|Posted by Anne Siren on March 1, 2013 at 3:45 AM|
DBS clears its decks
By Judy Wilson
Deerfield Beach – Deerfield Builders Supply, a business fixture in this city for 66 years, has exited the retail hardware business, closed the rebar manufacturing plant, and will no longer be a lumber yard. Instead, the family-run company will specialize in windows, cabinetry and specialty woods and maintain its export business in the Caribbean.
A two-day auction last week cleared out the store at SE 2 Avenue and Hillsboro Blvd. Already gone was the large truck fleet. Soon to be closed are DBS stores in Sarasota and Tampa.
“This is the first year we were not in the Founders’ Days Parade,” said company president Ed Dietrich.
A consistent donor to the community, Dietrich said some of this philanthropy will have to cease with the change in business direction. He did renew his Little League support this year. He is probably the last of the league’s initial donors. But DBS’s unmatched contribution to keeping the Butler House sound will not continue he said.
“The concept of the old line lumber yard is ancient history,” Dietrich said this week. “We were the last one to sell nails, by the pound, out of a bin, but there are 25 big box stores within a radius of a few miles and there is a paint store on every corner. To survive now, you have to be a low cost, low margin operator.”
Located on five acres bordered by Hillsboro Boulevard and the Florida East Coast Railroad, DBS was founded by Ed’s father, Ed, now 96 and living in North Carolina. His mother, Emily, was the city’s historian for many years and a major force in obtaining National Historical Registry for the Butler House, Old Schoolhouse and Deerfield Beach Elementary School.
Maintaining the family’s structure in the business, Ed’s daughters Gretchen and Jessica now help manage the company. Another family member and manager, Brad Wanzenberg, has left the company to become a territory manager for Dixie Plywood.
The company that once had an annual payroll of $4 million and 100 employees will be reduced to about a dozen people, Dietrich said.
Now space is available for other small business owners. A surf board/paddle board maker already occupies a corner of the former lumber yard. In another corner the metal rebar building is for sale or available for occupancy. It is possible this evolution of DBS could create a small-business emporium of leased space, Dietrich said.
With 66 years of history, Dietrich can count hundreds of longtime customers among them the City of Deerfield Beach, the Boca Raton Resort and Cap’s Place restaurant. And while the emphasis at DBS now will be on the big ticket items used in remodeling - cabinets, windows and doors - customers will still be able to buy a $58 screen door, Dietrich said. “We have a lot of doors and windows, top quality, at a good price.”
When he told his father the facts of his new business situation, he took it in stride Dietrich said. “He understands the realities.”