Distributor Expands Despite Economy

For the folks at Dickman Supply, the poor economy has helped open doors instead of closing them. “We've grown more in this poor time than we did in a good economy,” said Doug Borchers, vice president of sales and engineering.

With sales up 25 percent over last year, Dickman's story is a long way from some distributors' tales of gloom and doom. While one competitor closed a branch and others downsized staff, Dickman took the opposite approach.

“We've hired 15 people in the last two and a half years,” said Borchers. “A lot of our customers have noticed.”

Six years ago, the rural-Ohio distributor had just one branch in Sidney, Ohio — about halfway between Dayton and Toledo. Since then, Dickman has added Ohio locations in Celina and Greenville, where it recently built a new facility, effectively doubling the size of the previous location.

“We simply outgrew our building,” said Mark Winner, Greenville branch manager. “The Greenville area has been very good to us, and we've experienced such an increase in business over the past five years that we needed a bigger facility.”

In a part of the country heavily into industrial, Dickman had to be nimble and go whichever way the market has gone, said Borchers. With the state of Ohio funding new schools and residential construction strong, Dickman has followed. Although industrial business is flat, Dickman's commercial and residential business is way up.

“We've been real successful with the contractors that land a lot of the schools,” said Borchers. “In the residential market, people are fleeing the metropolitan areas and coming to the sticks.”

Still, Borchers and Winner attribute Dickman's growth to its people. “It all comes down to people doing business with people,” said Winner. “We feel we have one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly staffs in the industry, and they help drive our growth every day.”

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