The Story - East Haven Builders Supply
How to get a lot out of a little

Manchester, CT - Since 1960 East Haven Builders Supply has been a mainstay of the Connecticut lumber and building supply trade. While there are plenty of factors that have contributed to their long-term success, one underlying principle trumps them all: Responsiveness.

The Challenge

With their core lumber operation firmly established in the densely populated East Haven area, how would East Haven Builders Supply respond to the ever-growing demand for remodels, new builds and commercial construction in other growing parts of the state?

“We had more and more need for product inland and in other areas of the state. Our main store addresses most of it by the truckload, but we needed to be able to efficiently deliver that handful of unexpected parts and pieces that always comes up on a project.”
Mike Monico,
Operation Manager, East Haven Builders Supply

“It’s a common problem in LBM that core yards were built many years ago in once bustling areas,” explained Clint Darnell, VP and senior account manager of CT Darnell Construction and Sunbelt Rack. “Customer-focused retailers like East Haven have to send more and more trucks further and further for small batch, follow-up orders. A few additional pieces of lumber, a door, some crown molding… it keeps their customers happy, but it’s a really expensive way to do business.”

The Solution

A new, smaller facility. When East Haven acquired a small piece of land in Manchester, Connecticut, Monico turned to a source he knew he could trust to help him transform it into a full-service ‘mini yard’. “We needed the new location to provide a little bit of a lot of stuff,” said Monico. “I’d worked with CT Darnell and Sunbelt Rack before and I was confident Clint and his team would be able to quickly assess the situation and come up with a turnkey design.”

“We love challenges,” said Darnell. “Our design team is at their best when the circumstances have a wrinkle or two.” In this case, there were three.

First, there was the existing old wooden warehouse building on the property. CT Darnell was able to work around the closely spaced wooden columns that supported the building and still develop an efficient racking layout. Their rack solutions included multi-use pallet racks, A-frames for boards, bin systems, and a mezzanine.

Second, there was the odd shape of the site. CT Darnell was able to leverage the unique wedge-shaped footprint to create an efficient and easy traffic flow around the perimeter of the site, where they placed a 3-sided shed for bulk storage, and an L-shed and a T-shed for lumber and engineered products storage. All three of the buildings were built turnkey by CT Darnell, including the engineering, site work, foundations, and building assembly.

Third, there was the modest size of the property. At only 2 acres with an 8,000 square foot warehouse, it was a fraction of their 15 acre and 130,000 square foot main location. CT Darnell’s well thought-out racking layout inside the old warehouse, combined with the hardworking rack-supported buildings and sheds on the outside, effectively maximized the Manchester’s site space. And all the products stored in the racking and sheds were plan-o-grammed by Clint, so East Haven’s multiple SKUs all have easy, quick-pick accessibility.

According to Monico the new facility, at about one-tenth the size of their main yard, is still able to offer 65% of the inventory found at the main facility. Now that’s how you get a lot out of a little!

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