Canby Builders Supply is a leader in building supplies in the greater Portland area.
CANBY BUILDERS SUPPLY Continues To Satisfy Customers
By Brady Buffaloe
Canby, Ore.—The marketing slogan, “give the customer a good reason to come back”, is one that is often used, but never followed. It takes service, vast inventory and a commitment from employees to make that slogan come to life.
At Canby Builders Supply, located here, they have been giving customers a good reason to come back for almost 60 years.
“We are proud to offer everything for the builder, and Canby Builders Supply employees work hard for the customers of our company,” said Dick Morse, president of the company.
The firm stocks virtually every dimension of Doug Fir, Hemlock/Fir, pressure-treated Cedar, primed finger-jointed Cedar, primed Whitewood, clear vertical grain Cedar and Pine lumber that a customer might need.
It is that commitment to the customer that has made Canby Builders Supply a leader in building supplies in the greater Portland area. On the high plateau, bordered by the Willamette and Molalla Rivers, Canby was once the seasonal meeting place for tribes of local Native Americans and was well known for its annual crop of wild strawberries. The area known as Baker Prairie was an open expanse of ground in the dense Fir forest that stretched for miles. Today, that city, which sits about 20 miles southwest of Portland, has grown to a population of about 13,000 people. However, it is the greater Portland area that the company serves.
“It is our diversity in products to build homes and having services like plans for blueprints that make us a successful business,” said Ken Guisinger, general manager. “For example, we are one of few lumber companies to have a large 10,000-square-foot hardware department for the front of our building.” Of course, lumber plays a vital role in the company’s success.
“We stock virtually every dimension of dry Doug Fir, Hemlock/Fir, pressure Cedar, primed Whitewood, clear vertical grain Cedar, and Fir and Hemlock lumber that a customer might need,” Guisinger said. “All our boards are kiln-dried lumber as well. We find it makes a more beneficial product in the Northwest when combating the moisture content that may inhibit the preservation of lumber for building with our climate.”
Canby Builders Supply is located about 20 miles southwest of Portland, Ore.
Canby buys millions of board feet annually from mainly Pacific Northwest sawmills.
“All of our lumber and plywood come from local mills here in the Northwest,” Morse said. “We support American manufacturers by stocking as many U.S. made products as possible. Our sales team has over 200 years combined experience, and therefore, we can confidently offer expert product knowledge and advice. Our friendly staff is available to answer questions and assist customers with each phase of their building projects.”
Salesmen at Canby Builders Supply work directly with contractors to get them materials they need to build homes, and develop very close relationship with them. This results in their return, and in part, they contribute a large percentage of sales for the company, making up about 70 percent of customer base with the remaining 30 percent as do-it-yourselfers.
All kiln-dried lumber is stored in warehouses.
The company also carries a line of tools. If a customer is looking for tools to work on a home project, or a professional job, Canby has the equipment. The tool department is complete with power tools, miter saws and more on display from the leading brands like Hitachi, Milwaukee, Makita and DeWalt, to name a few. A full line of interior and exterior paints and primers are also carried.
Of course, providing service is a key element within the company. Some of the services offered include: pneumatic tool repair; computerized paint matching; re-keying; mobile service trucks; special order products; delivery service; re-screen/new screen installation; delivery service; storm door installation; saw blade sharpening; locksmithing; blue print copying; scanning; and e-mailing.
The Morse family has a long history in the lumber and building supply business. Clayton Morse, Dick’s father, owned several lumberyards on the Oregon coast, headquartered in Astoria, Ore. Dick attended the University of Oregon and served in the Army during WWII. He then moved to Newport and worked at Newport Builders Supply as a salesman. Several years later, Dick decided that he wanted to own his own business. He and his wife, Carol Lee, purchased Canby Builders Supply in November 1958.
Customers have been enjoying the service at the company for nearly 50 years.
Dick’s motto was “If the sun is up, the lumberyard is open.” At that time, Canby Builders Supply was located in downtown Canby, and the yard operated with a total of seven employees. The old building had a very colorful past. It had formerly been used as a dance hall, a blacksmith shop and a tire repair shop. As the years went by, the building was progressively remodeled. A new warehouse was added and the lumber storage yard was upgraded. However, Canby Builders Supply continued to grow.
“In 1999, we seized the opportunity to relocate our overcrowded lumber business,” Morse said. “The new building tripled our lumber stock and warehouse storage capacity. The expansion allowed us to greatly increase our hardware inventory space.”
Canby Builders Supply leads the industry in the Pacific Northwest for computer integrated sales, shipping and bookkeeping systems. Dick’s sons, Steve and Jim, have also remained in the industry and own several stores in the Portland metropolitan market, stretching to the north in Vancouver, Wash., and down to the south in Bend, Ore.
The tool department is complete with power tools, miter saws and more on display from the leading brands like Hitachi, Milwaukee, Makita and DeWalt, to name a few.
Today, the five lumberyards owned by the Morse family support over 170 families. The customer who walks into a Morse family lumberyard today has over $6 million in inventory to pick from, which is located on 20 acres in five locations. It may be delivered on any of 50 trucks driven by one of the 170 employees. Gross sales now exceed $50 million.
“When a customer places a call to any of the Morse family yards, they are just as important to us as that first customer was in 1959,” Morse said. As a long-standing business in the community, Canby Builders Supply has earned the reputation of being an outstanding leader, supporter and champion of local causes.
“We are involved in many areas of the community including 4H, Rotary, Kiwanis, local public schools, city, performing arts and scholarships,” Morse said.
The company has also made donations to the Canby Junior Festival of Jazz recently in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and donated to the Hope Village Annual Auction in support for the care of local senior citizens. Additionally, the company has supported construction of its local Vietnam War memorial.
Canby Builders Supply purchases millions of board feet of Softwood lumber annually.
With customer service king at Canby Builders Supply, customers will be coming back for many more years to come. For more information, contact Canby Builders Supply at 503-266-2244.