Case Studies

Dealers Building Supply Inc.

Indiana family values make for an outstanding 50 years

Since 1963 Dealers Building Supply Inc. (Dealers Wholesale) has been synonymous with high-quality building supplies direct from some of the finest manufacturers across the construction industry. The Indianapolis-based company is growing now more than ever after 50 years in business, specializing in manufacturing, fabrication, distribution, installation and service of a range of building products, from commercial doors, frames and hardware to window treatments, toilet accessories, fireplaces and surplus of other specialty items.

“We’re proud to have reached 50 outstanding years in business,” shares Mike Roache, second generation co-owner and COO of Dealers Wholesale. “While other companies have laid people off over that last several years due to the recession, we have actually added 25 percent to our payroll. We’re investing more in equipment and expanding our delivery range outside of the normal area; 2012 was the largest year we’ve had and 2013 has surpassed that.”

A Family Affair

Dealers Wholesale has grown by leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings in 1963, adding bigger and better facilities and partnering with one of the nation’s leading fireplace companies.

“Originally, there were five or six founders, including our father Robert Roache,” details Mike, who now runs the company alongside his brother Jeff Roache, CEO of Dealers Wholesale. “Our father and his partners Andy Beasley and Walt Loman worked for another company together, and long story short, they decided to leave to start their own business. Over the years, several of the original partners moved on to other things and my father ended up as the sole owner of the company in the 1970s.”

Mike entered the family business right out of college in 1972. “My first job out of college was for Dealers Wholesale,” he reveals. “Jeff started in 1980 shortly before my father passed away in 1983. After his death, our family became more involved to help grow the company.”

And now the third generation has increasingly become more involved. “Jeff has two children; Matt is working in the door hardware department and Chris is a project manager,” adds Mike.

Diversifying and Supplying Smarter

Today, the family-owned and operated company employs more than 50 individuals and remains headquartered on the northeast side of Indianapolis in a 45,000-square-foot facility situated on seven acres. “We serve customers throughout central Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, Florida, Texas and Tennessee mainly, but we’ll go where the business is,” says Mike. “We’re pretty flexible in that regard.”

In 1978, Dealers Wholesale broke ground on the construction of a third facility to accommodate growth in the commercial market. The company has not only survived, but thrived over the last 50 years by diversifying, expanding and supplying smarter.

“In 1982, we first entered the commercial market, distributing and installing commercial doors, frames and hardware,” shares Mike. “This was in response to several years of slow residential building in the Indianapolis area. Moving into both residential and commercial building products has helped us improve overall sales performance even when one of the sectors of the building industry is experiencing slow times.”

Dealers Wholesale entered another new market in January 2008, purchasing its largest fireplace competitor, the Metro Indianapolis division of Fireside Hearth & Home (FHH), part of Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), a division of HNI Corporation. “Purchasing FHH has enabled us to service more local and national builders in the market,” details Mike.

Even through an economic slump, Dealers Wholesale has continued to diversify. Through the recession the company took the opportunity to invest in a $2 million remodel of its manufacturing facilities.

“We added new door manufacturing equipment, streamlining the process and plant layout and also improving the work environment for employees,” adds Mike. “The additional equipment and new layout has enabled the team to increase door production by 80 percent, a critical part of strengthening our ability to capitalize on large volume orders from the multifamily market.”

Industry-leading Selection

Dealers Wholesale supports general contractors in the residential, commercial and industrial markers with major product lines from some of the industry’s top-rated manufacturers. From Allegion (formerly Ingersoll-Rand Security and Safety) to Marshfield Doors, Steelcraft Doors and Frames to Perma Door and Plastpro Doors, Commercial Hardware and fireplaces by Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra Fire, Dealers Wholesale offers a range of trusted brands.

The sales team at Dealers Wholesale also offers a complete line of stone, brick, marble and granite to finish fireplace projects. In addition, the company sells and installs window treatments by Hunter Douglas and Levolor, along with bath hardware, toilet partitions by Bradely, Bobrick, Accurate ASI and General Partitions.

If the wide-ranging selection wasn’t enough, Dealers Wholesale goes a step further, offering full turnkey systems. “We have a complete in-house service and installation department,” notes Mike, “We install everything we sell.”

By doing so, Dealers Wholesale backs every product with the seasoned experience of its professional staff who works with clients to select products for style and durability. “From high-rise office buildings to shopping malls and state correctional facilities to churches, schools and multifamily housing projects, our product familiarity guarantees that we’re providing proper installation and ensuring long-term durability,” adds Mike.

Turnkey Delivery

Today, Dealers Wholesale has 15 full-time installation crews and 15 trucks to serve all customers, because no job is too big or too small. “We have developed a full turnkey commercial door and hardware package to offer to commercial contractors,” reveals Mike. “From product selection to complete installation, we furnish everything and have found that contractors really like it. They don’t have to worry about tracking down multiple suppliers and parties for information.”

As the largest installing door, frame and hardware distributor and one of the largest pre-hanging door companies in the Midwest, Dealers Wholesale is capable of pre-hanging hollow metal, metal clad steel, fiberglass, hollow core wood, solid core wood and style and rail wood doors. From start to finish Dealers Wholesale will: write to contractor specifications and hardware sets, review through submission, set up custom keying and keying schedules, fabricate doors, frames and hardware, deliver and install material and provide final warranty information on the provided products.

“We are currently involved in a range of different projects,” shares Mike. “We’re supplying a new diagnostic learning and development building with Hunt Construction, as well as the Ironworks Building, under construction by Shiel Sexton and will house the new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. We’re also working on six different Main Street Nursing home facilities with Meyer-Najem, a commercial contractor. We hope to be doing all of their projects by the end of the year.”

Dealers Wholesale’s reputation and product scope have allowed the company to work for some of the largest commercial contractors on numerous notable projects. The company is currently involved with one of the most significant developments in Indianapolis, a hotel-retail development project named City Way. “We’re supplying all of the doors and door hardware for City Way,” mentions Mike. “City Way is part of a considerable economic development initiative put forth by the city.”

In conjunction with Buckingham Companies, the project’s lead contractor, Dealers Wholesale has worked to create world-class amenities designed to attract businesspeople from around the world. The development will eventually boast 40,000 square feet of retail space and 320 upscale apartments. “City Way is going to make a huge impact on Indianapolis, providing an economic boost and a revival of the arts in the southeast quadrant,” notes Mike. “The hope is the project will draw new families with near-by amenities, including YMCA programs.”

In the Business to Serve Better

Mike says its projects like City Way that build community and relationships, two of the things Dealers Wholesale is centered around. “The products we offer are only part of the equation,” he explains. “Our relationships with customers are pivotal. When they come to us, they feel comfortable, because they know we will be serving their needs and appreciate knowing they can get what they truly want easily.”

“Our personal attention to customers is what really sets us apart,” continues Mike. “We build lasting professional relationships with each client.”

Just ask Seth Guttman, owner of Hills Properties (Hills), about the Palmera residential development: “I wanted to extend my gratitude for the hard work Dealers Wholesale put into Palmera,” says Seth in a statement to Mike. “Because of you, and your effort, Palmera was recognized as the National Apartment Association Community of the year in all of the U.S. This is a major accomplishment for Hills because no one in the state of Ohio has won this award before. I look forward to working with you again on upcoming projects down the pipeline.”

This is the kind of recognition that’s kept Dealers Wholesale going strong for half a century. “I enjoy coming to work to see everyone working hard,” shares Mike. “Our company morale is great; we have a very positive atmosphere and some people have been with us for more than 30 years.”

Mike says he’s optimistic for Dealers Wholesale’s future opportunities. “We’re set up for growth and we’re in a good position to accommodate it and serve our customers as demand increases,” he shares. After the better part of a century, Dealers Building Supply Inc. remains one of the most trusted names in building supplies, growing through personalized service and centered around family ownership.

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Spring 2018



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