Case Studies

Golden State Lumber

Thinking Big and Acting Small Since 1954

Glen Nobmann founded Golden State Lumber (GSL) in 1954 as a single lumberyard serving builders in northern California. The family business began on the premise of treating clients as partners and embracing relationships. For nearly 60 years, the company has continued to grow by embracing its founding principles.

Jessica Scerri, CEO of GSL, leads a team of approximately 300 employees today. The crew provides building materials to a growing customer base, including do-it-yourselfers and professional builders. A high level of service and deep knowledge of the industry allow GSL to stand apart from similar businesses. Employees take customer service to the next level with knowledge of how to make a job more efficient and less expensive.

Jessica has been involved in the family business since childhood. “At 13, I started working summers with my dad,” she says. “I answered the phones and did filing in the office. I have been here full time for 10 years now. My father, Lee Nobmann, took over the company in 1983 and expanded from one to four locations. I took over as CEO four years ago. We have built an intimate family business and that’s why so many people stay with the company. We have people on staff who have been with us for 30 years and more.”

Diverse Products and Services

The team’s corporate headquarters is located in Petaluma, Calif. “We have drive-thru lumberyards and hardware stores at all four of our locations; Brisbane, Newark, San Rafael and Stockton,” Jessica notes. “Two of our locations include showrooms where professionals can bring in their customers. We also have a new extensive product catalog on our website that acts as an information resource for our customers.”

According to Jessica, each of the company’s locations has its own niche. “We can service anyone from the do-it-yourselfer to the production framer,” she continues. “We can ship out of any location to serve a niche or job site. Our 75-acre Stockton location has a state-of-the-art facility, including an Optimizer and Hundegger saw. These help developers and production framers limit waste and control labor on their jobs.”

The team has been involved in a number of unique projects over the years. “Customers can send in photos to showcase projects on our website,” Jessica explains. “A few recent projects we supplied materials for are the boat ramps for the America’s Cup in San Francisco, the new Golden Gate Bridge visitor center and a large window project we recently supplied included 450 double hung Marvin windows for a San Francisco apartment building.”

Being a Good Neighbor

Jessica and her team are also involved in a number of community projects and organizations. “We get involved with a lot of community work,” she elaborates. “Some of the organizations include Hospice, the Boys & Girls Club, COTS, as well as local schools. And at all of our locations, our managers can choose local charities to be involved with.”

The business is stable, which allows the team to continue contributing to the communities in which GSL is located. However, like many companies involved with the construction industry, GSL has faced challenges through the economic downturn.

“At our peak, we had 500 employees,” explains Jessica. “Through all of it, we have kept our head above water and made sure we made smart decisions. We really tried to focus on efficiencies and work flow through business. We explored how we could do things smarter and faster and bring the same level of expertise to our customers.”

Relationships with vendors have always been an integral part of the company’s continued success. “We have great relationships with our vendors,” Jessica states. “Over the years we have come to consider them great partners.”

As the business approaches its 60-year anniversary in 2014, Jessica is looking ahead. She plans a big anniversary celebration to honor the company’s continued success, as well as to thank GSL’s dedicated staff.

“The people here make it all worthwhile,” she explains. “My favorite part is being able to create a place that they want to stay and a place where they can succeed and grow their futures. We have monthly sales incentives for all the employees and we have recently implemented a company-wide profit-sharing plan. This is an annual bonus that will be paid out to every employee based on our success.”

With a solid team, GSL is continuing to grow. In the next few years, Jessica aims to open two additional locations; she is ahead of schedule with the Concord store opening in 2015. Strong management, customer service and quality projects make Golden State Lumber both a great company to work for and a great partner to work with.

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Spring 2018



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