Today’s successful LBM dealers have found that establishing a community connection really distinguishes them from the competition, but Chic Lumber of Missouri has taken their community involvement to a whole new level. In November of last year, the 36-year-old family business unveiled a 7,000 square-foot Design & Conference Center that it makes available for community use.
“We opened that up to the community and we’re already seeing potential customers come in who might not have otherwise walked into our facility,” said Chic Lumber President and CEO Adam Hendrix.
The local little league baseball organization has held team meetings in the facility, and an outreach program plans to use the space to interview and preserve the stories of Missouri veterans. A realtor group also uses the facility for sessions with first-time homeowners. “A large subdivision builder uses our meeting room for subcontractors and realtors,” Hendrix said, “and a big remodeler holds meetings with his staff.”
The Chic Lumber Design & Conference Center was a major undertaking, Hendrix said, yet from concept to completion, the project was up and running in less than a year. The space includes a showroom and workspace packed with easily accessible, hands-on product displays. For builder and contractor customers there are professional workstations and computer programs including 20/20 and CAD. Builder and remodeler customers are granted 24-hour access to private meeting spaces, including use of a Bluetooth-enabled smart board and conference- or classroom-style seating.
Big Box Competition
For Chic Lumber, where the customer base is 80% contractor and 20% DIY and retail, the Design & Conference Center is a perfect complement to the company’s three locations, including the sister cities of St. Peters and O’Fallon, Warrenton and Wentzville, all in Missouri.
The main facility is located in O’Fallon. Adam’s father, David Hendrix, founded the pro contractor and remodeler yard from scratch 36 years ago. The name itself is an acronym for County Home Improvement Center, a name that Adam Hendrix said became “just too long to fill out on a check.”