Short and Paulk Supply grows its business by embracing change
BY: ALYSSA SAMSON
Jay Short, president of Georgia based Short and Paulk Supply Company, was introduced to his first marketing lesson when he was 12-years-old. Short’s grandfather started the business with his uncle H.M. Paulk in 1941, and he acquired full control of the business after Mr. Paulk’s passing in 1961. At that time, young Jay asked his grandfather “Why didn’t you change the name of your company after your uncle died?” His grandfather laughed a hearty chuckle and replied, “Son, we’re in the lumber business; Short Supply Company is not a good name for a lumberyard.”
Now, more than 70 years later, Short and Paulk Supply is still standing strong. With four locations in Tifton, Albany, Sylvester and Dawson, and a truss manufacturing and door assembly plant, the company’s customer base is approximately 65% contractor, 25% retail and 10% commercial. Prior to the economic downturn, roughly 95% of its sales were to pros, but the changing market has triggered the operation to restructure its original business model—resulting in new locations and fresh growth.
The transformation began in 2009 when Short purchased the property of an existing lumberyard in Albany, Ga. that closed that same year. After extensive remodeling, the property was unveiled to customers in May of 2010. Today, the Albany location features an 8,000-sq. ft. showroom and full-line lumberyard.
Not long after, a fourth location sprang to life in March 2012 in Dawson, but unlike the Albany store, Short decided to focus on the retail aspect of the business and have the larger locations, Albany and Tifton, handle deliveries.