Goodrich Lumber Co.
Goodrich Lumber Co. has been serving builders and homeowners in Massachusetts since 1906. Long owned and operated by the Goodrich family, the company changed hands to new ownership in 1993. Kevin Medeiros began working with Goodrich Lumber in 1996 and purchased the business in 2012. In 2002, the business moved to its current location in Kingston, Massachusetts, only one town over from the original location.
Today Medeiros and his colleagues serve a small and distinct niche. “We provide materials to contractors and remodeling professionals or discriminating homeowners who understand the value of our products,”
he explains. “You can buy products that are similar to what we have here at the big box stores in our area, but you won’t find the quality or value of what we provide.”
“Our goal has never been to get huge; instead we focus on servicing our local community,” Medeiros adds. The company delivers products primarily within a 20-mile radius, although that geographic footprint expands to accommodate customers with sites up to 50 miles from the office. “We focus on service, selection, quality, and value,” he continues. “We have a phenomenal following because of that. That’s our little niche and we don’t go head to head with national suppliers. In fact, the big-box stores send us people every day.”
Special orders are no problem
Goodrich Lumber is able to maintain a reliable slice of the market while coexisting peacefully with the big-box stores by providing specialty products and more honed expertise than larger operations. “One of the biggest things we hear from homeowners who come to us is that they had been intimidated to come to us,” says Medeiros. “A big-box store, like a Lowes or a Home Depot, is like shopping at a supermarket. The products are on the shelf and you have a choice between this and that. We’re a little more in-depth.”
The team works with clients, whether homeowners or contractors, to help them select the right product for their project. Often, this requires more specifics about application, including measurements, wood and surface preferences, and hardware. Clients walk away happy with this customized level of service, but the process can be more involved than what they find at the local Home Depot.
While the larger suppliers can make special orders, they typically prefer not to. These operations make their money by buying in bulk and selling at lower markups, which means specialty orders take longer and are less cost-effective through a big-box store than with Goodrich Lumber. “Often, it will take Lowes or Home Depot 30 days to turn around a special order,” says Medeiros. “We can have that special order door, siding or decking in just a few days.”
While Medeiros and his team will happily go out of the way to bring in a special order product for homeowners, approximately 95 percent of revenue comes from contractor customers. “Our focus is on contractors and their needs,” he explains. “We strive to have the products they want and use available. For example, we have a contractor who needs one specific nail, so we order and stock it. Maybe another guy will buy it, maybe not, but we do that for any contractor. And we don’t pull a SKU because there’s not enough demand. We are all about customer service and these customers rely on us to have what they need.”
Goodrich Lumber has been able to effectively stay ahead of the market, taking on high-value products that meet the needs of customers in the region. For example, when composite and PVC decking began to grow in popularity, the business took it on. “We’ve grown our business more in the last five years by taking this on,” says Medeiros. “Instead of fighting this market trend, we opted to participate and it has made a big difference, although 60 percent of our decking is still wood.”
Customers continue to count on a tradition of service when dealing with Goodrich Lumber, even while the company makes changes to stay up-to-date with the industry. “Our business philosophy has changed quite a bit over the last year to improve customer service and our knowledge base,” says Medeiros. “Finding people who are skilled and want to be involved in this business is challenging, but we are taking a new approach to this problem. We are going after intelligent, personable people without experience in the industry. We are asking for a two-year commitment to train them on products, product knowledge and techniques. We are looking at this as an investment that will help us maintain and build long-term relationships.”
By embracing new technology and new perspectives, the company continues to grow as a service-first organization. Medeiros and his team prioritize expertise and quality products, which keep customers coming back and referring their friends and industry peers. For products that fit specific New England projects, Goodrich Lumber Co. is a leader in maritime Massachusetts.
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