Earlier this year, our area (Tennessee) was hit with massive tornadoes. While this isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary in our part of the country, the storms hit harder than what we are used to seeing, and many offices, industrial buildings, schools and homes were damaged or destroyed in the process. As such, Rackley, along with every other roofing contractor in Tennessee, began scrambling to repair and restore businesses and homes as quickly as we could. I am sure you can imagine, almost immediately the big box, national stores began to run low on many supplies, which had a negative effect on many of the contractors trying to help their customers gain access back to their buildings.
Thankfully, the great relationships with our local suppliers allowed us to get the materials we needed easily. They knew how important it was to have the materials delivered quickly and safely to each jobsite, and they knew there would be a continual need in the coming weeks and months to keep up with demand. When we had to work around the clock to get a huge warehouse facility dry to bring back their workforce, they showed up around the clock with us to make sure we were able to get the massive job complete.
Then, two weeks later when COVID-19 hit, and many of the big box stores were closed or completely out of supplies, we were able to continue our work without a hitch because our local suppliers kept up with our demand without any issues.
Having a personal relationship with your local supplier gives you more freedom and peace of mind in doing business day to day. This becomes even more apparent during a major storm, or in a pandemic like where we are now. They know us by name. They know our families. They know our communities. They attend church with us. They see us at our local restaurants for dinner. That’s something that goes missing from the typical big box stores.
Big box stores are not the enemy. They do and can serve a purpose. When I want to stroll through the paint aisle to find a new kitchen paint scheme, or when I want to find tile for my bathroom renovation, those big box stores are perfect. When we have an emergency roof leak to repair late on a Saturday and we need a few items, the crews know they can stop by one of these places. But our “home” is with our local folks.
My recommendation: Save your home improvement and “honey do” lists on Sunday afternoon trips to the big chains. But the important supplies, the supplies that keep your team members working and your customers happy—those purchases should go to local suppliers.
Michelle Boykin is the COO and Integrator of Rackley Roofing Company, Inc. See her full bio here.
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