Case Studies

Guadalupe Lumber Co.: Celebrating 80 Years of Supportive Customer Service

  • Written by: Guadalupe Lumber Co.: Celebrating 80 Years of Supportive Customer Service
  • Produced by: Guadalupe Lumber Co.: Celebrating 80 Years of Supportive Customer Service
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Guadalupe Lumber Co. (Guadalupe) is a great example of a perfect accident. Marianus Grothues emigrated from Europe to San Antonio, Texas, in 1915, and soon after established a small general store. The store responded to hard times during the Great Depression not by scaling back, but by taking a chance and incorporating lumber supply services into the fold. Guadalupe officially incorporated in 1933, with today’s team anxiously awaiting the celebration of the company’s 80-year anniversary in 2013.

Guadalupe has endured plenty of hard work to earn a festivity of such tenure. Guadalupe’s lumber selection quickly expanded to a range of paints and hardware before the general merchandise components were phased out entirely. Despite the many changes in product selection, Guadalupe remains a family-owned and -operated entity that has an unbeatable history of friendly customer service in the San Antonio area.

The team also remains one of the largest independent building materials retailers in the San Antonio area with three locations and a staff of roughly 135 professionals. Guadalupe headquarters and its main warehouse lie on San Antonio’s West Side, while a second location opened in the 1980s is maintained on the city’s East Side. Guadalupe recently added a third location on San Antonio’s South Side, as well. These strategic locations allow Guadalupe to expand its customer base with a similar product selection compared to its flagship store.

Guadalupe serves both professional contractors and the do-it-yourself homeowners, providing guidance as well as a broad selection of building materials. “For us, it’s not just about providing the customer with competitive prices,” expands Kyle Grothues, assistant manager at Guadalupe. “It’s about making sure our customers find exactly what they need.”
Grothues officially joined the family business in 2007 after serving in the U.S. Navy, and is proud to note the team at Guadalupe believes it takes more than simply blood to make a family. Instead, Guadalupe team members treat every customer, manufacturer and vendors as part of the family. And that begins with each Guadalupe employee.

Guadalupe prides itself on being more than just a faceless building material supplier where customers and vendors deal indirectly with company owners. Instead, the Grothues family remains active in the company’s daily operations and strives to recruit similarly oriented professionals with industry experience of their own, ensuring Guadalupe customers can continue to rely on competitively priced products and expert advice.

Friendly Faces

When it comes to product selection, Guadalupe insists on representing only the best of the best. The company stocks and supplies products from trusted names like Owens Corning, DeWalt, Black & Decker and Pavestone. The product selection covers everything a homeowner or contractor might need to complete a home improvement project, including lumber, drywall and insulation, as well as roofing products, plumbing supplies, paint, hardware, cabinets, flooring, countertops and lighting fixtures.

Guadalupe is also well known for its special buys section, featuring items that are all priced to move quickly. The company offers a wealth of bargains and special promotional items like Cebu work boots, Dickies work shirts, DeWalt chop saws and Maxi cement siding.

The company aims to help speed up the home-improvement process and offers a number of additional services to that end. The Guadalupe team will cut and thread galvanized pipe, cut lumber, glass and laminate flooring to size, as well as provide key-making services and outfit customers with made-to-measure window and door screens.

Working Together

Of course, Guadalupe’s growth over the years would never have been possible without the support of a network of reliable, loyal vendors and manufacturers. “We consider the relationships with our manufacturers and vendors to be very important to the success of our business,” admits Grothues.

Even as Guadalupe expands its own product line, the team relies on trusted partners for a collaborative best. The company works with groups like Handy Hardware, one of only six dealer-owned hardware buying groups in the country, to secure prices that enable Guadalupe to compete with big-box vendors. Handy Hardware represents a membership base in excess of 1,300 dealers across 12 states, keeping Guadalupe ahead of the competition with merchandising support, store planning ideas and advertising initiatives.
“With all the new technologies available, we have started to make a move away from traditional print media outlets to other advertising opportunities like sponsoring local sports teams,” expands Grothues.
Guadalupe also maintains a regularly updated website and Facebook page to help customers updated with new product offerings and promotions. Recent highlights include storewide drawings for Weber grills and an appearance from the San Antonio Spurs Coyote mascot.

As an unexpected bonus, the social media platform also offers clients a direct channel to provide Guadalupe with valuable feedback. Guadalupe’s Facebook page alone boasts a number of positive reviews, testimonials and anecdotes from satisfied customers and a handful of shared experiences giving team members credit for their exceptional service.

In the next few years, Grothues expects Guadalupe to continue focusing its efforts on supporting and growing a loyal client base in San Antonio. However, the team hasn’t officially ruled out the possibility of expanding to additional markets elsewhere. Whatever the future holds for the team, the Grothues family and the Guadalupe staff will work together to ensure Guadalupe Lumber Co. continues to stand for friendly faces and unparalleled customer service.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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