I don’t think an independent dealer could survive here without the help of a good buying group. That’s why we chose Sexton.
My partners and I took over this dealership nine years ago, but I’ve been involved in the building supply business for more than 35 years. This market has grown incredibly since I got my start, and I’ve seen the business change as retailers and vendors have consolidated. To be honest, I don’t think an independent dealer could survive here without the help of a good buying group.
We deal with major competition in and around metropolitan Vancouver. We have to fight for business with $100-million lumberyards, so we have to stay price competitive. The biggest benefit Sexton Group gives us is consolidated buying power. You can always get better deals from vendors if you buy direct, but they usually want you to take far more inventory than you can carry. The buying group is very handy for bringing several independent dealers together to split up a volume purchase, and taking a bulk drop cuts down on delivery costs as well.
We have a really strong relationship with Sexton because we’ve had the same rep for years. Our Sexton rep, Frank, and I talk on the phone and email regularly, and he drops by the store quite a bit. When I have a question about a vendor program, I just call Frank and he gives me the information I need, or follows up with me as soon as he has an answer. And if it appears that an issue I have with a vendor isn’t going the way that I want, I get Frank involved and he goes to bat for me.
Another thing I like about Sexton is the fact they allow you to be a true independent. You don’t have to fly a certain banner, and if you want to paint your store a different colour, you don’t have to go through a committee to get permission. You can’t argue with success: we’ve seen our business triple in the time we’ve owned it. I believe Sexton Group has had a lot to do with that.