4 Generations of Building Business: Holmes Building Materials

Matt Holmes – Holmes Building Materials

Holmes Building Materials is a supplier of hardware, lumber, flooring, and home decoration products.

The company has a staff of trained and certified professionals that offers customized design, project estimates, and customer support services.

It operates a fleet of vehicles that provides on-time delivery services. Holmes Building Materials offers a selection of doors and windows for interior and exterior applications. The company provides roofing, siding, and building materials for residential and commercial customers. It additionally offers different types of trim, knobs, and bathroom fixtures. Holmes Building Materials offers services to professional builders and remodelers.

Founded in 1957, the company has locations in Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, LA. Matt Holmes of Holmes building supply joins Local Leaders: The Podcast Host Jim Chapman and discusses what it is like to be the 4th generation of the family business. check out episode #126!

Transcript (Beta)

hi it’s tricia johnston residential realtor with lader and bloom with your real estate tip of the week the hot topic in real estate right now is the new flood insurance risk rating system called risk rating 2.0 it’s set to go into effect for new flood insurance policies on october 1st if we don’t have a government shutdown and on april 1st of 2022 for flood insurance policy renewals the reason they’ve come up with this new risk rating system is because the existing one is outdated and not effective so hopefully more people will have confidence in this new risk rating and will obtain flood insurance right now only one in four properties in the state of louisiana are covered by flood insurance through the national flood insurance program so with the new risk rating system about 20 of current policy holders will see a decrease in their premium for those who see an increase in their flood insurance premium they’re going to put a cap on how much it can go up per year there’s a lot more information so tune in again next week where i’ll have some more of the details on how this may affect your flood insurance premium if you have any questions about real estate before then just give me a call i’m trisha johnston with ladder and bloom and i’ll be back here next week with more information on this topic for you

hi folks i want to tell you about denham springs fit body boot camp in their 28-day 77 dollar jump start program there’s no strings attached and really no reason not to try you can be in and out in just 30 minutes and best of all these 30-minute sessions are scheduled throughout the mornings and evenings to fit your busy schedule these 30-minute sessions are fun positive encouraging and you can even sign up online just visit getfitdenimsprings.com

denim springs fit body boot camp a proud sponsor of local leaders the podcast

hey welcome back to local leaders of the podcast this is episode number 126 and sitting across from me today is matt holmes of holmes building materials right here in denham springs how are you doing well doing well yourself i’m doing great to talk all about family business and uh what it’s like to be a fourth generation guy in uh in the private uh building materials business which which you are so your great grandfather started homes building materials correct he did my great-grandfather and grandfather started together and it was actually uh started as holmes brick and salvage so they would go in and everything that’s expensive nowadays is what they were wrecking back then so old brick pine beams they would go into churches old barns and buildings and they would um they would salvage any materials that they could everything else they would throw away they’d salvage anything and they would resell it and we have some old pictures of the store uh on greenville springs right there by choctaw yes and some overhead shots that someone took uh back about that time frame and like some of the pictures were just funny i mean it looks like trash it really does but i mean they were selling it and apparently doing okay people would come in and say hey i’ll take these old beams and i need some tuba fours or i need something to put them up with or just something to go along with them so slowly over time it transitioned out of a brick and salvage yard into a building material selling only new product which is what we do now and have been since mid-80s interesting but uh i can remember as like a kid we would still have like the one old rack of like screen doors or old windows or every now and then uh when somebody would walk in and like hey y’all used to have old window sashes do you all have they’re probably painting them or making mirrors out of them or whatever you know yeah but y’all have any old windows ashes on man we got rid of those i remember them yeah cause they had wasp nests in them and i would have to go dig through them but we got rid of those a long time ago so that’s it it transitioned um late 70s mid 80s into really selling new product kind of when my dad got into the business uh and got out of high school and college um and he’s done a great job growing it and and getting it to where he could hand it off to me right absolutely so i’m i’m really proud of our family and what what generations before me have been able to do yeah absolutely and we were kind of talking about that off camera how rare it is to have that continued uh generational uh uh continuation i guess you could say of business for family-owned companies you know um which is something around here that we provide a huge focus on very important to support your your family-owned companies in in any area of the world that you live in but in holmes case so you had your which store was first you have to you have one on over off choctaw an airline so correct and then one on florida boulevard in denham springs um so we originally started with the original store that was on uh greenville springs right by choctaw yes um not the best part of town at some point in 1957 it was probably out in the country yeah but as as things grew around it not in necessarily the best part of town and it was it was small it was never made to be a lumber yard and so we worked with what we had because that’s what we had it was two acres um right before katrina hit we had um the opportunity to buy smith building materials which was in denham springs on florida boulevard yes so we did and it turned out to be great timing with katrina happening literally 30 days later so so we’ve owned that now and then we took and bought ed price building materials which was on airline highway which was originally built to be a lumber yard and much bigger so it was nine acres so then we got the opportunity to consolidate a couple of locations into all into one on airline highway in those nine acres so we have the one store on airline highway now and then we have the old smith building materials um homes building materials on florida boulevard and denim springs fantastic do it best how does that correlate too so so they’re a great partner of ours they’re our co-op gotcha so people have probably heard of ace and true value just because they advertise and when they advertise very rarely do they say the local store they advertise as ace when you see a commercial right or true well do it best branding was i’m going to promote the local owner and do it best will be behind the scenes so if you drive up to the store there’ll be a do a best sign but most people don’t know what that means that’s our way to compete with a lowe’s and a home depot on buying power so if you take 2 000 stores around the country well then and do it best is buying for those 2 000 stores then i can buy a screwdriver or a hammer or even a 2×4 for the same price that the big boys came yes and it would be very very hard to do that just having two stores right yes the one thing that separates doit from an ace and a true value is we can buy lumber and build and materials through them which you can’t through ace and true value usually when you go to that those are just hardware stores yeah um so it’s really nice we can buy lumber and build the materials through do it best we also buy our hardware from them so it’s been a really good partnership it’s been one of the best things that we’ve done for our business very good and well-known name there would do it best familiar with that um now a little bit about you personally outside of your outside of your business you have two kids i do i have two kids my daughter just turned 12. wow and then she’s olivia and then i have ben who is nine uh and in fourth grade so they’re they’re a blast they’re at really good ages yes i you get over the them being little and changing diapers and i’m not into what i perceive as like big kids and big problems yet yeah so i’m at like a really good time right now great age yeah 9 or 16 now yeah i have twin girls and uh and no hair and that explains it right explains a lot because they’re driving and yeah oh yeah and emotional and all those sorts of things it’s so it’s so funny when they get to 16 but right but fun love them to death now your wife is a pediatrician she is she works at the baton rouge clinic christina holmes um she we went to med school i say we went to med school i feel like i was in med school although i wasn’t uh so we both graduated from lsu in 2007 and then moved to shreveport she got in medical school up there yeah we had been the high school sweethearts and so it was i wasn’t going to let her go to shreveport and me stay down here and i wasn’t going to move to shreveport and not be married that didn’t make any sense so we got married right after college moved to shreveport lived there for four years uh i was a superintendent for a regional builder united built homes so i got a chance to be on the other end of the desk saying like hey where’s my lumber at what happened to this so on and so forth so it gave me some really good experience to then come back to baton rouge and say like look i know what you’re going through i know how to build a house i know what you’re going through so on and so forth hey ladies it’s pete with idaho lane spawn beautique located in walker we offer all things skincare hair care makeup spray tan lashes and more and we have a full selection of clothes and we also do private events from birthday parties bridal showers and more so stop by today and get your queen on making every woman a queen see you soon awesome awesome and you know interesting thing with you and i’m glad you mentioned that you graduated from lsu because you have a lot of uh a lot of educational experience behind what you do construction management is what you graduated in that’s that’s huge that’s in your field right sure it’s in my field uh maybe i should have had more of a business degree at this point because it was funny graduating construction management you should and then going work for a company where you’re building homes other people’s dream homes yes you should know how to do that and i literally had no idea in 2007 like you graduate with a degree that’s on paper and then you go like i i don’t know how to operate in the real world right so it takes real world experience but it was going to lsu graduating in that i knew i always wanted to be in construction um one way shape or form you know yes i’d seen my dad do the same thing and and really appreciated that and then i just i i get joy and it a lot of fulfillment for building things i mean think about a house right you start with nothing it’s a piece of dirt and at the end of it it’s a house now whether i’m supplying materials for that house or building that house or whatever it is we get the opportunity to be able to make that house look good you know two befores don’t always look pretty and i get that that’s fine they get covered up and nobody cares about those right windows and doors are the the probably the biggest thing that we sell that we get an opportunity to say like hey look you wanted this i switched you to this series or style because i think it looks better and look how beautiful your house looks you go drive by it and it makes you feel good inside sure and so that was the that was the reason that that’s why i’ve liked construction absolutely well the aesthetics are you know what everybody sees and from the paint color to the door the doors and the architecture maybe the trim it has some interesting qualities to it um all of those things are are important and i i like you i notice those things you know when you got triple crown and it looks really nice i noticed that um and you’re in the industry and you probably walked in a house and you go ooh that pink color that that’s i shouldn’t have done that right but you don’t say anything no no that’s beautiful i never thought that would go uh yeah and it you know everybody it’s interesting everybody has their own taste and sometimes you see things and and you would never think they’d work and then they get up and and they’re on a house and it’s like wow that really does pop it works they had a better vision than i did yeah yeah got into orleans sometimes check out them paint colors right there right get a little wild over there in new orleans but uh you literally grew up in this business you worked there at a young age sure so my my first experience and i’ve told this story a couple of times um so if you’ve heard it i apologize but my my first experience working for dad and for the business was i really wanted a fossil watch a fossil is a name brand yeah it was probably 50 then i was in sixth grade and my dad was like absolutely i’m not buying you a 50 watch and i would agree with that statement you’re going to lose it whatever right and he said but you can come work for me and you can earn 50 and then you can buy whatever you want to buy so i think he was paying me like three or four dollars an hour or something like that i was sweeping floors i was in sixth grade my mom would drop me off after school i would do it a little bit in the summertime and as soon as i got my 50 i immediately quit i bought my fossil watch and then i was good until i needed something else and then i went back to work right yeah so so growing up in it through uh junior high in high school i would i would always work a little bit in the business sure um dad was a real big proponent of me getting some outside experience and working in the real world right so what we did through high school and a little bit in college high school i’d always have a summer job with someone and it was always a builder it was a remodeler and he was gutting a house so i was the guy in there sweating gutting ripping off sheetrock doing whatever right the next summer it would be with another builder and i would be doing something else just you know just whatever day labor is right in college i started doing estimating uh because that’s one service that we provide and it was one of those things where if i was going to college full time and the store is only open until five o’clock there’s only so many hours that i could work at the store which was one or two a day and it just didn’t make any sense so dad taught me how to do estimating so we would estimate if you bring me a set of plans and you say hey i don’t know what i need to build this can you please do a take off for it right so i could do that on my own free time whenever i wanted to um i wound up doing one uh for a gentleman named david falk who at that point worked for bouquet in the blog and uh he said man you know how to do that and i was like i i think so i know what my dad taught me right and he’s like so what they hired me so i worked there for a couple of years in college helping out estimating so that that worked um that really taught me a lot so i learned a little bit on the commercial side graduated college went and worked for united built home so i’ve gotten some good outside experience which i think has really paid off yes and uh shout out to your dad because that’s probably the best thing he could have ever done i’ll tell you i sit down with a lot of business owners and you would you would might would be surprised how many uh that have i don’t know if you call it pass down their business but um almost in all cases they have them work for someone else and a lot of them say it’s because they want their uh son or whatever to know what it’s like to work for someone else other than mom and dad right so right very important because when you as a business owner when you know what it’s like to work for someone else you carry that with you and then when you’re back at in your case homes building materials uh you can relate sure can relate to people working for you because you worked for somebody else at one point uh a huge thing and a big sign of leadership from your dad to do that um so shout out to him there and and what was it like working for those other folks was it was it a pleasant experience all around pretty much it was i got to learn a lot yeah i work for some really good people i work for eric ponte for one summer i work for new dogdon for another summer both do some real nice custom remodels and new construction um and then obviously for bouquet and leblanc that was a different thing because then i wasn’t out in the field i was i was behind a computer reviewing some medals and things like that but it was it was great real world experience i mean you got hired you could get fired yeah i mean you could you like there’s there’s things like okay am i gonna show up on time you know all all of these things go through your head when working for a family business you you get a little bit more leeway when it comes to that right yeah that ain’t gonna fire me yeah that’s exactly right right right you know so it was it was it was it built i think it built a good work ethic i appreciate my dad doing that um i’m i’m trying to impress that upon my son as we speak because he’s like well i just want to work for holmes i was like no man like try again he’s like well i want to be a firefighter i said that’s a good career let’s let’s explore that yes very good very good uh and y’all run a wonderful business over there um i have a huge affinity especially for construction construction-related family-owned companies but uh have really noticed the good work y’all have done as a matter of fact my house after the flood has you all building materials all over it um uh and y’all really came through for me i can speak from personal experience after that flood and i want to i want to talk about that a little bit because that was a time where and i can obviously say this from experience but where everybody was stressed out because their house was you know what only uh we need to renovate i mean their house was destroyed and so you folks had you know i mean uh i can’t tell you how valuable it was that y’all were there for the community sure um it was huge because it it meant that we were starting to become whole again when we were putting up that sheetrock or we were putting up those doors and all those sorts of things um what was it like during that time for y’all that was probably i can’t speak for my dad but for me personally that was probably the toughest period to be able to go through yeah whether it was just the sheer amount of hours that you were working in a day trying to get product having enough product going home and renovating houses and and dealing with other people doing that and just the stress level that that came with all of those things we were really fortunate throughout the flood um where we’re located i never paid attention but if you drive down florida boulevard from amit river it goes up just slightly where we’re at so the store did not flood the lumber yard did but i can deal with that but the store itself did not flood there was waves from some boats that went by they got like underneath the doorway but all in all we were really really fortunate uh so we were able to open up when probably two or three days later when they opened up the bridges and those kind of things we were able to open to whatever whatever team members could make it there it’s like look guys you got a place to come right yeah um what what was really tough to deal with is our guys were stressed out so much and working their tails off and then what do they have to do when they get off like they’re going home and they’re sleeping on an air mattress in a house that has been flooded and working on their own houses yeah so that that was a really trying time for us and and for many many businesses right right um i can remember and i mean we’re doing all this we have more people coming than we’re set up for and and rightfully so we’re just trying to help out at one point if you bought anything from us we were giving away uh cases of water like you could buy a screwdriver and you get a case of water yeah whatever and like just you leave the door and i have a pallet of water sitting out there just give out pallets right beautiful yeah um but it was it was a really trying time and we have a parking lot that’s probably set up for 20 people as being generous maybe 12 is more realistic yeah and there’s a home depot on range and it took them forever to get back open up for whatever reason and i remember the day they opened we were like oh thank god yeah give me

but it was like oh thank god like we need we need a little bit of a break yeah because y’all were blessed you didn’t you know you didn’t you were able to open right almost right away correct and um and we were blessed because you were able to open almost right away but people had somewhere they could turn to that actually wasn’t underwater and you know what if everything would have been like the home depot and would have been closed for three months or however long it was sure um but you’re right i mean at some point it’s like yeah we can breathe again for at least a little bit right now as nice as it is to get that influx of business nobody wants to get it that way there’s nothing there and you can’t you can’t deal with it in an efficient manner yeah people are customers or emotional coming in and they’re just they’re either thanking you for being open or they’re agitated about their house and like we understand either of those right because that’s how all of our people were right so absolutely between helping the community and trying to be open and accessible to the influx that we had that was that was a really really tough time frame to go through i can imagine it was uh it was tough on your end as well telephone tell a friend tell everyone if you have been to look at me 4d imaging they have been nominated for baton rouge parents magazine’s 2021 family favorite voting began september 1st but it continues through september 30th please take a moment if you’re a watcher of my podcast and go vote for them and the best news is you can vote once per day look at me 40 imaging is your one and only local 3d and 4d early gender determination ultrasound studio located right here in livingston parish they are here for all of your before birth ultrasound needs so check them out on the web at look at me 4d imaging.com and don’t forget to vote i’m going to include the link in the comments or the description of this podcast thanks so much and uh i do want to mention that uh you have some pretty interesting leadership skills behind you in addition to your your college skills and that is uh you graduated do it best as a leadership development institute that you attended that’s correct and also business reports leadership academy in 2017 which i’m somewhat familiar with so okay you graduated from uh both of those how beneficial would you say those were from kind of the i guess the people management side of what you do so those two courses um the first one came was do it best i was probably i was working in outside sales uh for homes at that point i was probably in it for a year or two after we moved back from shreveport and it’s leadership is all dealing with people right like it’s all communication and at this point in my career which it wasn’t then that’s all i do like some people ask me like on a daily basis hey what do you do like every day and i’m like i deal with people and with problems yeah if you can navigate those and you can treat those people right and you can lead them in the correct way then you will mitigate the amount of problems that you have as well absolutely so it makes life a little bit more uh pleasurable um but i mean the leadership skills that they gave me in those two courses i use on a daily basis i would highly recommend the business report anyone in in baton rouge livingston parish anywhere around can can go to that i would highly recommend it um to any duo best members uh you would have to be one to go through their uh ldi class sure but i mean those two things were huge we’ve put people i put other people through do it best other other team members through do a best program because i believed in it so much yeah it’s amazing when you look at every leadership quality every problem that comes from either good or bad leadership everything boils down to communication and the more you can communicate the better off you are and that’s a lot of what those those classes and the books we read and the courses we took um teach you 100 and you know you mentioned earlier that one of the tough things of going through that flood period was that your employees were going through it you know like you said they were working all day then they were going home maybe they were rolling out walls you know or they were doing whatever it was they were doing to get their own life straight um that tells me you have and you you care about your employees and that’s kind of the difference between i say this a lot but the difference to me between a a private family and company and a uh uh stock market company for lack of a better term is those private family and companies those owners you know they have a relationship with these employees they care about these employees sure you know they’re part of the family so to speak and um they’re not just a number so how how important are the employees to the success of homes our team members make it they make it or break it right so you can have you can walk in as a customer and either what we sell is not unique very rarely is it unique inside the marketplace right you can buy two before anywhere you can buy a piece of sheetrock anywhere you can buy basically what we sell from a number of places and you may have even driven by one or two of those places in order to buy it from me so the only thing that separates us is our people and i have found if you if we treat our people well then our people feel good and then they treat our customers well in return and that’s that’s the biggest thing that we can ask for um a lot of our guys have a lot of experience and that pays dividends when it comes to certain problems and questions that people come up with right but if they’re in a good mood and they feel appreciated and they’re not overworked and you have a work-life balance which we really try to focus on then you’re gonna you’re you’re just gonna have a better day and you’re gonna treat the customers better right 100 100 and and i say it all the time i did a presentation yesterday as a matter of fact kind of centered around that and that is your what you want to give people uh in the experience of them doing business with you is you want to separate yourself with the service to the point that they feel like they can’t get that anywhere else sure you know um when you walk in a family and business no matter what it is uh you want it to be like cheers you know you walk in and people like hey man how are you and and maybe they’re maybe they’re not buying a 2×4 that day maybe they came by to get a cup of coffee and just shoot the breeze with you know their guy their cells were up there whoever that’s what you want because that’s a relationship that’s not uh walking in a a you know a big public company and and buying a 2×4 putting it on a cart and walking out the door and never speaking to anybody that’s exactly right and we’re really fortunate especially at our denim store of having those people i mean like it’s funny we open the doors technically at 6 30. we have people there at six o’clock loading trucks and we have a couple of sales people that come in early and we have your regular customers that come in between six and seven and every day they come because every day they’re gonna buy a little bit of something and maybe it’s raining that day and they’re just used to coming by and they’re not working that day but they come by and they drink a cup of coffee and they shoot the breeze for a little while with some of our sales people and it just it’s it it’s you get that from being involved in the community and having people that are involved with the community and and a lot of locally owned family businesses are um that’s a real focus for a lot of them 100 let’s discuss a few things first i want to talk about trades in general so i just want to get your opinion on this sure one thing that uh that i’ve been kind of on a tangent lately especially is i feel like uh college is a great thing and there are some people made for college and you definitely want to encourage that but i feel like some you know the trades the painters the uh sheetrock finishers all those uh you know pick a trade the framers um right now there’s kind of a shortage of a lot of that and especially skilled um you know you have some guys and they you know they’re going to throw a ladder in the back of their truck and call themselves a painter and then you have real painters and guys that are you know third generation painters that uh you know those sorts of things are real framers and guys that throw uh you know framing square in the back of their truck there’s a big difference so trades there are kind of a shortage of and i feel like some of that is because as a really as a as a society we have encouraged college to the point that we’ve forgotten about the trades and without the trades we don’t survive right uh everything kind of starts with them i i almost credit a lot of the labor shortage now to the fact that uh there’s just not skilled labor out there like there used to be what are your thoughts on that how important are those trades i i agree i think the it was funny we were at a home builders association board meeting a couple of days ago and talking about what some of the biggest challenges that we face in construction and the number one thing that comes up is labor and labor shortage right and it is for so many years everyone has to go to college what do you do after high school you graduate and you go to college that’s what you’re that’s if you want to be successful that’s what you need to do yeah and that is not necessarily the case for some people that works out great and you’re never going to become an md a doctor without going to college right but that doesn’t fit everybody’s skill set or mantra and there’s nothing wrong with that at all um some of the the probably hardest hit um skilled labor shortages are heating and air plumbing and electrical your three mechanical and those are some of the best paying jobs periods that are out there yeah whether you’re getting paid by the hour and you’re a helper out of high school and you’re 19. if you want to work in today’s day and age if you want to work you should be employed and you should be working for somebody right there there’s as many people that are looking for labor there is no excuse in my mind for somebody to say well i just i’ve applied to a job and i can’t get it like that i can tell you that doesn’t happen because there’s no way so labor shortage and skilled labor is is by all means what is going to hold back production whether that be residential whether that be commercial whether that be industrial the industrial guys have a little bit more money to play with and but you also so you may earn a little bit more by going to work in a plant but then you also have more rules and regulations that if you don’t dot your eyes across your t’s you’re not gonna be working there for very long that’s right so um and working in a plant you’d never be a business owner correct you know which is a beautiful thing as a business owner you know this and and uh i’ll tell you you got any questions on that go have a plumber snake out your pipes at your house and then see how much that they make good money and there’s very few of them uh you know right now if you call a plumber and you just got a basic plumbing problem you know he can’t come in that day it’s probably three four days before he can get out there and fix it because they’re so busy because there’s a lack of those guys same thing with electrical those guys make great money and you you can become a business owner that way that’s 100 correct and you don’t have to have a whole lot of of capital to be able to do that either yeah that’s a beautiful thing out of it you just need to be hard working there there is an we have an age problem with that workforce demographic right now right right and those guys are getting older and retiring those skilled people and man it is we are not replacing them i don’t know what the number is but 10 of them retire and you may get one of them to replace them right yeah you know it’s just it’s a really tough thing that we are going to be fighting now probably for decades

you i mean not everybody wants to be a rocket scientist not everybody wants to you know do do something that will require a college degree sometimes uh they want to get out of high school and maybe take over their dad’s plumbing business or electrical business or drywall business and you can definitely do that and you can buy everything from homes they’ll take care of you there that’s right well and look and there’s when you’re when you’re looking for your first job out of college your college degree means a lot yes and as soon as you’re looking for a second or a third job your college degree means very very little right experience is everything at the correct point correct and uh and the thing is you can’t i don’t know if this term will make sense but you can’t learn experience so if you have someone with 20 years experience doing something that’s you could show me someone would agree from harvard and someone with 20 years experience i’m probably going to take that guy with that 20 years experience for sure so let’s talk about some of the things that have happened lately one of the things when you spoke at the chamber event recently by the way did a phenomenal job man i was glued to that thing i was like this guy is a great voice too i got to get him on the show um you have you have a fabulous voice for for radio if you know if the holmes thing don’t work out you got a radio career i got the face variety that’s a good thing that’s a good one um so i want to talk a little bit about what you discussed there and that was at that time lumber was was crazy it was uh it was up there in cost course important to mention this has nothing to holmes doesn’t set the lumber prices nationally unfortunately unfortunately yeah um that is obviously set by the market and holmes you know buys lumber and then they resell it to a consumer they don’t go out there and cut the trees and all that sort of thing so um so a lot of your pricing is based off of that market which is a lot like the gap you could compare it to the gas market i mean it goes up and down kind of like gas so it’s funny people ask me like hey like um you want to go to the casino and gamble do you want to bet on a sports bet or something like that and it’s like man i gamble all day every day with a lot more money than i’m going to the casino with the gamble right which is like probably a hundred dollars yeah so i’m i’m good on my gambling side of things so what people don’t understand and that gambling comes from being traded on the open market so you are correct very much like oil and gas lumber is traded on the open market and there is a publication that comes out once a week it’s called random links and that basically which is kind of scary that publication sets pricing on everything that we buy yeah every single item that we buy they say i’m gonna charge you the price on random links plus a freight charge and that’s my landed cost which then i mark it up to be to make a little money on sure right so if my cost is higher then obviously the sale price is higher they’re relative and random links fluctuates so back in that point may and june this year were historically the highest lumber has ever traded for and you could not find it if you could find it you’re paying an arm and a leg for it it was somewhere in the sixteen hundred dollars a thousand range so when i talk about that uh per thousand is per thousand board feet we don’t sell lumber in per thousand board feet anymore we used to we don’t anymore but we still have to buy it that way um so it’s people don’t understand like it is a fluctuating market and granted a can of beans at the grocery store technically that could fluctuate maybe by pennies yeah but i mean you’re talking about 99 cents a dollar 02 98 cents like you find a good deal and it’s 95 cents right right lumber has gone from from a sheet of osb which everybody’s pretty familiar with it’s the stuff that they put on the outside of your house um for wall sheathing that used to be ten dollars a sheet it got up to as much as 55 dollars a sheet it’s somewhere in the 15 to 20 range right now so it’s much more manageable right now from a consumer standpoint if you have to go out and buy it but the sheer fact of when it was 55 in literally 30 days it dropped to being 15 to 20. yeah in 30 days so then the inventory that i had on hand was super expensive yeah which is not is not fun on a on a downward turning market but you you make a little bit on the upward turning market so you would hope those two things offset but but people just don’t understand uh people that are not in the industry how much that fluctuates now builders over the last year and a half have gotten to understand that very much so more than they ever have because when things used to fluctuate osb for example could be ten dollars it could be eleven maybe it got really expensive and it was twelve fifty then it went down to nine dollars so a builder never really got hurt because he’s given a price to somebody it could be six months before he gives a proposal and that could be a hard money proposal and then they decide to get the financing they get the the job and they go forward with it well are those numbers from six months ago still good anymore and it used to be they were good enough to where like it was okay like it was manageable even if even if we lost a little bit they lost a little bit it was okay well when you go from i quoted it at fifteen dollars and now it’s forty dollars or fifty five dollars no one no one can bridge that gap there’s not enough money to be made building a house to be able to bridge that gap correct um so that that put a lot of people in a bind and it’s just so builders have become more educated over the last year year and a half because they don’t want to get in a bind and so i mean we’re consistently sending those reports random links you have to pay for them to get them but we’re consistently sending those out to some of our our customers saying like hey just watch the market be careful with your quote and so on and so forth very good very good and that’s valuable that you’re educating your builders and the people that do business with you and say hey this is what’s kind of going on on the other side of that and you know it’s interesting matt in a formal life i was in a similar field and um and it used to be we could guarantee pricing right so it was like to guarantee that for a year i guarantee that for 90 days one price increase sometime in january and then the rest of it you’re good yeah right you know it got to the point where um basically i was guaranteeing nothing like this is your price today oh we had we were dealing with some big multi-family jobs and we said look this price is good for 48 hours yeah and that’s only if i can if you give me the po in 24 hours then the price is only good if i can physically find it the product in the next 24 hours and if i can’t none of it’s good anymore right i mean it’s so it’s not worth the paper it’s written on yeah which puts i mean it makes it really tough it really does especially with commercial projects where you um you know you’re i have some relationship with some architects that um they were telling me they would have to literally re-bid entire jobs because commercial projects don’t kick off right away i mean you know you bid the job and then it’s three four five months before maybe even anything starts sure um or longer and they were getting to the point where they were ready to start and they’d contact that architect and our architect would be like hold up you know that lumbers went up and in a commercial setting uh you could be talking about a 300 000 difference in material overall on a big commercial project yeah i mean that’s a rebit or or and it goes both ways i mean we had somebody we helped somebody roll the dice at one point the lumber bid was 1.2 million dollars for a multi-family complex that was at the peak they said what do we do i said man i’d roll the dice i just you don’t need it right now let’s roll the dice let’s wait yeah and that number turned into a 700 000 number yeah in about 45 to 60 days oh my gosh i mean they were ecstatic yeah at that point but the budget was 700 so they really didn’t save anything they just came in right the budget that they had but then the other problem you have is some manufacturers they’ve been so busy they just don’t if they if the manufacturer can’t make money then they’re just not going to produce it anymore yeah so you have somebody that used to have 25 skus well now they say i’m not producing all those 25 because the change to go from one to two takes too long and so so 25 i’m gonna make seven yeah well that’s fine until one of the other ones are specked out on a commercial job and then you have to call somebody and say hey not only is your stuff gonna be more expensive now they just don’t make it so like you physically can’t get that anywhere so we got to go back to the drawing board and design something different fit blends of denim springs can help you with everything from meal prep to supplements i love it that they serve breakfast all day in addition to the best ultra healthy wraps you can really get anywhere in livingston parish they are home of the five dollar smoothie friday and are an amazing sponsor of local leaders the podcast fit blends denim springs fast fit food for you

yeah and it totally happens i know on the paint side of things uh really every manufacturer of paint ran out of flat paint at one point how do you run out of flat paint ran out of flat yeah i mean the resin the vinyl acrylic resin right required in paint uh just ran flat out of it and let me tell you uh it blew the minds of a lot of people because really this year has been like no other not only coveted related but just availability related um i saw a picture the other day of somewhere off the coast of california and there was uh all the tanks

and everything yeah no i mean you you woke up on january 1st 2021 you go thank god 2020 is over right not to realize that by this point 2021 is way worse than 20 20. way worse it’s insane and and uh so every day you wake up to kind of a different thing and of course you as a building material place you have to manage all that right and you have to say look kovid uh when it when it reared its ugly head for the first time i’m sure y’all were like everybody else and you were like okay we need to do what we need to do to keep our employees safe ourselves safe and and all of those sorts of things nobody knew yeah yeah you were making it up as you went at one point we had uh plastic folding tables right when you walked in the denim spring store you walked about 10 feet and there’s a plastic folding table with a sales person and a computer and you could not go in the store yeah because we were i could halfway control our people of like did you test positive okay we’re gonna send you home yeah it was really hard for me to control the general public so then it was do you need a screwdriver well we’ll go walk and get the screwdriver and i hope we got you the right one or we’ll walk back and get another one right yes so i mean that’s but but you were making it up as you went and then we said at one point okay i think we’re doing better as a community so then we’ll get rid of that we’ll let people back in the store but we’ll put up plastic shields and everybody’s wearing masks of course during all this and all that and there’s no set of rules or regulations or guidelines you know there isn’t that’s what that is what the there’s recommendations but you know are those the correct ones or not that that gets into a whole another topic in discussion but it’s really hard to navigate the waters because they’ve never been done before absolutely and then from a from the standpoint of of a business owner the issue becomes you know you have to stay staffed so it’s like what do we do you know if one guy gets sick do we have to shut the whole place down it’s like and it’s you know insane i would agree there’s a point um in our denim store when it was between christmas and new year so if this had to happen that was the best timing but we had to shut the entire store down because we had five or six people test positive inside the store of which we have maybe 13 or 15. yeah so i mean a third of the population tests positive within 24 hours yeah so we shut it down that that’s a lot of people are hunting during that time frame and taking a little bit of time off so that was a really convenient thing but it’s still i mean how do you who who makes you know as a business owner you have to make some hard decisions and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong that’s right but you don’t know it as you’re doing that you know and and that was a time you know it’s still a time of it seems like we’re learning every day sure you know and still are one thing i say with with uh kovit is if it did anything for the business owner it forced us to all kind of innovate it forced us to think of other ways to sell whatever it was we were selling just in case you know uh something happens you’ve got to think outside the box that’s the only way you’re going to survive half period period and and uh stay ahead of the curve on on things like that so y’all done a great job of that uh and and again you know they have uh of course the airline highway location that uh used to be at price and uh and the location right here in denham springs that everybody’s familiar with on florida boulevard as you’re going towards walker on the right-hand side uh and i’ve been there many times i i can tell you the great guys over there your paint guy over there is amazing robert does a really good job i’ll give him a plug he’s he’s one of the best oh yeah and he only been doing it like a hundred years that’s exactly right he’s old that’s exactly right i mean he’s mixing paint by hand uh you know saying hey i can tint this and do that and what about this color that look okay yeah you know yes uh so i asked you on your questionnaire about your largest influence uh in your business and you said your dad john go figure right go figure uh but you said you’ve always looked up to him and how he’s handling himself in any type of situation whether it be good or bad he’s a great businessman and a leader of people he retired a couple years ago but it goes without saying that his influences are still being felt how beneficial was it to have your dad to just watch man and you know in that business it was it was a it was a great thing for me to learn from one of the best in the business and he truly is one of the best in the business he’s one of the nicest guys i mean very rarely and sometimes he gets put in awkward positions whether it’s somebody that owes us some money on something that they bought or or whatever the scenario is and very rarely does he leave a situation or do i meet somebody and says hey man i just i hate your dad he’s a terrible person like i just i can’t i can’t picture anyone saying that because of the way that he handles himself and so it was great to be able to learn from that i mean some of the things that he did for his team back then are still setting the stage for us now because we still i mean we have some employees that have been with us for a long long time yes you know and it was he did a very good job throughout our transition and this was really his transition because i was just along for the ride saying like okay you you want to retire in five years that sounds good to me okay no problem right like so he did a lot of homework and work to be able to transition the business in a good method because it’s hard going from first generation to second or third to fourth or whatever the scenario is right and and i really commend and applaud him for that at the end of the day like it it the the transition it’s it’s a business proposal right it’s not about me being his son or him or him being my dad this is about business and that’s the way that he treats it and i think that i really respect that at the same time his love for the the people that work for him it’s not about a location i was really surprised whenever we shut grindel springs down he and i were there the last day that it was it was it was really not even open but like literally we were closing the doors and you can tell like i’ll get emotional about this and i said how do you feel about all this i mean this this was only five or six years ago so from 1957 uh until when he started in the company to then like this has been home and he’s like you know i don’t really the store doesn’t do it for me it’s all about the people so like whether we’re here on greenville springs or whether we’re a mile and a quarter away on airline highway that doesn’t necessarily matter to me so i don’t have any love for the actual building itself at some point everything’s for sale right but he had a huge love for the people that worked for him so as long as the people were moving from greenville to airline he was perfectly good no problem no questions asked that’s a beautiful thing and it’s obvious that you do too sure and that’s uh i’ll tell you this if you ever want to know how how how a company treats their employees look at the length of time they’ve been there and when you have a especially a family owned company that has employees that have been there a length of time your folks have been with you uh you’re treating them right sure you know because let’s face it people can go anywhere they want you know and especially this day there’s no doubt about that so obviously um you do a great job of taking care of your employees and look from business owners standpoint employees may most may never realize how important it is that business owner knows exactly uh how much responsibility they have and they’re literally making you know they’re they’re they have the livelihood of these people in their hands and so they care as much about that employee as as that employee does their job uh in a lot of cases so shout out to you guys for that that’s that’s an extremely respectable thing and your dad you know it’s funny man it’s like you have this love for the building business and um that was i’m sure instilled by your dad and um he had a love for the building business and uh it’s a beautiful thing i can only imagine what it’s like to be a dad and pass that on to your son and i’m sure his pride is just you know he’s just probably very proud of you for that so you do a great job man yeah you know you can tell you love it um now let me ask you we haven’t talked a whole lot about your services so you have a you have a vast variety of things that you offer from drywall to paint to lumber kind of listen give me a rundown of all the all the different offerings you have so i like people ask like well do you i still get asked like do you sell to the public i’m like yes you can walk in the store and buy whatever you would like please publicly sell whatever i can get to be public so yes uh but for some reason we would get the mantra of just well you must sell to the builder right like all you all do is service builders and granite that’s that’s a lot of what we do yeah but i like to say that like we’re really good at projects yeah you can walk in and buy a nut or a bolt or anything but like when you have a project now that project may be my toilet is leaking that’s a project and we have somebody that can help you fix like the flappy thingy because you don’t know what it’s called inside the toilet right like i know what that flappy thingy is i’ll help you with that absolutely um the project could be a deck that you need to build and you know you want it 10 foot by 10 foot and you know you need a set of steps but i don’t really know what else i need right that’s another project that we can help with or we can help with the project of building a house or working on a commercial job so we have a wide variety of items that we sell our biggest cat like product mix and categories are obviously lumber and building materials this one we sell a bunch of drywall and insulation we are a little unique on doors just because we have our own door shop yeah so we buy trucks of door slabs and we turn them into something usable no one’s buying a door slab they’re buying a door unit which has a jam and trim and it’s ready to hang in a hole so then we bore them and we hinge them when we put jams on them so we do all that in-house at airline highway and there’s not another door shop in baton rouge that’s like that it really isn’t so that makes us a little bit unique we still sell a bunch of windows so that’s another product category roofing right now is a huge product category with the storm that’s come through and then flooring is one of those things and we really excel in flooring at denham springs uh sherry does a great job for us over there and that’s another one of the things where we get to we actually get to pick and like say ooh this looks good and this is trendy which is always nice to sell some of those things awesome awesome fantastic and and um just friendly people over there i’ve experienced i go over there pretty frequently and and get different things i actually served in leadership livingston with uh with price uh with todd with todd yeah he was in my class okay well good uh i had a good time with him and uh all the people over there at home’s building supply now i do want to mention

william waldrop of twfg insurance cares he cares about his customers their customers their families and the livingston parish community call william waldrop today for all your insurance needs at 225-667-2040

twfg insurance and william waldron their policy is caring and there a proud sponsor of local leaders the podcast we talked about leadership a little bit and i asked you what you how you would define the leader and you said a leader is someone who his team will follow into any situation because they know what a leader is made of a leader must take it must make known his work ethic personality determine determination and humbleness i think that is well said um you know a lot of people they lead kind of with an iron fist and and uh so there’s situations where maybe you have to do that with certain people but uh really a leader showing uh determination for example they’re they’re willing to get in there and do whatever it is that needs to be done to make business happen that’s that’s a great way of employees kind of looking off on the side and saying hey if he’ll do it and he owns the company then maybe i should do it or you know he’s it’s not beneath him sure and i learned it like my dad was once again a good role model when it comes to that because he would back when we had 15 people and it was just greenville springs i mean he he literally would do anything that he had to from answering the phone to buying the material to shipping it to driving it and all of that and i learned that that um those leadership skills from him in a hope and in our management style um from our cfo to our two store managers to assistant managers is much in the same yeah like look the manager if i’m going around picking up bands on a yard because it looks messy and there’s trash i’m not going to walk by it my store manager is not going to walk by my system manager isn’t and it just goes down and down and down and then a forklift operator in turn isn’t going to do it either right yeah because he sees the person above him doing it so that’s that to me is is what leadership is all about 100 i agree 100 now uh what parishes do you serve like uh how far out will you go to deliver so the surrounding i mean i use baton rouge as the the point of the radius right so usually within about 60 to 80 miles depending on where we’re going we don’t really go inside of new orleans i’ll stay on the outskirts um that’s a whole different market that i’m not necessarily interested in trying to drive a big truck down like downtown new orleans yeah a lot of one-way streets we have a good bit of business in lafayette that uh we service um the north shore has been good to us covington’s been good to us we’ll go a little bit further than that every now and then um and then going up north i mean zachary saint francisville all the way up until like the the mississippi border up there has been really good so that’s kind of our radius that we’re working in we’re really fortunate to have a huge delivery fleet so we a lot of it’s funny i say a lot we have some builders and some people that they have a relationship with a salesman and they have never been in the store yeah like because i’ve had some guy that’s bought from from us for five years and he’s like i asked him to have a meeting at the store and he goes what’s the address again how do i get there yeah i’m like man you’ve bought first from five years he goes well y’all just shipped me everything i don’t need to go to the store right yeah so that’s that’s really convenient for people working on projects it really is and the salesperson’s been taken care of and that’s right that’s a good thing um but yeah in my former life i had a lot of people to continue where we were looking just making it happen yeah you know they still call it’s crazy to make it happen yeah um so uh good to mention yeah you have a huge fleet of delivery trucks and and uh and you can place an order for a whole house and uh they’ll deliver it out to you uh if you’re within that radius no problem you get it there and you at the same time you can place an order for one piece a quarter round and yeah unfortunately we will deliver that as well i wouldn’t say that so it works both ways yeah that’s right you win some and you lose that’s right very good so pretty much if you need something in the builder material realm uh there’s good chance holmes building has it so uh and they’re they’re right there in baton rouge off uh conveniently located right off airline and then they have their location here in denham which is right almost in the heart of town here in denham springs can’t miss it and everybody knows where it’s at so go see them at those two locations now do you have an online presence like a website and all that sort of we do have a website it’s billwithhomes.com we do not currently sell product on the website just because

anyone can sell products on the website like what my thought is what really makes us different is our people so when you go on the website you will see a lot of call 664-4126 or call 926-2031 right because we want you to call the store and talk to one of our people that can help guide you along whatever process that is that’s a great so i don’t know if that’s old school or not but that’s that’s my mindset and i like it until amazon starts figuring out how to ship truckloads of lumber and i’m a little safe in that you know i hope that never happens i don’t want to see that day right uh so yeah get uh check them out on the web and i’ll link your website to the description of this video so make it easy on you folks that are about to run out there and buy them out of all their lumber uh by clicking on that link so go check that out give them a call they can walk you through anything and look if somebody just has you know i’m one of them anything outside of like paint i can’t really tell you a whole lot about it so i will be one of those guys walking in the store and saying i need one of them jiggly things that goes in the toilet they’re willing to answer questions over there at home right that’s right and no question is too dumb well and look and if we don’t if for some reason like that’s just not our fart like we’re gonna sell what we’re good at and if we can’t be good at it then we’re not gonna sell it and maybe you need vinyl siding well we’re just not the vinyl siding guy maybe you need a metal building and you think because we’re a building material person we can do metal buildings i’m going to say hey go down to walker metals right like so i’m never should should you say hey i need a 10 by 10 metal building we should just not say hey we don’t do that i’m sorry yeah we should recommend you to like hey i’ve used this person in the past they do a great job why don’t you call jack right um so that’s a partners are a great thing and i it is really hard for me to tell somebody no sometimes i’ll say that’s just not us but here you can do this right i’m okay with that yeah but it’s hard for me to tell somebody no absolutely absolutely and and if someone’s let’s say they’re just looking for a guy to hang sheetrock form or something like that y’all may y’all have people that you would refer out there’s there’s actually a form on the website a little questionnaire because we do know a lot of trades of if you have we had a lady she filled one out she said i have a window already i’ve a rotten window and i’ve bought a window already i just need somebody to put it in can you recommend somebody and she filled it out through our through the website and then we recommended somebody that we know that installs windows she didn’t buy the window from me yeah the first one or the second one yeah but it was i appreciated her i mean like she was using the website for the right purpose absolutely um of contacting us and asking us for advice advice and guidance and that’s all i can ask for yeah absolutely and and that guy that got that you know got that job or whatever what a great thing for y’all to do for your people that buy from you sure hey you know you’re doing business with us every day we’re familiar with your work we know you do good work so we have a website set up and if people are just looking for a trade of some sort uh we’ll you know we’ll be happy to refer you for for that so trades keep that in mind and go make a relationship with those folks at homes and uh and and do great things uh partnering together which is important that’s right uh thank you for coming on today man that’s not considered fun and i could talk this stuff for hours but we would probably lose listeners in a little while so i would agree with that i don’t think either one of us are that interesting yeah that’s right that’s right but i appreciate you coming on you are absolutely a local leader uh i was impressed the first time i heard you speak and i am honored that you came on the show um we’re gonna push this out real soon thank you very much thank you very much for having me it’s been a pleasure this is it’s been great this is a great venue to be able to get uh local leaders out in the community of libsyn parish absolutely and i do want to thank all the viewers and listeners of local leaders of podcast i want to thank all my sponsors i couldn’t do any of this without all of them matt there’s no doubt about that so thank you very much sponsors and if you have uh a desire to be on local leadership podcast you can go to

dot www.localleaderspodcast.com and uh get all the information on that i am jim chapman reminding you to love your community support local business like holmes building materials and keep leading thanks for coming on man thank y’all stephanie berthelot and the crew at sr enterprise can handle it all from sheetrock to texture to paint give stephanie a call at 504-432-9284

sr enterprise where they spread the paint and you spread the word

Holmes Building Materials on the Web


Holmes Building Materials Facebook


Follow Local Leaders: The Podcast on Social Media

Filmed at Envision Podcast Studio Rentals Denham Springs


Thank you to these folks for supporting Local Leaders: The Podcast

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.