Town & Country Industries
Putting employees first
Business View Magazine interviews Kurt Lackore, Managing Director of Town & Country Industries, as part of our focus on the building supply sector.
Town & Country Industries, a division of ABC Supply, is a wholesale distributor of aluminum and building products serving the specialty contractor. The company was originally founded in 1957, and according to Kurt Lackore, its Managing Director, it began as a small mom-and-pop hardware store. “The original owners were the Hendersons, selling anything from pots and pans, to spline, to screws and bolts.”
Lackore joined the company in 1994 with a background in management, coming onboard to help streamline its policies and procedures and “to get better at what we did,” he states. “In 1997, we opened in Tampa, which gave us our third location, and in 2001, we opened another location in Orlando, Florida, which brought our total up to four. In addition to expanding our presence in Florida, we also began to diversify our product offering to include window & doors, with an emphasis on impact windows. Then, in April of 2005, Tim O’Connor (previous owner) sold his company to a privately held company called ABC Supply, owned by Ken and Diane Hendricks.”
From 2005 to June of 2007 Town & Country Industries was given directions to grow the number of locations in Florida, and gain market share in key metro areas. During this time, an additional six branches were opened, bringing its total to ten. In June of 2007, ABC Supply acquired Guardian Ashley, which at the time was the giant of the industry, operating over 50 distribution centers. “We went from a small company to a rather large company in a short period of time,” says Lackore. “Then, in 2008, the Florida economy started to crash and, unfortunately, we had to do close down several branches to try to repair the ship as quickly as possible.”
O’Connor retired in late 2008, and Lackore was moved into the Managing Director position. Once the difficult time past, and over the ensuring years, Town & Country Industries continued to grow and diversify. It acquired several additional aluminum companies and expanded its product line, adding vinyl siding, gutter products, pergolas, marine products, boat lifts and trailers, decks and docks, walkway and canopy covers, outdoor kitchens, and a full line of motorized hurricane roll-shutters and motorized screens. It also extended its footprint with 32 locations in Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Florida, with an employee count of over 400.
And it’s those employees, that Lackore believes help separate Town & Country Industries from its competitors. “We are employee first company,” he declares. “We go above and beyond to hire the best, train and retain the best. As testament to our employee first philosophy, ABC Supply and Town & Country Industries have received the Gallup ‘Great Workplace’ award for the past 12 years straight. We believe the foundation of our success is because of our people. We put our people first, and believe we have the best of the best who give superior customer service.
“Another thing I feel we do better than most of our competitors is to dedicate the time, effort, and resources in training. ABC Supply does an amazing job in training branch managers for the future. External and internal candidates go through a 5-week (BMT) training program in Beloit, Wisconsin. In addition, we also have all Town & Country candidates go through our internal training program.”
Going forward, Lackore says that Town & Country Industries is excited about its future and looks forward to opening up new locations, either by acquisition or from the ground up. “We’re looking at expanding in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and other places our products are sold. The next three to five years are going to be really fun, as we begin our next phase of growth.”
In closing, Lackore admits that Town & Country Industries is “never going to be a low price leader, but we are committed to our associates, and our associates are committed to our customers. We will remain dedicated to promoting and preserving the American Dream by helping people accomplish the extraordinary – based on our fundamental belief that every person has within themselves the ability to do great things. This is in line with ABC’s mission is to be the biggest, best, and easiest service company, distributing select exterior and interior building products. We will be recognized as an employee-first company producing world-class associate engagement, customer engagement, and financial results. We fulfill that mission by:
- Stocking the brands and products contractors want and need at a competitive price.
- Maintaining a state-of-the-art delivery system that ensures orders are delivered to the job site when and where they are needed.
- Actively listening to our customers to find out what they want and need, what we’re doing well, and how we can improve – and then implementing many of their suggestions.
- Providing ongoing training for every ABC Supply associate, ensuring they have the knowledge and expertise they need to provide world-class customer service.
- Training every ABC employee so they can provide contractors with the information and techniques they need to remain competitive.
- Challenging our associates to set goals for themselves and creating an environment that helps them realize those dreams.
Judging our own success by the success of our customers. We know that we will only be successful when our customers are successful.”
Check out this handpicked feature on Building Research Systems – An innovator in the metal construction industry.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Town & Country Industries
WHAT: A wholesale distributor of aluminum and building products
WHERE: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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