Case Studies

GBS Building Supply

Products, Service, Solutions

In 1972 a group of 10 South Carolina builders decided there had to be a better way to source building supplies. Under the leadership of R. Buford Landers, the group founded GBS Building Supply (GBS), a full-service lumberyard and source for building materials, hardware and more headquartered in Greenville, S.C. The business, still employee owned and with two original founders on the board of directors, has grown to include four locations in the Carolinas; through it all, GBS continues to keep the focus on customers.

Bob Barreto is the current CEO of GBS, and he explains the company’s place in the market as follows: “What sets our company apart is that we have a lot in common with our customers. We’re locally owned and we have a direct and vested interest in our communities and the customers we are fortunate to serve.”

Barreto has a background in business development and was hired from outside the company in 2010 for his experience in operations, sales and mergers, and acquisitions. He earned his business administration degree in 1979 from Clemson University, and has 35 years of experience building quickly growing companies.

“The bulk of our business is custom homebuilders and remodelers who do quality work and expect quality products and great customer service,” explains Barreto. His team strives to keep an inventory that includes the latest technologies for structures that are attractive, functional and save project owners money in the long run. A broad offering of construction products is available for every phase of building.

Friendly Expertise

Barreto’s team includes a continually expanding group of experts in construction and remodeling products. “When we decide, based on the needs and input from our clients, to enter a new product category, we make sure we have in-house expertise to support that product,” he explains. “We commit and execute with confidence.”

GBS is primarily a retail operation; however, Barreto says, “We do some installation of windows, doors and trim upon request from our customers.” Aside from the experts and installers, staff members include designers and specialists in custom cabinetry, millwork, kitchen layout, floor systems and more, and the company maintains a showroom of complete pieces contractors and homeowners can integrate into kitchens and living areas.

GBS operates a full-service millwork center with custom components readily available to clients seeking something a little different. Custom millwork products include columns, molding, blocks and window pediments in a range of sizes and shapes. For structural wood, a diverse lumberyard is stocked with a variety of wood products – from two-by-fours to particleboard and high-tech insulated panels – and the experienced yard staff is helpful and well-informed. Quick and efficient delivery is available for lumber products through professional drivers with a reputation for exceptional service.

No matter how large a project, GBS has the right tools, fasteners and materials for the job. The business’ broad catalog offers structural components such as studs, drywall and insulation. Exterior materials like windows, doors, siding, roofing and decking are available with the guidance of in-house experts. For kitchens, bathrooms and more, customers can find an abundance of options in cabinetry, countertops, flooring and all of the details. A staff of nearly 100 that is dedicated to customer service supports all of this.

Green Materials

GBS is constantly working to stay on the cutting edge of green technology. The company has built a growing partnership with Clemson University’s Forestry and Architecture departments, through which the team has several projects in development. “We’re working on a net-zero home concept to more effectively introduce sustainable products to our customers,” says Barreto. “By being directly involved, we can develop the expertise our customers need.” With the university and a handful of international partners, GBS is working toward providing more sustainable materials for homebuilders and remodelers.

Barreto and his team take advantage of the company’s manageable size in a number of ways. With fewer corporate approval layers, the team is more flexible than big-box franchises. “Our decision process is close to the customer; we can respond to our customers’ needs quickly,” explains Barreto. Over the last few years, the business’ flexibility has helped improve the supplier’s selection of goods, both standard and sustainable.

GBS’ long-term clients benefit from regularly upgraded inventory, as well as a host of other services that offer high-tech solutions sourced from all over to meet market demands. The company is striving to strengthen its position through social media and a reinforced Internet presence. Local connections, however, keep the company grounded in service, a quality unheard of in larger chains. Barreto and his team know their customers. “We continue to set ourselves apart from other suppliers by being reliable partners,” he says.

Barreto credits the company’s success to GBS employees, who are emotionally and economically invested in GBS and each other. The employees’ stock in the company honors the personal investments of the original founders while bringing a very real sense of ownership to the entire team. “Everybody here has some stake in the success of our business,” he explains.

GBS Building Supply is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012. As proud as they are of what they have accomplished, GBS employees continue to be excited about their company and look to the future. Their plan is simple: provide the best products, service and solutions to the best of their ability. The rest will take care of itself.

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Spring 2018



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