Valley Distributors, the last independent, family-owned lumberyard in Turlock is making some changes to their current operations. After nearly 45 years in business, Valley Distributors is changing its hardware store, lumberyard, and door shop to meet their customers’ needs.
While the retail lumberyard will remain in operation, it will cater to pro builders and enhance their ability to serve local builders, commercial and municipal customers in a more efficient capacity.
“We’re really excited about the transition. It’s a lot of work but we’re excited to get back to our builders,” stated Brandi Alves, the Human Resources Manager and Vice-President at Valley Distributors, who has been working in the family business over the past ten years.
“My grandpa started the business, and my dad was one of his first employees. He started as a truck driver and worked his way up to becoming the company owner,” said Alves. “It’s been a blessing and a lot of fun to work with my family and the other employees who have also become like extended family.”
When the current location was purchased in 1967, the property faced State Highway 99 (now Golden State Blvd.), and was considered a prime location. Today, the Valley Distributors location is suited as a destination, rather than a convenience for walk-in customers.
“The location is not quite as easy for the retail side of the business,” explained Alves. “They were going to build out there when the economy was booming, and it would’ve been the local hardware store.”
With the worsening condition of the economy, however, these developments did not occur, which hindered the family-owned company from becoming a convenient walk-in store again.
Brandi Alves also discussed how big-box stores, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, have played an influence on the decision of family-business to switch to a pro builder yard.
“They’re convenient, have better buying power, and a better location,” she stated. “While the big-box stores definitely hurt us on the store side of it, a lot of our contractors don’t go there because those stores are more catered to your walk-in customers, and so they don’t always have everything that our contractors need, and also they say that their customer service isn’t that good.”
Brandi then went on to talk about the importance of having knowledgeable staff on board.
“We want our contractors to walk into our doors and have our staff know exactly what they need. They can even call ahead of time, say what they need, and we’ll prepare it and have it ready for pick up so that they can get right back to building,” she stated. “We’re really just focusing on our builders, contractors, and homeowners.”
Today’s economy has directed many businesses to make changes to improve efficiency and viability. The changes Valley Distributors will be making will include:
1. Shrinking their current hardware store from its large size to a smaller format that is pro builder friendly, yet is still a welcoming store and showroom that focuses mainly on building. With the larger box stores everywhere, the independent hardware store struggles to remain competitive in a slow economy. The store will include an expanded showroom for our doors, mouldings, windows and locks, and has been called one of the best showrooms in the central valley.
2. The door shop will continue to operate mostly as it has since its inception. Doors and mouldings have been a large part of the business for many years and is one of their greatest strengths, which the company continues to build upon.
3. The lumberyard will continue its daily operation and will move into a smaller format, improving visibility and efficiency, allowing for faster purchases and loading. Valley Distributors will continue to offer all of their customers local delivery as they have in the past. The main focus will be on framing and building materials such as lumber and sheet goods, as well as building up high quality fencing stock.
While change is never easy, it is necessary in keeping with the times and the current economic market. Valley Distributors appreciates their loyal customers that have made Valley Distributors what it is today, many who have been with the company since their first day of business in 1967.
“We’ll still be available for retail,” explained Alves. “We’re just going to be focusing more on contractors, who send their people out to us for projects such as framing houses, or remodeling projects for foreclosures. The focus will just be more on contractors and what they want and need, rather than just trying to appeal to everybody and not having so much inventory on hand.”
Changing direction toward a pro builder yard will be of great benefit to customers as well as employees, ensuring their place in the future of building in Turlock and the surrounding areas that the company serves.
“It’s definitely a very positive thing for not only our contractors, but also our employees,” stated Alves. “We’ve had employees that have been working for the business over 30 years, and they’re excited about it too. Our employees are our biggest value, and they’re included in every decision we make.”
“We like giving back to the community, such as the local 4H’s, and we would like to still be around to do that for a long time.”
The hardware store started its inventory reduction sale on Monday. There will be some great deals on almost everything in the store, as well as other merchandise. The public is welcome to stop by and find some great cash deals!