Case Studies

F.D. Sterritt Lumber Co.

New England's Family Lumberyard

F.D. Sterritt Lumber Co. (FDS) is one of the country’s oldest family-owned and -operated full-service lumberyards. The company first started serving industrial manufacturers around Cambridge, Mass., in 1841, and was officially incorporated in 1918. It has since grown into one of its region’s premier building suppliers with two locations serving contractors and do-it-yourselfers throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and beyond. “We’re primarily in New England states, but we ship all over the country and we’ve done some international sales,” explains COO Jack Mackin.

The company currently employs 75, including an experienced staff of service professionals. The crew is ready and willing to assist customers in all phases of construction, offering several builder and buyer services. Once a customer has determined material needs, FDS guarantees expedient delivery, utilizing its large fleet of vehicles. All of the business’ trucks are GPS equipped, and Moffett and boom trucks are available for deliveries to complicated job sites.

Star Treatment

FDS offers homeowners, architects and builders a wide range of including dimensional lumber, plywoods, and pressure treated stock for a variety of applications. Contractors are invited to open business accounts with the supplier, which include lines of credit and online access for viewing orders and statements. Another key business service offered by FDS is blueprint takeoff and estimating. The team can put together an estimate geared toward efficient materials use just by taking a look at the blueprints.

The company offers several design services as well, incorporating innovative solutions to produce the perfect plan. Customers can take advantage of customized kitchen design and deck design. Experienced service professionals guide clients, step by step, through the options, providing layouts catered toward any budget. To top it off, Mackin says that the Kitchen Design center at the company’s Watertown, Mass., headquarters is brand new. FDS is prepared to assist in structural design as well, offering beam sizing, truss design and I-joist floor engineering.

The company offers a wide range of specialty products for every phase of construction. “We do lumber, but we also offer moldings, concrete plyform, PVC trim boards, fire-treated lumber, exotic hardwoods, Owens Corning insulation and many Boise Cascade products,” says Mackin. FDS consistently acquires custom orders for clients from hundreds of wholesaler resources.

Environmental Effort

FDS has led the market trend into the green building sector of the industry. “The sustainable construction industry is already there,” says Mackin. Now, he continues, it’s all about giving customers options. “People want to know about the quality of these green products,” he says, and the FDS sales team is well-versed on the topic, offering several products from different manufacturers to fit LEED construction standards.

The company’s newest venture is an extension of its existing inventory. Buy LEED Lumber is the country’s largest distributor of lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The product line includes 100-percent recycled studs, FSC plywood, hardwood and cedar, as well as trusses, wall panels, composite decking, cabinetry and kitchen components. Contractors can request estimates online and expect turnaround within minutes. So far FDS’ green division is thriving and, according to Mackin, “We’re really proud of this distinction. We’ll continue to be an industry leader in preserving our environment.”

FDS supplies the materials for green building projects and the team can also help homeowners and builders achieve LEED certification. The service team is well-versed in sustainable standards and works with customers to select products and build designs that achieve LEED Silver, Gold and Platinum certification, as well as projects that meet Energy Star qualifications. Homeowners and contractors often qualify for incentives and tax deductions for improvements and new construction geared toward sustainability, and FDS is ready to guide clients through the process.

FDS has experienced sustained growth despite recent dips in the economy and the construction industry. Mackin credits part of this to the company’s longstanding reputation in New England. After 171 years, the company has built an efficient business model and is known for quality products and services. That doesn’t mean FDS doesn’t face challenges, however.

“The market size in general is smaller,” explains Mackin. “We’re dealing with more competition and changing prices.” The team has managed to compensate for these hits to revenue through streamlining operations, making service more efficient than ever, and really pushing the custom commercial end of the business.

The company’s diversity in products and excellence in service brings customers back over and over. “We pride ourselves on our versatility,” Mackin explains. FDS offers a broader selection of lumber than any other locally owned business in the region and is always prepared to go the extra mile to save its clients time, energy and money. The company maintains a strong commitment to customers with an inventory of thousands of products, two convenient locations and a long-standing reputation for integrity and friendly service. A company proudly in the third generation of Mackin ownership, F.D. Sherritt Lumber Co. is looking forward to entering a third century of building houses and relationships.

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