Mid-State Lumber Corp
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Jack Porter
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Inside one of the quarterly corporate sales meetings at Mid-State Lumber Corp (MSL) good news is in the air. Since 2010, MSL has launched a serious New England expansion, tackling new territory with the same high-quality products and tell-your-a-friend kind of customer service. Amid an unstable housing market and sluggish economy, MSL has managed to maintain its position and even grow as one of the Northeast’s most reliable building material suppliers.
Offering a broad selection of building materials, the company’s lumber selections cover traditional items, such as pine, Douglas fir, eastern cedar, western red cedar and dark red meranti and much more. MSL’s selection runs the gamut of flooring, decking, siding, shingles, lumber, stair parts, subflooring and framing timber.
Not only is MSL growing in terms of geographical footprint, the company has also expanded its product line to include newer items designed and manufactured with state-of-the-art technologies and materials that push the boundaries of durability, strength and ease of upkeep.
While the company has steadily risen to the top of the building supplies market, MSL started small and remains a family-owned company. Bernie Bernstein founded the company in 1976 and brothers David, Gary and Kenneth took over during the 1980s.
The brothers helped grow MSL into a regional name. “I didn’t officially join the company until 1984, but we have all been working here since we were kids,” recounts Kenneth, principal of MSL.
Growing up in the business, the Bernstein brothers helped MSL flourish from a single location in Branchburg, N.J., to locations in Kingston, Pa., as well as Warwick, N.Y. As a full-service wholesale building product distributor, MSL now maintains a number of additional reload centers across the Eastern Seaboard, keeping inventories up to date and ready to buy when dealers call.
The company supports its customers by strategically placing distribution centers across the Mid-Atlantic States to keep prices competitive and ensure deliveries arrive on time. All three MSL locations are rail accessible and the company also operates a fleet of flatbed trucks to quickly ship deliveries over to customers.
MSL most recently expanded its delivery service to Massachusetts. “We’ve made significant gains in the New England market over the last two years,” reveals Kenneth. “This is where a vast majority of our growth has come from.”
According to Kenneth, the southeastern and central Pennsylvania markets are growing. “Also, the Syracuse-Binghamton corridor we serve,” he adds.
MSL launched its New England expansion effort in 2010, including an 18-month progressive plan from start to finish. Today, a complete staff is working with a 100 percent focus on supporting retail lumber dealers and industry associations within Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The New England market team includes: Mike Kelly, New England sales manager; John Fijalkowski, Massachusetts North Shore territory manager; Dennis Brooks, Massachusetts South Shore territory manager; Matt Veroneau leading northern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine; Dave Baldino, Connecticut territory manager.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, MSL has experienced enhanced growth due to the addition of salesmen: Travis Risser, south-central, Penn.; Zach Fornuto, south Jersey, northern Delaware and Maryland; Lyle Tompkins, Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital District, Albany N.Y. and Central N.Y.; as well as Khendry Veras, specialty accounts manager, who has brought additional knowledge and growth since joining last year.
Growing distribution rights
Along with a new team dedicated to navigating the New England market, MSL has also been named a distributor for several noteworthy product lines. “In addition to our new team, we are very pleased to announce that MSL carries the full line of Trex Decking and Railing, the United States’ No. 1 decking brand,” shares Kenneth.
However, that is not all MSL delivers. “Additional programs for our service region include Royal Building Products PVC trim/mouldings, Zuri decking, Fairway Building Products and spruce dimension lumber, which enhance our dealer offering,” adds Kenneth. “Lastly, new for our Mid-Atlantic service region, we are proud to distribute Keene Driwall CDR Vent, Keene Rainscreen.”
MSL also offers complete inventories suited for the New England market; lines of Blue Star Meranti, World Class IPE, James Hardie fiber cement to Interfor Western Red Cedar, Selkirk Specialty Cedar, Pacific Western Woods Cedar Products, Royal PVC trim and mouldings, Zuri decking, Windstorm, RevBead reversible plywood beadboard and many other branded manufacturers available for immediate delivery.
A continual influx of new products also result in leftover lots and MSL has opted to reduce waste and save clients even more money by selling discontinued and overstocked products at a clearance price online. MSL launched OverstockLumber.com several years ago to give customers a chance to pick up products that are in perfect condition at up to 50 percent savings. Merely the result in manufacturing changes, surpluses or discontinued items, OverstockLumber.com is a great way for customers to reel in the deals, without breaking the bank.
Even at such reduced cost, the Bernstein family guarantees all of its products meet the MSL standard by never selling seconds or irregular products. The company is always on hand to field questions by phone during its normal business hours of 7:00am to 5:15pm EST, as well, but the extra ability to place orders at any hour ensures clients can prepare for unforeseen circumstances and last-minute requests.
A shared vision of success
“With new territory, products and an extensive online presence, this is a very exciting time for MSL,” says Kenneth. “MSL will be the first family-owned, independent distributor to currently offer the complete business package for dealers from Delaware to southern New Hampshire. Typical delivery service is within 48 hours throughout our footprint. MSL also offers experienced outside sales representation, active pull-thru support, weekly product demos, full marketing support plus a product line in which the dealer can expand.”
Kenneth ensures none of this would be possible without a 100-person team of dedicated staff and management, working toward a shared vision. “We wouldn’t have been able to break into these markets if it wasn’t for our people; it’s all about the people here,” he measures. “I’m happy to give credit to our entire team – we’re building a relationship-based business here and it works.”
Now that there’s renewed confidence in the housing market from New York and New Jersey, all the way up to New Hampshire, Kenneth proudly notes MSL is in a great position. In fact, he says the company’s greatest challenge is just adjusting to the growth. “Expansion means growing pains,” admits Kenneth. “Keeping up with the inventory in order to deliver five days a week in New England is a good challenge we’re willing to tackle.”
Through hands-on ownership, the MSL team has built strong, steady relationships with vendors, suppliers and customers alike across the Northeast. Mid-State Lumber Corp looks forward to a solid position in a new market and building on a 37-yearlong reputation.
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