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Fairway Building Supply Inc.: Building Together … The Fairway
Mark Herchenroder opened Fairway Building Supply Inc. (Fairway) in 2007. “We opened April 1 in a small, 3,000-square foot shop in Hamilton,” says Herchenroder, founder and president. Fairway is focused on supplying quality building products to contractors in southwestern Ontario. Fairway has blossomed from its small beginnings through building a network of relationships with contractors and suppliers alike. Only three years after opening the doors, Herchenroder was able to upgrade his facilities.
“We moved to our current location in Ancaster in 2010,” explains Herchenroder. The new facility includes a 21,000-square foot shop on 10 acres of land. “We’ve got a big building,” he elaborates. “Right now we’re using about three acres.” The extra property, he says, will allow the business to grow when the time comes. Fairway has established a diverse inventory, which has provided Herchenroder and his team with sustained growth, and he believes an expansion in the not-so-distant future is likely.
Herchenroder believes that loyalty is a two-way street. The success of his business rests upon his team’s ability to provide for a wide range of material needs for his clients. “We’re very diversified,” he explains. What Fairway doesn’t have in its inventory can be ordered through one of the company’s suppliers, manufacturers or buying groups. In the instance that Fairway doesn’t have what a contractor needs, the team will exhaust every resource to find specific products for its customers on time and on budget. “We strive to be a one-stop shop for contractors in building and construction,” says Herchenroder.
Fairway offers a spread of drywall, pressure-treated lumber, landscaping supplies, fencing and more. The company primarily supplies contractors, although Herchenroder says about five percent of business is with private homeowners. “We’re not a retailer like a Home Depot or Lowes,” he explains. “But we do a bit of private retail.”
Homeowners save on improvement projects by buying direct through Fairway, but only contractors can reap the benefits of setting up an account, and the company makes sign-up easy for contractor accounts. The incentive offers a line of credit with the supplier, delivery logs and clear documentation of materials, as the program ensures the ease of putting together bids.
Fairway supplies most of its inventory through Commercial Builders Supplies Inc. (CBS), the commercial division of Canada’s largest buying group, Castle. “We buy about 70 percent of our product through CBS,” says Herchenroder. The other 30 percent is sourced directly from manufacturers like the Canadian Gypsum Corporation, a drywall company affiliated with U.S. Gypsum. The supply company has become the region’s largest retailer of Dryvit, a leading exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS). Dryvit has become a respected name in exterior vertical wall surfaces and the product makes up a significant portion of sales at Fairway.
Contractors in a variety of specialties rely on Fairway for flexibility and variety. The company offers material for interior and exterior construction and boasts leading brands in everything from landscaping stone to insulation. Contractors can browse pages of pressure-treated decking, tools, pipes and more via Fairway’s online catalog. As always, special orders are welcome. “Anything not in our inventory, contractors can order through us,” explains Herchenroder. “We’ll call it in and then deliver it right to the site.”
Fairway’s flexibility has proven to be popular, as materials sourced from the company are used in the region every day. The finished product ranges from newly renovated homes to stylish restaurants. Builders’ reputations are dependent on quality products and fortunately Fairway supplies nothing else.
The team’s dedication to both its customers and providing a flexible stock has kept the business floating along smoothly, even throughout a recent recession that left many contractors and suppliers struggling to stay in business. “If one part of the business is slow, we have another to fall back on,” says Herchenroder. Even in tougher times, he says sales volume was never an issue for the business. “It became a low margins business,” he elaborates. “So you really have to set a good cost structure.”
The company operates with 30 professional and, of course, courteous employees. Herchenroder strives to maintain a friendly and professional atmosphere – one that rewards his employees’ loyalty. Service is key in the business, and the entire team shares Herchenroder’s dedication to customer satisfaction.
At Fairway a full line of professionals is always available to contractors and private homeowners, all of whom are ready and willing to delve into product details, put together estimates and organize an efficient delivery schedule that fits builders’ time frames. From the time an order is placed until it arrives safely on site, Fairway Building Supply Inc.’s customers have come to expect friendly and knowledgeable assistance every step of the way.