Case Studies

Dolan’s Lumber, Doors & Windows

Building materials, doors, windows and more supported by leading service in the Bay Area

For more than half a century, Dolan’s Lumber, Doors & Windows has been a leading material supplier for the building, remodeling, renovation and improvement markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, known for high-quality materials at lower prices. The company has a massive selection of building materials with four locations serving the Bay Area including a central office and lumberyard in Concord, as well as Pinole, California, and two window and door showrooms in Burlingame and Walnut Creek.

Contractors, architects, designers or homeowners – at Dolan’s, customers come first. The family-owned company hosts monthly customer seminars and barbeques as well as offering free estimates and how-to information, all in an effort to give patrons the best possible customer experience in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Building on decades of history

The Dolan’s name has been associated with the building industry in the Bay Area since the early 1900s. “My grandfather, Patrick Eugene Dolan, came to the U.S. from Ireland more than 70 years ago,” recounts Patrick Dolan, now third-generation operations manager of Dolan’s Concord location. “He started selling Christmas trees and doing demolition work. That man worked seven days a week, 10 hours a day just to ensure a better life for his family than he had growing up.”

“His hard work paid off as he cemented the Dolan name as one of the foremost building suppliers in Northern California,” adds Patrick. “We take great pride in where we’ve come from and cherish the relationships and bonds we have with our customers and employees.”

Patrick says his grandfather continually stressed that effort was the key to success at every level of the business. “I remember the days when I could hear him spelling out ‘E-F-F-O-R-T’ to our team members as he walked through the yards and shook their hands. He wanted them to succeed just as much, if not more, than they did.”

His son Eugene took over the family business after graduating from U.C. Davis in 1980 and transformed the company into a more industry pro-oriented, service based, larger scale operation. While never straying away from the theme of effort, Eugene also stressed that: “Our long-term success is dependent upon providing every person that walks through the door with the best possible service, quality, knowledge and overall customer experience. The industry is somewhat saturated with competition these days, so we differentiate by making doing business with us a delight.”

“Today, my father, Eugene and my aunt, Colleen Dolan, are co-owners of the family business,” adds Patrick. Like his father and many other family members, Patrick was born and raised in the business. “I started washing windows when I was just 10 years old – I’m 27 now,” he says. “Over the last 17 years, I’ve worked in pretty much every role imaginable. I have loved, and continue to love every minute of it.”

A knowledgeable, first-class team

Today, with 110 employees and robust service and delivery departments, Dolan’s is a major player in the building supply market. At its core, the company remains family-owned and dedicated to providing the best possible products and services at affordable prices. “Our staff at each location is knowledgeable and up-to-date on information that can help you make the right choices for your projects,” assures Patrick. “Our store managers have been with us for years and as have many of our product experts. We are proud of our many services, our attention to detail and prompt response for the needs of both consumers and industry professionals.”

Dolan's Lumber, Doors & WindowsDolan’s caters to a number of customers. “Our main market is residential builders and contractors, both renovations and new construction, but we also supply material to homeowners and a small portion of commercial projects,” expands Patrick. “From construction companies to architects and designers, to the homeowner looking to do smaller upgrades or repairs – we really try to find a solution for everyone who walks through the door.”

Any product Dolan’s stocks, including doors, windows, molding, trim, skylights, patio and outdoor supplies, decking, framing and finish lumber, hardware, locksets, tools and other miscellaneous items, is backed by complete service and support staff.

“When you come to a Dolan’s location, you will always receive expert help,” assures Patrick. “We’re extremely proud of our service department and we’ve been ranked by Andersen Windows and Doors as one of their leading service providers in Northern California. We work with customers to solve any range of product issues from warrantee and repairs to issues with window leakage and condensation.”

Going the extra mile

The company also offers a “How-To” section on its website, which includes a range of helpful articles and instructions for difficult installations and questions. “Some of the articles discuss important topics such as ‘How to Winterize Your Home,’ ‘How to Measure for Windows and Doors,’ or ‘The Basics of Installing Molding,'” says Patrick.

The Dolan’s door shop called “A Better Door” helps customers with an array of millwork services including door matching and pre-hanging, among other things. “You give us dimensions, and we will cut, plug, hang, mortise and bore anything you need to get that door ready for installation,” assures Patrick. “Milling and corbel services are also readily available and we’re happy to cut your lumber and trims to the right sizes to fit your project’s needs.”

Dolan’s also goes the extra mile in customer service by providing its own delivery service. “We have a large fleet of flatbeds, box vans and pickup trucks allowing us to do all of our own deliveries across the Bay Area,” adds Patrick. “We also warehouse many standard and popular items as one of the largest resellers of windows, patio doors, entry doors, lumber and building materials, which allows us to expedite custom orders.”

Furthermore, Dolan’s is committed to being a major presence in their community. “My family has lived in Concord for over 28 years and the city has been wonderful to us,” says Eugene. “We are happy to do what we can for both the city as a whole and members of the community. Dolan’s philanthropic work extends to sponsoring the Music and Market series in downtown Concord, adult education programs, impact programs focusing on finding Concord residents jobs, boy scout projects, softball teams, and local schools just to name a few.”

Comes down to quality and service

While Dolan’s carries a wide variety of products in all price ranges, quality is always key and Patrick says the company won’t order an item unless it’s a trusted name. “Whether you are purchasing top of the line, custom wood-clad windows and patio doors or ready-made vinyl, you can count on higher quality from our suppliers,” he says. “We only use the best – Andersen, Marvin, Milgard, Fleetwood, Jeld-Wen and more. Our buyers apply the same high standards to everything we offer from building materials and finishing touches to tools.”

On the same token, Dolan’s strives to deliver quality that won’t hit so hard on the wallet. “We really strive to offer affordable products,” says Patrick. “Often accessories or parts that other companies may charge extra for are included with purchases from Dolan’s. We buy large quantities and work on lower-than-usual margins. These savings are passed down to our customers.”

Now that the company is over the hurdle of the recession, Patrick says Dolan’s has made improvements in running an efficient operation. “We learned how to tighten up and save money, and in turn, reinvest those savings into our company and better take care of our employees,” he says. “That’s one thing we’re truly proud of -our employees are like family and are proud to come to work every day.” Recently Dolan’s has overhauled and updated their Concord and Pinole lumberyards and bolstered their Walnut Creek window and door showroom.

With a strong core group, Patrick says future expansion is certainly a possibility for Dolan’s. “We’re looking at another location or two to match the market that’s picking back up,” he notes. “We really gauge the industry by our loyal contractors and how big the jobs are they’re taking on. Now it seems like contractors that switched to small renovations a few years ago are landing larger jobs for the summer and the market is healthy again.”

For the residential contractor to the do-it-yourself homeowner, Dolan’s Lumber, Windows & Doors remains the go-to name in building products in Northern California.

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Spring 2018



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