Scottsdale, Ariz.—Woodworkers Source, headquartered here, is a retail/commercial distributor of Hardwood and imported lumber, Hardwood plywood, veneer, woodworking tools and related products.
The company purchases and sells approximately 500,000 board feet annually of 100 different Hardwood and exotic species. “Most of our species are offered in upper grades only, with the exception of specialty purchases for our customer base,” Marketing Manager Mark Stephens said. “Ash, Hard Maple, Cherry and Walnut are stocked in 12/4 thicknesses; Basswood in 16/4 and the remainder in 4/4 through 8/4. Most of our lumber is purchased and sold kiln dried, S2S. Our thickness assortment changes according to the species of course.”
With locations in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, Arizona, the operation has continued to flourish since its early years. Established by Stephen’s father, Keith in 1978, the company underwent a series of moves, expansions and additions to its facilities that evolved to the current three locations. “We began our mail order distribution in 1995,” Stephens explained. “Growth in our mail order business and demands of modern consumers dictated that we revise and develop our website to provide greater customer service. Today it is the most highly trafficked website in the world offering Hardwood lumber as its primary product.”
The company purchases and sells approximately 500,000 board feet annually of 100 different Hardwood and exotic species.
The company serves its customers at its three walk-in warehouse facilities and also takes orders through the company website. “Customers who come to our facilities can spend as much time as they like and receive as much help as they need to select their lumber,” Stephens explained. “Additionally we provide custom milling services that include cutting boards to size, wide belt panel sanding to 36”, resawing, plywood cutting, table top glue ups, and edge routing.”
According to Stephens, the mission of Woodworkers Source is “to help our customers be successful in their woodworking projects.”
The company’s custom website www.woodworkerssource.net has options available to the customer such as any number of photos which they can browse and compare characteristics of all species of wood before placing their order. “Our crew hand-selects lumber to customer’s specifications, and professionally wraps each order of lumber for the utmost protection, making certain it lands at the customer’s door without damage,” he said. “We deliver on schedule with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.”
Warehouses at each location use rows of steel racking to maximize organization. The main warehouse comprises 10,000 square feet.
Woodworkers Source is capable of meeting the demands of the largest customer but also specializes in serving buyers who need small quantities. “The Hardwood lumber industry is a commercial distribution system that often is just not set up to serve buyers who need small quantities,” he said. “Surprisingly, retail level end users around the country have a difficult time finding lumber suppliers who meet their demands. So we often ship Cherry to customers in Pennsylvania, or Hard Maple to customers in Michigan. That’s where we come in. We have no minimum order, provide one-on-one advice, hand select orders, and provide additional custom milling services for those who need them.”
The company’s warehouses and storage facilities are indoors protecting their products from the outdoor weather elements. “Our crews constantly rework lumber inventory by trimming off defects and creating better material,” Stephens said. “All orders that we ship are selected by hand and inspected for quality. Each order is banded together, wrapped in cardboard with extra protection on the ends and finally shrink-wrapped.”
The people at Woodworkers Source strive to develop long-term relationships with both their customers and their suppliers. “While price is an important consideration, on-time delivery, packaging, purchase quantities, return policy, quality of product and vendor support are all considered when we make our purchasing decisions,” he said. “We don’t chase the lowest priced supplier.”
Woodworkers Source has between 1,000 and 5,000 board feet of any single species in one thickness stored in inventory.
In 2010 Stephens said Woodworkers Source implemented a customer loyalty program to reward its best customers. “Participants pay a $20 fee to join the Rosewood Club and receive the following benefits:
• 10% discount on all purchases, except for power tools and items on sale • $50 rebate for every $1,000 spent at Woodworkers Source, paid quarterly • Free tape measure • Weekly email messaging • Special invitations to free woodworking clinics or seminars hosted by Woodworkers Source • Special offers and coupons not available to the general public.
“The Rosewood Club is also expected to be an important part of our future marketing plans and as such the Club will reward the best customers and encourage repeat purchases,” said Stephens.
Including Mark Stephens, key personnel at Woodworkers Source are: Keith Stephens, President; Betty Stephens, Vice President; Janson Wilson, accounting and office manager; Danny Lopez, store manager, Tucson; John Porter, store manager, North Phoenix; and Doug Johnson, store manager, Tempe.
Rick Reiss in the packaging department shows how an order of lumber gets bundled and fully wrapped for protection.
Woodworkers Source is a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc.; Arizona Small Business Assoc.; and the National Federation of Independent Business. For more information visit www.woodworkerssource.com.
Craig Haggarton, mail order manager, and Robert Encinas, mail order assistant manager.
John Porter, Phoenix manager, has a big job overseeing every operation from mail order sales, shipping, showroom sales and merchandising to truckload lumber receiving, customer service and support, and inventory control. Behind him is racking for the imported woods where customers may select their wood.