By Lauren White, RCS Editor.
We’re going platinum in 2022! What started as Roofers Exchange, a newspaper focused on classified ads, is now RoofersCoffeeShop, a fully digital community known as the place Where the Industry Meets. For 20 years, RCS has served as a digital space for contractors to meet fellow roofing professionals to exchange advice, tell stories and talk business, much like the coffee shops and diners contractors would visit early in the morning in the past before starting their work day. By naming the website RoofersCoffeeShop, it gives the roofing community a sense of past comfort and a doorway into new technologies that are essential to a strong business in today’s world.
Vickie Sharples started Roofers Exchange and had a vision for its future, which was online. In 2000 she approached Heidi J. Ellsworth asking for help with a new name and a digital approach. Heidi wondered, “How are we going to get roofing contractors, who at that point in 2000, not very many of them were online, a lot of them didn’t have a computer on their desk.” Her father, a general contractor in Central Oregon, was the inspiration for the new name, RoofersCoffeeShop, which launched officially in 2002.
Heidi’s father worked all over Eastern Oregon and when he would get into a new town he’d visit the local coffee shop, which always had pickup trucks out in front of it because that’s where local contractors, tradesmen and women would show up in the morning to talk. She explains, “They would find out where the best products are, what jobs were going on, what kind of labor there was, get directions, but it was their place to get knowledge.” With this in mind, Heidi and Vickie knew they needed to make it comfortable for contractors online.
“It’s really about where the industry meets. RoofersCoffeeShop is the spot where contractors, or any roofing professional, can come anytime, 24/7, to find what they need,” Heidi continues. Jennifer Stone, preferred accounts with Johns Manville and past executive chair for National Women in Roofing (NWIR), echoes that statement, “You support the industry so deeply. You truly are a place where everyone can come, everyone can collaborate, everyone is welcome.”
Greg Hlavaty, CEO of Western Colloid, expresses, “It’s turned into a great asset for the roofing industry and I’m proud to have been a part of it for the entire time they’ve been around.” Now the Coffee Shop is breaking new ground in digital marketing for the roofing industry. It has become a community of roofing professionals who share ideas, tell stories, conduct research, sell items and read news about the industry.
"The thing I love most about RoofersCoffeeShop is that’s where I get my information from. If I want to know what’s going on, if I want to know things on the ground level, I’m going there and I’m looking stuff up,” says Trent Cotney, founder and CEO of Cotney Attorneys and Consultants.
The Coffee Shop has been a trailblazer for the roofing industry since the beginning. The Honorable Reid Ribble, CEO of National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) shares, “I want to congratulate you on taking the roofing industry into the digital space because you were there first and what an exciting way to communicate. And it’s the way our members here at NRCA are communicating every single day.”
As the industry grows and adapts to new techniques, products, demographics and ways to learn, so does the Coffee Shop. While we still provide classified ads and host our popular roofing forum, we have expanded our offerings to include:
Read, Listen, Watch™ (RLW)
Week in Roofing
Lunch & Learn
And we’re not stopping here! Today the RCS crew, led by Heidi, has grown to include 19 professionals from various walks of life to create content, edit webinars and podcasts, design ads, grow our R-Club, manage accounts and continue creating content so we can bring you relevant information in new and engaging ways.
“I can’t imagine what you have set up for the industry coming up in the next 20 [years]. It’s fantastic information. You’re out there at all the shows, all the events, you’re live on the road, it’s amazing the amount of territory and information you can cover with your team,” shares John Kenney, CEO of Cotney Consulting Group.
As one of the premier networking sites in the industry, RoofersCoffeeShop has become the place to celebrate the roofing industry and the great people who work in roofing. From the rooftop to the boardroom, the Coffee Shop is for all roofing professionals!
Wendy Marvin, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Roofing and Home Solutions, shares, “20 years in any industry is just the most incredible gift you have given us and the fact that you’re still here after all this time just speaks volumes to who you are and what you’ve brought to the table in our industry.”
Cheers to 20 years RCS family!
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