May 27, 2024

Dennis Smith retires, closes door on National Builders Supply – Foothills Sun Gazette

National Builder Supply is closing up shop after more than four decades of supplying customers with a variety of door hardware services
FARMERSVILLE – After over 40 years of providing homeowners and builders with doors, locksets and other types of hardware, Farmerville’s local door supplier is shutting their own doors for good.
The business, National Builders Supply, first opened 43 years ago in August of 1978 and will officially close next month on Nov. 1. The businesses’ initial owner, Dennis Smith, said he and co-owner Noel Anderson decided they would like to enjoy their retirement now that they are 70-years-old and have achieved over 40 years of business.
Dennis Smith
Owners NBS
“From the beginning, we strove to offer a better product, a better way to do things and tried to be as efficient as we could,” Smith said. “We wanted to be the best quality door shop and molding supplier around, and I think we accomplished that.”
According to Smith, throughout the span of the last two years, he and Anderson began the process of backing out of the business scene. They first thought a local, family-owned company would take over the business and “turnkey” as they stepped in to continue the business’s operations. However, it did not work out and they accepted an offer from an unrelated company named Race Communications, which is an internet provider located in California. Smith and Anderson will lease the property to Race Communications and hand them the keys at the start of next month.
To celebrate 43 years of offering hardware services for doors, locksets and door molds, Smith said the business is going to host a retirement party on Oct. 28 as a way to bid a final farewell. The celebration will start at 11 a.m. and go until 3 p.m., with a taco truck present for participants to purchase food and other refreshments. Business partners and past customers are invited to stop by the celebration to see the company off for one last time.
When asked what he enjoyed most about being in business, Smith said the relationships made through work came to mind first.
“It’s the interpersonal relationships created on both ends,” Smith said. “The customer end of it and the supplier end.”
Smith’s long time employee and daughter, Audrey Wallace, said it is bittersweet to see the family business come to a close. Born in the same year that the company came to be, she said it is all she has known for herself, her sister, brother, mom and dad. Wallace described the business as a part of their overall family dynamic.
“Growing up we saw the sacrifices my dad made to make this business successful,” Wallace said. “Many days he was already at work in the morning before the kids woke up and came home long after we went to bed.”
Wallace said she is proud to have worked for National Builders Supply since she started with the company in 2002. She considers herself lucky to have worked with her dad for so many years.
When you work for a family business, it’s more than a job, it’s your identity, it’s personal, it’s home,” Wallace said.
Running the business did not come without challenges, like the economic recession that took place between 2007 and 2009, although the company did not feel that hit until a little later, according to Smith. He said 2010 was a difficult time for National Builder Supply, and the fully staffed business at the time eventually dwindled until Smith and Anderson were some of the last men standing.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown proved to give the business a boost as it recovered from the impact from the recession, according to Smith. Unlike most businesses, who took a hit at the time of the economic downfall, National Builders Supply yielded some benefit due to more people being home during the shutdown and deciding to accomplish some home remodeling.
“I didn’t know which way it was going to go, whether it was just going to shut down the building altogether or whether, because of the way it was coming together, people were going to be staying home more, and they would decide to do more remodeling,” Smith said. “Well, it ended up being the latter.”
National Builder Supply’s humble beginnings started with Smith, who was joined by Anderson less than a year later. According to Smith, he reached out to Anderson to serve as his business partner due to their shared work history at a furniture store on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia, so he knew they were capable of working together. The two also both attended College of the Sequoias and initially met during their senior year at Visalia’s Redwood High School.
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