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When New Doors Open, be Ready to Pivot

In 2022, things were sailing along for Griffin Lumber & Hardware. Business was good. So good, in fact, that they had just broken ground on a brand-new lumberyard location in Warner Robins, Georgia. Planning meetings, design briefs and code checks with their partners at CT Darnell/Sunbelt Rack had moved along with ease.

“We were excited to execute the build-out of our new lumber facility,” said Bret Kelly, Director of Growth and Development for Griffin. “It wasn’t just going to be our largest greenfield construction to date, it was going to be a real game-changer for our customers. Clint [Darnell] and his team know our business so well that they were able to attack our design unlike anyone else. In fact, we asked them to be the general contractor for the entire project.”

One Call Changed Everything.

With construction already underway, Clint received a phone call from Jason Settles, Griffin’s president, who had a design curve ball he wanted to discuss. Could CT Darnell do a mid-stream redesign of the warehouse to accommodate the addition of a fully functioning door manufacturing business, including space for new equipment, staff and storage of raw materials?

“No problem,” said Clint.

Pivot.

“Things happen during the design phase of every project—plans change, wrinkles come up. This was a tremendous opportunity for Griffin,” explained Clint. “Even though we were already underway with the new build, we took a step back and took another look at everything.”

With almost 40 years of experience in the lumber and building materials market, CT Darnell is quick to remind every customer that the key to success is good flow—a space that is simple, fast, and safe to move through. In the case of Griffin Lumber & Hardware, they needed to determine the best way to integrate a fully functioning door shop into the existing plan while still maximizing the product and service flow through the facility – including the flow within the door shop. “This wasn’t an easy ask,” admitted Clint. “It’s like building a car from the wheels up and then being asked to add a truck on top.”

Let’s Go Up.

According to Clint, “We had already maximized the footprint to accommodate the lumber operation with some room for planned growth, and we knew adding more land was not an option. So we went up.”

By leveraging the plentiful vertical space, CT Darnell was able to incorporate a fully functioning door shop within the new design by adding a second-story millwork operation along with three-high stack racks and a walk-behind Combilift to increase storage space. “It was genius,” marveled Griffin’s owner, CJ Griffin. “There’s real value in having a partner who not only knows our business inside and out but also can pivot on the design in real time and handle the general construction, too.”

The Pride of Griffin Lumber & Hardware

After just six months from inspiration to grand opening, Griffin Lumber’s Warner Robins facility is open and bustling. The nine-acre operation boasts triple-wide aisles for easy pulls and loads, fully integrated racking and storage systems that enable quick turns of well-organized products. And, of course, a fully operational and hyper-efficient door manufacturing facility. “Our customers enjoy the new retail space and our contractors appreciate the larger, commercial-friendly environment. And our employees can’t stop raving about this place,” said Bret. “Everything is brand new and just so easy to navigate. Our productivity is through the roof!”

CT Darnell and Sunbelt Rack have been supporting LBM businesses with innovative storage systems and buildings for over 35 years. We have provided more rack systems and pre-engineered steel buildings in more lumberyards across the nation than any other supplier. Call us at 1-800-353-0892 and find out what we can do to support your business. For more success stories, visit us online at sunbelt-rack.com.