Builders’ supplier expands retail business
Hidden behind rows of brightly colored cars and tall evergreens is a gem of a resource known only to long-time building contractors and do-it-yourself homeowners. There’s no shopping mall-sized sign beckoning new customers off South Auburn Street to the builders’ supply store located at the end of East McKnight Way. Wedged between a car lot and Little Wolf Creek flowing out of Empire Mine State Historic Park, Diamond Pacific has been quietly and consistently servicing area contractors for more than 30 years.
“Originally, it was in downtown Grass Valley,” said Al Murnieks, store manager for the past 13 years, “but this facility was built in the 1970s.” Back then, Diamond Pacific was doing business as Diamond Lumber and was owned by Diamond International, which owned about 30 lumberyards and saw mills throughout the Pacific Northwest. “But they’re history,” he added.
The timber products chain went out of business in 1991 and the Grass Valley lumber store continued to do business under the name of Nevada County Building Supply until 2001, when it was bought by Pacific Coast Building Products and became today’s Diamond Pacific.
“Pacific Coast Building Products is a large construction-oriented company,” Murnieks said. “They own two other Diamond Pacific stores – one in Auburn and one in Placerville. There’s a huge lumber distributor – Anderson Lumber in Sacramento – four truss plants, dry wall factories, roofing manufacturing, building blocks and about 35 Pacific Supply distributors throughout the West. So, it’s a huge company in about 70 different locations.”
Employing about 35 people and operating a fleet of six delivery trucks, Diamond Pacific’s core business is providing building supplies to area contractors. “We do both contractor and retail business to a line of building materials – lumber, roofing, drywall, masonry products … plumbing and electrical, hardware – it’s a full-service operation,” Murnieks said. “I’d say we’re probably about 80 percent contractor-based. … And much of the pricing is geared for contractors.”
But the store’s manager recognizes that in order for Diamond Pacific to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing construction industry, it must continue to grow and expand along with it. The company is especially interested in making the store a more attractive shopping environment to draw more retail business.
“We’re doing a major remodel,” he said. “We’re going to redo the entire inside of the store – paint, re-roof, repave the yard – we’re also going to be putting up some more warehouse space in the back, in the yard, a lot more racking so that it will be a little more user friendly.”
Inside the store, there are plans to provide more open space, with widened aisles, new lighting. And throughout the facility will be an expanded line of product displays. “The industry is constantly changing,” Murnieks said. “So we want to be able to offer more variety as well.”
Murnieks said Diamond Pacific plans to hold a grand opening celebration after the remodeling project is completed this winter. Beyond that, “we are simply going to be expanding our market area and continuing to service the local market. We do a pretty fair job, I think.”
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