When Wilson Teachey met Nancy Hubbard, he knew there was something special about this girl. So to spend more time with her and get to know her family, Wilson moved to Fayetteville, N.C., in 1994 and took a summer job working for her father at Hubbard Pipe & Supply.
Twenty five years later, Wilson and Nancy Teachey have proven to be an ideal match in both love and business.
“My job was to sweep and clean the warehouse, put away stock, load trucks and then to do anything else that no one else wanted to do,” he recalled. “It was a remarkable summer filled with hard work and evening tractor rides. I won the heart of my girl and the plumbing wholesale industry won me over. Nancy and I have been happily married now for 23 years and the industry that I accidently stumbled into has become my passion.”
Wilson continues to see Mr. Hubbard as one of the biggest influences on his life.
“My Heavenly Father, my earthly father and my father-in-law have had the most positive impact on my life both personally and professionally,” he said. “Each did most of their teaching without saying a word.”
Hubbard Pipe & Supply now has 10 brick and mortar wholesale locations and eight of them host a showroom. They serve many cities and counties in Eastern and Western North Carolina. In describing what sets them apart in their markets, Wilson credits the Hubbard staff.
“We have a terrific team at Hubbard that I learn from daily,” he said. “From our EOS coach to our Leadership Team to our Branch Managers to our Accounting Team to our Purchasing Team to our Operations Team to our Outside, Inside, Hybrid, Counter and Showroom Sales Associates, we are constantly working to make sure we have the right people in the right seats.
Wilson shared that he’s always had a passion for their showrooms, and how far wholesaler-owned showrooms have come since he joined the business.
“When I first started in this industry we only sold plumbing and your choices consisted of white or bone fixtures and chrome, polished brass or chrome and brass mixed valving,” said. “The plumbing and lighting world has exploded with options. This is where the really cool stuff we sell is displayed. Customers who are willing to follow the advice given by our well-trained professionals make this job really fun. We can create some wicked awesome spaces!
“In all of our showrooms, our staff strives to deliver on expectations for our customer partners. Depending on the area you will find kitchen, bath and lighting products with a market focus on style. Each location has its own personality; for example, our Wilmington, N.C., location has many beautiful displays ranging from contemporary to transitional to traditional. In Albemarle, N.C., our showroom is much smaller location but beautiful nonetheless. All of our showrooms are anchored by terrific team members who work hard every day so our customer partners are successful.”
Wilson went on to describe four additional points that Hubbard emphasizes in serving customers.
They invest in inventory to ensure that Hubbard has what customers need when they need it.
They answer the call with team members who are not only available, but are knowledgeable and dependable.
They walk the talk. If they say it, they mean it because the Hubbard team values their relationships.
They can relate. Like many of their customers, Hubbard is an independent, family owned business with a presence in 10 great communities across the Carolinas.
Retaining such a talented and knowledgeable showroom and wholesale staff has been invaluable in buliding relationships and serving customers throughout Hubbard’s market. And that begins with good communications. Hubbard utilizes the EOS management system to keep communication and accountability flowing to and from the Leadership Team to the Showroom Team.
“This keeps us all on the same page and able to react to our customers’ needs,” Wilson described. “Additionally, the Showroom Team spends time together on video conferences twice a month where they discuss best practices, or host vendors to perform product training. Showrooms are an ever-changing and evolving space, and the Internet has changed the showroom experience and created some new hurdles. But we have found that it is still our people — not the Internet — who are educating customers. That helps customers feel comfortable and enabled to make their decisions. In the end, it is up to us to sell ourselves and the service that we provide.
“A wise man once said, ‘it’s all about people helping people.’ I am most thankful for a great team that continues to grow and improve year over year. As our company continues to grow, our team continues to grow — so we are always on the lookout for good talent to add to our team.”
Hubbard’s showroom customers include new home builders, remodelers, plumbing contractors and electricians. To reach their target market, Hubbard has tried many methods of advertising. Today they rely on a mixture of print, radio and social media. They also subscribe to MyPlumbingShowroom.com, which gives customers and sales associates the ability to create “Wish Lists” and shop online for showroom related products. And their active online presence at www.HubbardSupply.us and www.RuehlenSupply.com gives potential customers a look into their company and showroom offerings.
“Despite that, I believe that the most effective form of advertising for us continued to be word-of-mouth referrrals,” Wilson noted.
Wilson Teachey strongly believes in the value that membership in Luxury Products Group affords to Hubbard Pipe & Supply’s showrooms.
“LPG is full of some of this industry’s most intelligent talent and all are willing to share their best practices with each other,” he described. “As family owned, independent wholesalers, we all face the same issues. Through our networking events we have established trusted confidantes all across the country. Being affiliated with LPG and its members fulfills many needs of our showrooms and puts answers at the fingertips of our sales associates.”
LPG has also helped Hubbard even further strengthen its relationships with vendors.
“In this fast-paced business environment, it is beneficial to discuss industry trends with our vendor partners and member peers within the group,” Wilson detailed. “Some ideas pan out and become tomorrow’s best seller while others tank and can become dead inventory. Millions of dollars can be made and saved just through being actively involved with our LPG peers and partners. I am also very excited to hear of the new educational opportunities available to our team members through LPG.
“We always support the vendors within the LPG group first before we go outside to solve an issue. The LPG staff and Advisory Committee have done an outstanding job of attracting top-notch vendors to our group. If I’m a vendor that values relationships with my customers, LPG is the right fit.”
While Hubbard Pipe & Supply’s roots are in plumbing, they have also expanded into lighting in more recent years — and LPG has been the ideal partner to pursue that new category.
“Prior to adding lighting to our showrooms, I would walk through our space and notice all of the unused square footage from about four feet off the floor up to the ceiling,” Wilson shared. “As I walked through lighting showrooms with my wife to select lighting for one of our projects, I noticed how they only used the square footage from about four feet off of the floor up to the ceiling. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to put two and two together. The plumbing and lighting industries go hand in hand. And when you combine plumbing and lighting in the same showroom it is magical. We are excited about the relationships and the expectations we have been able to create and fulfill by marrying these two product lines. In the future, we plan to add even more to these offerings to better serve our customers’ needs.
“Like our showrooms themselves, LPG continues to evolve and improve. LPG displays, educates and provides networking opportunities for our team. Our showroom is a better run business as a result of our LPG membership.”
Article Reprinted courtesy of The Luxury Report Magazine