Case Studies

Standard Companies Inc.

United by Superior Supplies and Service

Standard Companies Inc. (SCI) is a parent company all about diversity. Under SCI’s umbrella are three divisions: Standard Supply and Lumber, Standard Kitchens and Standard Building Systems. SCI also boasts six lumber locations, eight kitchen showrooms and annual revenue of $40 million. The company’s collective staff of 130 is highly trained and able to provide the multitude of services that general contractors need.

According to Tim Rottschafer, president of SCI, the staff is really where the company’s versatility comes from. “We have excellent people here,” he says. “They’ve stuck with us through the good and the bad times.”

The loyalty that SCI’s staff has for the company is due to the fact that management has always looked after its own. “If you treat them like family, they’ll take care of you,” says Rottschafer. SCI has remained family-owned and -operated since being founded in 1904 by Omge and Kenelska Rottschafer, Rottschafer’s grandparents. “I’ve been told that my grandmother was more instrumental in founding the company than my grandfather,” laughs Rottschafer.

SCI was originally a retail business called Standard Feed Company, which soon began selling coal so the family changed the name to Silver Creek Fuel and Feed Company. Over the last century, the company has been able to weather the economy because of the team’s capability to diversify. “We’ve come out on the other side of the recession and we’re now positioned to take advantage of a great market,” opines Rottschafer.

Strength in Diversification

The company is primarily a dealer and distributor for general contractors, with a main focus on kitchen supplies and appliances. SCI also supplies roof and floor truss manufacturing to both the residential and commercial markets from its headquarters in Great Rapids, Mich. The company sells products to general contractors as well as retail consumers spanning the areas of Ada, Sparta, Standale, Holland, Muskegon, Montague, Ludington and Traverse City, Mich. While SCI nurtures relationships with both contractors and suppliers alike, the team also knows when and how to upgrade the company’s product line to better serve customers’ needs.

“We made a significant change with our cabinet supplier,” recalls Rottschafer. “We were dealing with Masco Corporation [Masco] for years. Now, we’ve completely switched to using Master Brand products.” Rottschafer continued to say that SCI has invested over $1 million in redoing the company’s kitchen showrooms with Master Brand cabinets. Despite the adjustment, the team still retains the team’s connections to an abundance of top-quality product manufacturers, including Whirlpool Corporation, KitchenAid U.S.A., Maytag Corporation and Electrolux U.S.A. to name a few. “Even though we’re a local company, we cover a broad market,” expresses Rottschafer.

SCI has used a wealth of supplies to assist the western Michigan community in a variety of ways. “We’ve done some fairly significant projects in the Grand Rapids community over past several years,” relays Rottschafer. One of the latest jobs that SCI worked on was a large elderly care facility. The company provided all the prefabricated components for the framing and roof and floor trusses. “It was all done in our assembly factory,” he says. “We provided all the hardware, all the millwork, roofing and siding.” SCI also completed the new dormitories at Grand Valley State University, where the team supplied a majority of components. “We contributed everything except the windows,” says Rottschafer.

Green Ideals and Concrete Results

The company’s larger undertakings in 2012 were on behalf of the Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) of Grand Rapids. ICCF is a nonprofit organization that helps the less unfortunate find clean, affordable and safe housing; the ICCF is also part of the community’s housing commission. The organization’s ultimate goal is to build houses that are sustainably designed and constructed with superior products and labor that will ensure the buildings overall durability and affordability. Both parties are pleased with the results of the process, showcasing SCI’s high-quality craftsmanship while purporting ICCF’s charitable ambitions for the community. The ICCF and SCI also share the common trait of dedication toward increasing sustainability.

ICCF has been constructing all if its homes to meet Energy Star certification since 2002. Many companies in the construction industries have had to adapt with potential homeowners seeking long-term energy-efficient solutions. SCI was ahead of the game, however, because in 2008 the team had finished converting the Grand Valley/Standale showroom into a green-building specialty store, Standard Lumber and Standard Kitchen’s Eco-Connection. The project was awarded Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certification for the location, and is now able to supply LEED building projects with FSC-certified wood.

The Eco-Connection supply store exclusively stocks FSC-certified wood products and energy-efficient products for homes. The Standard Kitchen side of the operation boasts an array of eco-friendly products from LEED-certified manufacturers. The company goes the extra mile in supporting other green organizations in the local area as well. SCI is a member of Green Built Michigan, which is an organization committed to green home-building practices, as well as a member of the West Michigan Chapter of the United States Green Built Council (USGBC).

The team at SCI is proud to supply contractors with high-quality product, while also meeting the needs of eco-friendly consumers. The company has provided more than excellent service for over a century, and SCI’s diversity ensures the company is a contender in the supply industry as well as an advocate for sustainability. The team invests in both the business and the customer, allowing Standard Companies Inc. to develop mutually beneficial relationships that strengthen the west Michigan community as a whole.

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