ALBANY -- While the current economic climate is referred to as the Great Recession by economists, at least one building supply company sees an opportunity to expand during the down economy.
The years since the construction boom tanked in 2007 haven't been easy, but through good management practices Short & Paulk Supply Co. positioned itself to expand to an Albany location.
"There are a lot of challenges and opportunities in this economy," said Jay Short, the company's president and CEO. "We have to work smart, more efficient. We didn't go overboard during the good times, so we are able to expand in the bad times."
The new store location at the corner of Pine Avenue and Cleveland Street was the long-time location of another building supply company, Giles Builders Supply Co. Inc.
That company may have been a victim of the harsh economy, said Kevin Gates, general manager of the Short & Paulk Albany location.
The 9,000-square-foot building was gutted by Short's company and is in for a total upgrade to its interior and exterior, Gates said. A grand opening is planned for mid-April.
Construction on the project includes a new roof, exterior wall refurbishing, new interior walls, new electrical wiring throughout and new plumbing, Gates said. Neither Gates nor Short would say how much money the renovations cost.
"We'll have a 6,000-square-foot hardware area," Gates said. "There is a new wall going in over there for our upscale millwork area."
The Albany location will join the company's three other lumberyard and building-supply stores in Cordele, Sylvester and the main office in Tifton. The company also runs a roof and floor truss plant in Tifton.
Operating in a competitive chain-store atmosphere doesn't bother
Short. He said he answers the Home Depot and Lowe's attractions with his own.
Short & Paulk can compete on pricing because as a member of Lumberman's Merchandising Corp., the largest building materials buying group in the country, the company has purchasing power, Short said.
There is also always something to be said for the more personal touch a local company offers.
"We are here if a problem arises," Short said. "One phone call away.
You don't have to go through five vice presidents 500 miles away to get an answer."
The company plans to hire about 10-12 full-time and part-time staff to work at the Albany location. In this economy, there are probably plenty of qualified people, Short said.
"Another advantage we have is that our company is a lot like the television show 'Cheers,'" he said. "Our knowledgeable staff will know our customers and their needs."
The downtown Albany location suits the company because it is just off Slappey Boulevard, convenient to the entire area, Short said. Lowe's and Home Depot sit in the northwest section of the city near the Albany Mall.
Short & Paulk has been delivering builders supplies to large and small local building companies, apartment complex maintenance personnel and the do-it-yourself homeowner since 1941.
"We think that Albany is a very good market in the long-term," Short
said. "We already supply builders in Albany from our Sylvester location. This will be more convenient for them. We can also be more convenient to Lee County."