‘Doing ordinary things extraordinarily well’ is just one of the secrets to Drexel Building Supply’s success.
A commitment to customers and community has driven Drexel Building Supply since the day Albert Fleischman purchased a closing Campbellsport, Wis. lumberyard in 1985. Through 30 years and the next generation of ownership, the same commitment has grown the business from a single-site yard to now include five eastern Wisconsin locations and a design studio.
Joel Fleischman, who took over ownership from his father in 2000, will tell you that the success of Drexel—which earned a spot on Inc.’s Fastest Growing Private Companies list for multiple years—isn’t as much the leadership as it is the team members. “We try to find people who did not necessarily grow up in the lumber industry, but who are great people,” Joel says.
Read a Help Wanted ad for a position at Drexel and it becomes evident that personality traits are just as important—if not more important—than a background in the building trades. Joel is the first to say that those personalities are to credit for the Drexel chain’s success. The ads call for “Rock stars to jump on the Drexel bus!” to work where “this is our passion, we are kind of freaks that way!”
A student of business motivators, Joel knows every practice in the books about building and leading successful teams. With almost 200 team members across all the Drexel locations, Joel runs his company as one would run a team or a club. Instead of referring to himself as the CEO or President of the company, he prefers “solution provider” or “coach.”
“We can train anybody to do an estimate,” Joel says. “We can’t train anybody to have fun on a daily basis.” With that philosophy in mind, Joel says he has offered jobs to coffee shop baristas, bartenders, and others based on an “energetic connection and a willingness to wow.”