A building supply store that has grown leaps and bounds over the last decade has been honoured by the Nelson Chamber of Commerce for retail excellence among businesses with over 40 employees.
Steve Vogelsang, who was part of the three-member selection committee, said Nelson Home Building Centre was chosen from among more than 15 nominees in its category for several reasons.
“Their expansion of another 3,000 square feet demonstrates current growth and they’re very, very involved in the community,” he said. “That’s 1a and 1b.”
Secondly, the business’ increase in size over the last 11 years hasn’t been limited to space: the staff has gone from eight to 46. The third reason, Vogelsang said, is that “the store has been and continues to be such an entrenched corporate citizen in Nelson. This community-based dynasty isn’t resting on its laurels, it’s continuing to grow. Those were influential factors.”
Randy Horswill, owner of Home Building Centre as well as Hipperson’s Hardware, which has been in the family four generations, noted they have expanded three times since adding a waterfront location in 2003. They began on the opposite side of McDonald Drive, moved to their current premises in 2006, expanded in 2008, and again last October.
“We’ve always had the right when a tenant leaves this building to take over their spot,” Horswill says. “Every time someone’s left, we’ve snapped it up.”
In addition to the extra retail room, they’ve added more warehouse space.
The store enjoyed its fastest employee growth in the first few years when “we’d add somebody every month,” but it has since levelled off. Horswill’s son and daughter both work there while attending school, and may eventually buy the business. “They’re a few years away, but I can see one or both of them taking over,” he says.
As for community involvement, Horswill explains they try to pick a major project each year to support. Last year it was the outdoor skate park, to which they donated cash and materials. They also help the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation through a popcorn campaign that’s “good for a few thousand dollars a year.”
Horswill said the business excellence award is a tribute to their staff. “It’s mostly about customer relations. The nomination came from customers who like what we have here. I’m glad the work the staff puts in was appreciated.”