Commitment That’s Through the Roof
“There’s nothing in the construction business that’s smooth sailing,” said Bill Vierling, CEO of Roofers Mart, but for this family business headquartered in Shrewsbury, MO, with locations in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, a commitment to service and providing a full line of exterior products has made the difference.
“Our industry doesn’t evolve that easily and we’re trying to resist that urge and instead move forward and change,” said Buzz Vierling, Vice President of Operations.
“We used to only sell roofing, but now we sell siding, windows, and doors,” explained Laura Vierling, Marketing Manager. “We have a machine shop. We never had that before. We just continue to try to find new services and product lines, new ways to engage with our customers.”
Many roofing companies are family-owned and operated. For Roofers Mart, many of their top roofing competitors are second, third, and fourth generations. “We are constantly competing with bigger companies with bigger budgets,” said Laura.
Roofers Mart’s inventory is around $21M-$22M, and their commitment to their customers is evident. “We’ve spoiled our customers in that they can call in the morning and feel like some time that day they will get delivery,” said Bill.
As well as a robust inventory, a high level of customer service is something in which they take pride. Tim Vierling, Inside Sales Manager, said it’s not easy to do that every day. “The speed of the business, how busy we can get in the summer, and keeping up with customer demands” can make that difficult, but they are committed.
Family and First Bank
There’s a sense of comradery at Roofers Mart, and although siblings Buzz, Laura, and Tim oversee key roles within the company, “It’s not just three kids who work here,” said Bill. “There’s a family relationship amongst the employees as well. We try to make it as family oriented as we can, and it’s working for us well.”
Tim agreed. “Most of the time, you’ll walk in a room and people are chatting and laughing. We found good people. We develop good people. From top to bottom, we have very good people.”
“A big part of the advantage of a family business is that we’re in it for the long haul,” said Buzz. “The fact that me succeeding at my work is not about me. It’s about me advancing my family, advancing my coworkers, advancing our whole company.”
“I think it’s exciting,” said Laura, “just to see how things can change with another generation. We have a lot of young managers, young shareholders, and people that are hungry to do new things.”
“You can’t be an entrepreneur if you’re not optimistic.”
First Bank’s relationship with Roofers Mart is more than just financial. “First Bank really took a risk with Roofers Mart at the very beginning,” said Buzz.
“Probably logically, we were deeply in debt,” continued Bill. “We were moving beyond our core of customers. So there were plenty of reasons to think we got our hands full. On the other hand, you can’t be an entrepreneur if you’re not optimistic.”
First Bank’s Senior Vice President Mark Skornia and Relationship Manager for Roofers Mart explained that not all decisions made are based on last quarter’s numbers. “It’s long-term thinking. It’s not short-term, quarterly thinking. We make decisions and make recommendations based on decades.”
A great partnership, and loyalty, make a difference. “There are times when a customer needs something extraordinary,” said Bill. “Like in my case, I needed a financial deal in a matter of two weeks. There are things that we do for our contractors that are extraordinary, and we just hope that they share that same loyalty that we do for First Bank.”
Aside from financial support, First Bank’s Center for Family-Owned Businesses has become a resource to Roofers Mart. “The (Center) is a unique organization established by the Dierberg family to support families not necessarily in the debits and credits, in accounting and finance functions, but in the soft functions.”
“We’re starting to develop an understanding of the complexity of a family business,” said Buzz, “and First Bank has been really integral in us developing that. They’re opening us up to a community of family businesses that we can learn from and learn about the different pitfalls and also the joys of having a family business.”
As this family business thrives through the next generation, the focus on the future is exciting. “The second generation is just slightly older than my children,” said Mark. “It’s been a lot of fun answering their questions and listening to them, their goals, their desires for themselves, and their company. My hope and desire is the continued growth of the company so they can continue to support their family tree like First Bank is supporting its family tree.”