Product Strategy Aims at “Meaningful Differentiation,” Breaking All Retail Rules
NAPA, Calif. – (November 14, 2016) – In an environment that is experiencing changing demographics, a shrinking workforce, and reduced spending, the conventional wisdom is that brick and mortar retail building supply companies should be shying away from the big box format, opting instead for smaller formats with leaner inventories. Central Valley, a San Francisco Bay Area-based building supply company, is taking a more aggressive stance, by partnering with Simpson Strong-Tie, the industry leader in engineered structural connectors. The agreement between Central Valley and Simpson Strong-Tie vastly expands Central Valley’s offering of Simpson products, giving builders more choice for their commercial and residential products.
“More isn’t always better, but when you can carry only the products that customers want, and have the most comprehensive offering at the same time; that’s a successful strategy for a Pro shop,” said Steve Patterson, CEO of Central Valley. “Central Valley’s product strategy aims at meaningful differentiation.”
Central Valley sees the market for construction-related materials growing 8.8 percent in 2017, with construction faring better than the general economy. With such growth, builders are looking to increase their installation speed and decrease their costs. “Building safer and stronger homes and buildings means staying compliant with code changes. Having the right products helps builders do just that,” Patterson added.
"It's exciting to see the level of commitment to inventory and product training that Central Valley has invested in order to provide their customers and employees with the best experience possible," said Simpson Strong-Tie Sales Manager, Mike Wright. “Without a shadow of a doubt, Central Valley has the largest selection of Simpson fasteners in the Napa Valley, and even quite possibly further beyond the Valley,” added Jeremiah Coil, Territory Sales Manager at Simpson Strong-Tie. “The Simpson line offers not only the largest, but also the most innovative new products for builders, contractors, framers, and remodelers alike. New products like the Timber-Hex HDG Class C hot dipped galvanized screws that have the corrosive resistance of marine-grade stainless steel, at a fraction of the price. Designed for highly corrosive environments, the screw can also replace lag bolts without pre-drilling, saving builders labor, money and time. For retrofits and remodelers, Central Valley is offering Simpson’s new structural screw for framing as well. These code listed and code approved screws replace a number of commonly used framing nails helping contractors with ease of installation in tight corners.”
Scaling a building business in this environment requires not only having the right products and technology but also creating a multicultural environment, reflective of its customer base. “Retail in our industry is homogeneous,” said Patterson. To counter that, each Central Valley store is uniquely different, offering products tailored to the customers in that specific market, with service in the language of that customer.
“Our product strategy allows for even more builders to engage with Central Valley and get the products they need for their projects,” Patterson said. “Shifting Central Valley culturally has been a key ingredient in the company’s strategy execution. That has meant aligning company leaders and front line employees around a culture based on empathy, not only for customers, but employees, suppliers, and community alike.”
Patterson adds, “The way we do business with our customers is different. Empathy fuels our work day today. And our customers have taken note.”
Founded in 1955, Central Valley currently has sales of over $100 million, operates six full-service locations throughout Northern California, fully stocked for the professional. With over 38 acres of inventory and 55 delivery vehicles, the company also offers lumber, hardware and custom milling.
As retailers right-size their footprint and inventory levels, Central Valley is staying on strategy. As customers have more power through choice, enhancing the customer’s choice and experience creates differentiation, according to Patterson. “Both product and service offerings are being developed with the customer in mind,” Patterson said. “That in combination with a lean operating model, allows Central Valley to break with conventional retail wisdom, make bold moves, and provide builders with leading-edge construction materials that are designed to improve the way structures are built.”