Case Studies

Home Lumber & Supply Co

Building Lasting Relationships for Over 100 Years

In 2007, when a tornado leveled the town of Greensburg, Kan., Home Lumber & Supply Co. (Home Lumber), a building and hardware supplier, was there to help the community rebuild. Servicing southern Kansas with 16 locations from Ashland to Ellsworth, Home Lumber understands the importance of building community. The company has been doing so for over a century.

Home Lumber specializes in offering a wide selection of products, including hand tools, insulation, decking, ceramic tile, appliances, doors and windows. Between the different locations customers can find paint products, power tools, kitchen cabinetry, plumbing supplies, flooring, garage door openers, outdoor living accommodations, heating equipment, roofing supplies and much more. The company also provides a full line of building materials, operating strictly as a retailer. Home Lumber focuses on consistency and quality in all products it sells to the local community.

Connected to the Past, Focused on the Future

Founded in May 1905 by J.W. Berryman in Ashland, Kan., Home Lumber has been doing business for 108 years. A businessman through and through, Berryman was involved in many ventures, including purchasing stock in several banks throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. His entrepreneurial spirit pushed him and the company’s original board of directors to consolidate several lumberyards BerrymaHome Lumber & Supply Con previously owned into one new corporation.

Home Lumber has owned and operated 40 locations over the last 100 years. While there were 25 regional line yard companies in Kansas in the early 1900s, today there’s only eight. Home Lumber is the largest and oldest with 16 stores and over 100 employees. The company is proud to be part of the growth and development of the communities in which it operates, and it is humbled with the realization that such growth is only possible through the patronage of local customers.

John Humphreys, general manager and president of Home Lumber, has been with the company since 1975. “This is the only job I’ve ever has since the time I could drive,” laughs Humphreys. “I followed in my father’s footsteps. I’ve had lots of exposure on how to run a lumberyard.”

Humphreys isn’t the only one who has made a lifelong career at Home Lumber: The average tenure of managers at the company is over 25 years. Home Lumber makes a point to treat its staff well, offering company ownership opportunities and investing in their longevity with the company.

Building Community

Humphreys runs Home Lumber with a dedication to understanding customer’s needs better than the competition, in addition to maintaining focus on relationships with the community and suppliers. “It’s vitally important for us to have great relationships within the community,” details Humphreys.

When times are tough Home Lumber reaches out to make a difference. In 2007 the company opened a location in Greensburg, Kan., after a tornado devastated the city. The approximately 1.7 mile-wide tornado traveled for over 22 miles, destroying homes and businesses, as well as injuring and killing residents. The area was declared a national disaster site.

Home Lumber saw a need for its services and sought to help. “We came into town because they didn’t have a lumberyard,” explains Humphreys. “It’s been a good move for us; we got to help and in turn learned a lot from the people of Greensburg.” Home Lumber remains in the city with a permanent location.

While establishing relationships within the communities it’s located in, Home Lumber strives to work with trusted, key vendors. “We are well serviced by only three or four vendors,” details Humphreys. “There are not a lot of options for supply based on our demographics. Securing and managing good partnerships helps with the consistency of our product lines across the 16 stores.”

In the next few years Home Lumber hopes to continue to keep its facilities in good shape with several remodels scheduled for 2013. The company also wants to be an active presence in the towns and cities it serves. “We keep up with what is going on in the community,” stresses Humphreys. “We see where we can support them in order to determine our new niche. It’s really important to maintain healthy communities along with a healthy business district especially now.”

In June 2005 past and current employees, family members, suppliers, owners and friends of Home Lumber gathered to celebrate 100 years of continuous operation. Humphreys handed out many awards to his dedicated team. People from all 16 locations gathered to eat, drink and reminisce on the past and look forward to the future of Home Lumber & Supply Co.

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