Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.

Lumber Ad Caption: Newspaper ad for the Talbert brothers' sawmill. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

Three Generations of Know-How

The Talbert family’s experience in the lumber business dates back to the 1930s, when brothers Edd and J.D. Talbert of Roxboro, NC, began harvesting timber for a sawmill. Edd’s son, Danny, grew up working in the family business and developed a keen sense of where the market would go next.

The first shift they witnessed in the industry was a demand for treated lumber, which increased significantly in our area as homes began to be built on Hyco Lake. Danny saw the opportunity and soon set up an “office” that was originally built for Person County’s celebration of America’s Bicentennial in 1976. After the celebration, Danny relocated the building to his family’s property and operated the lumber sales out of it, beginning the shift of the second generation of the family business in the direction of building supply retail. In 1983, on the same site as that original office, Danny opened the location that would be rebranded as Talbert Building Supply, Inc., in 1990. He credits much of the early growth to loyal customers and supplying the development around Hyco Lake. Today, the Roxboro location that started it all spans more than 25 acres.

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Danny and Sons in Showroom Caption: L-R: Scott, Dan, and Danny demonstrate a Marvin 24’ motorized French door in Roxboro showroom. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

Like their dad, Danny’s sons Dan and Scott grew up in the family business, helping out as soon as they were old enough to pick up trash. As they got older, Danny encouraged his sons to try other things, which they both did for a season during and after college. Soon, both young men reentered the family business, and their dad credits their complementary leadership styles for a great deal of the company’s continued growth and success. Forty years after opening that first location in Roxboro, Talbert Building Supply has burgeoned into seven locations with an extensive delivery fleet and more than 200 employees across North Carolina and Southern Virginia.  Three of these locations immediately serve the four counties of the Hyco Lake region.

From Humble Beginnings

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Bicentennial Store Caption: “Bicentennial Store” used as the first sales office on the current Talbert Roxboro footprint. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

The journey from a rugged sawmill to immaculate showrooms, high-tech distribution centers, and multi-vendor trade shows has seen ups and downs in the economy and fluctuating industry and consumer trends. Danny estimates that 75 percent of what Talbert offers today was not around when he started the business. Through good cycles and downturns, Talbert Building Supply has not only survived but thrived. When asked about his secrets to success, Danny, in his ever-humble style, credits loyal customers, especially those who took a chance on him in the beginning and stuck with him; great advisors made up of long-time friends and industry connections; a work ethic instilled in him by his dad; the talent of his sons in their roles, and the best “associates,” (he doesn’t like the word employee) who contribute to the customer service experience every day.

The first big boost for Talbert after the initial jump into the retail side of the industry occurred when the company joined Lumbermens Merchandising Corporation (LMC) in 1993. In those early start-up days, credit was not as easy to obtain as it can be today, and this affiliation afforded the company exponentially greater buying power and access to the industry’s best products and services. It’s also where Danny found many of his ideas and advisors.

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Roxboro Distribution Center Caption: 30,000 sq ft distribution center in Roxboro that serves all locations. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

In 2004, a large volume of the growing business was occurring in and around Durham and Chapel Hill, so Talbert began to look for a site there to open a second location. It worked out that the company was able to acquire an existing business, West Durham Lumber Company, and that location continues to be a top producer.

Despite the ongoing effects of a recession, Talbert expanded again in 2011 to better serve Southside Virginia when a store was opened in Clarksville, in an existing building previously occupied by a building supply store.

In 2015, Talbert expanded into the Piedmont Triad with a location in Asheboro, followed by another, reaching further west, with the addition of the store in Clemmons in 2021. Also, in 2021, Talbert’s Roxboro presence was expanded through the opening of a 30,000 square foot distribution center, which Danny says has been instrumental in meeting market demand through the recent growth surge seen across North Carolina and southern Virginia. Most recently, a second Virginia location opened in Danville at the former Plyler Supply Company on Kentuck Road, and the Talbert Design Gallery, a full-service home design showroom, opened in Burlington.

More than a Mantra

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
2023 Roxboro Aerial Caption: 2023 aerial of Roxboro location of Talbert Building Supply. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

Another big contributor to the company’s success is what has come to be known as “The Talbert Difference.” More than a mantra, The Talbert Difference encapsulates an intentional focus on quality and service that permeates through all levels of the company. It includes supporting local communities and creating a positive work environment that fosters customer and employee loyalty. Ensuring this commitment is probably where Dan and Scott excel most in their roles.

One of Dan’s greatest contributions has been talent attraction and retention. By introducing enhanced benefits for associates and following his father’s example of creating a work culture that shows appreciation for the team members, Talbert sees quality applicants who join the team and stick around for the long haul. Tangible benefits include things like health insurance, paid time off, and 401(k) matching, but other perks include employee cookouts, tickets to events, and special recognition for work milestones.

Scott ensures the same value is placed on the vendors and customer base, which largely consists of contractors and professional builders. He learned from his dad the importance of cultivating relationships and has a knack for making connections. Similar to the team member perks, Talbert holds customer appreciation events at all locations and highlights its vendors through trade shows and other marketing platforms.

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Talbert Danville Aerial Caption: Danville, VA, Talbert location on Kentuck Rd., formerly Plyler Supply, with new development underway. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

Each location supports local non-profits and sponsors events within the community. Some larger examples include Habitat for Humanity, TROSA, and the Ronald McDonald House, but Talbert also sponsors events through local Chambers of Commerce and supports various Home Builders Associations. Anyone who follows the Talbert story through social media will get a sense of how much the company values its people and places. By focusing on quality products, strong relationships with customers and vendors, and prompt and courteous service and delivery, Talbert Building Supply has weathered storms and leveraged challenging times to continue to grow and expand.

Where to find

Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Talbert Sign Caption: Sign at Roxboro location highlighting focus on service. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.

If you have a building project and want to experience The Talbert Difference, check out their social media for some inspiration, then visit one of their seven locations or contact them about delivery.

Talbert Building Supply, Inc.

Roxboro, Durham, Clemmons, and Asheboro, NC
Clarksville and Danville, Va.

Design Gallery in Burlington, NC

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Building on The Talbert Difference - Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Talbert Building Supply, Inc.
Talbert Delivery Truck Caption: Talbert delivery truck. Courtesy Talbert Building Supply.