future goals include holding steady and paying off debt from the construction downturn. “The past year was good, and we feel that’s going to continue,” divulges Eli. “A lot of it was storm damage, but housing starts in general are up in the area and we feel good enough to have hired a salesman to go after new business.”
Greatly expanding from its beginnings supplying wood storm windows and cotton insulation, Benthall Brothers Inc. will continue to add products as technology advances and industry trends change, strengthening its commitment to customers and community.
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