Friday, June 21, 2024

Ivey’s Building Materials honored with Retail Beacon Award

by BIZ Magazine

Ivey’s Building Materials, with stores in Haughton and Mansfield, La., was one of four retailers honored as Beacon Award winners during the Beacon Awards banquet held Friday, August 19 at the JW Marriott in Marco Island, Fla. 

The Beacon Awards are a premier national industry awards program developed by The Hardware Connection magazine and The Hardware Conference to recognize the “best of the best” independent hardware/home improvement retailers.

The Beacon Awards are sponsored by Epicor Software Corp. and Ettore Products Company, with wholesaler sponsorship support from Do it Best Corp. and other wholesalers.

The Beacon Awards, now in their tenth year, honored the Retail Beacon Award winners for each of the two participating wholesalers, plus two winners for Best New Store. Ivy’s Building Materials was honored with Do it Best’s Retail Beacon Award.

“Ivey’s Building Materials is very worthy of its inclusion in the 2022 class of Beacon honorees,” stated Chris Jensen, editor/founder/principal of The Hardware Connection, the hardware industry’s leading digital publication. “For five decades now, Mitch Johnson has carried on the tradition started by his father-in-law, Mack Ivey, to serve his community and meet all his customers’ needs. He has built a lasting legacy of achievement with the business.”

With industry roots that date back to 1969, Mitch Johnson has spent five decades in the family-owned business co-founded by his father-in-law. His wife Pam remains active in the business and their son Josh is the general manager of the two successful Do it Best stores. 

The original location was sold and a new ground-up location in Mansfield opened in the early 1980s. The business continued to grow until Mack Ivey was diagnosed with cancer in 1988 and passed away shortly after. Mitch credits his father-in-law for being a great mentor and establishing a culture that continues today. Mack’s business philosophy was based on honesty, creating relationships, going the extra mile and doing it all in a relaxing, sometimes humorous manner. 

In 1991, Mitch bought out Roy Ivey and kicked off a new generation of ownership. With Pam involved on the accounting side, Mitch worked hard to keep the company moving forward for many years until their sons Josh and Jordan were old enough to join them. Josh continues to expand his involvement by serving as general manager of both locations, while Jordan is now a customer who operates his own construction company. 

Mitch remembers the big boxes changing the competitive landscape significantly. “Back then, we just tried to focus on what you could do locally to build sales and grow,” he says. “You can outperform the big boxes by building relationships with your customers every single day.” 

In the 1990s, Ivey’s got involved in outside sales to gain more pro business. That led to them serving contractors outside Mansfield. A big part of their business is shipping residential lumber packs to the Shreveport area where builders are most active. When they discovered the community of Haughton—10 miles outside Shreveport—had no hardware store, they began building a ground-up location that opened in 2014 to serve that more affluent demographic. With two successful locations embraced by customers, the Johnson family is working to open a third store soon in Blanchard, Louisiana.

The Johnsons have always had a strong connection to their church that filters through to their own community and beyond. Mitch served as president of a boy’s home in Brazil for 10 years. He and Pam have traveled all over the world on mission trips with various organizations offering medical support and hunger relief or assisting with construction projects.

Winning the Beacon Award is a great privilege, according to Mitch. “God has given me the strength and energy to work all these years. When I think of the many people and family members I’ve had the opportunity to work with … if I can accept on their behalf then all the hard work will have been worth it.”

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