The concentration on contractors leads to tight relationships, which are enhanced by quarterly Lunch & Learn programs. About 50 customers attend each event, which includes a light lunch and presentations on various topics, especially energy codes, structural techniques and building-science concepts. PGI’s Typar has been a strong supporter of these programs, he notes, bringing in third-party experts to ensure information is straight-forward and unbiased. “Building science has become an important element of homebuilding, and many of our customers are interested in all aspects of it.”
Those meetings were held at a local banquet hall, but now they’re being planned for the company’s expanded Omaha office/showroom, a 7,500-squarefoot space with 2,000 more square feet of storage. “The recession held us at bay for some time, but we had a business plan ready to go when the market picked up,” he says. The new space, which opened last October, nearly doubles the original showroom and offers meeting rooms for contractor get-togethers.
“This gives us greater flexibility to adapt to changing products and consumer tastes.” It also allowed the store to add estimators and designers, making them available at each location, which include locations in Elkhorn and Lincoln. The headquarters office in Fremont boasts 165,000 square feet of covered storage area on 19 acres of land with several rail-car lines.
The space will aid the company’s growth as the market returns, as will its expansion into the Kansas City market. They realized the city was short on truss capacity after two suppliers left the market. Christensen bought the assets and equipment from one firm that had shut down, rehired some key staff and reopened in Spring Hill, Kan., a suburb. Offerings from the yard, which includes a 50,000-square-foot truss- and wallproduction facility, comprise stick framing, wall panels and roof trusses. A new door shop opened in November.
In 2015, Christensen expects to build on its strengths as the market returns. “We are anticipating continued, solid growth for years to come,” he says, forecasting an 18% rise in 2015. That will be aided by an experienced staff, with most of the key executives having 15 to 20 years with the company. “Our employees, from the top down and from the bottom up, are the key to our success,” he says. He credits his co-op partnership with Do it Best Corp. and major supplier alliances for aiding the company’s success, including Canfor, LP Building Products and Huber Engineered Woods.
KC offers especially strong potential, he says. “Our jobsite-management skills will work well in Kansas City,” he says. “That’s where we have a clear competitive edge. We have the people and the know-how in place to help pro builders cut down on waste. We want to help them with their bottom line as we grow ours.”