• October 25, 2020
 Wholesale Lumber Company honored with 2020 Beacon Award for Community Service

Joe Burks and his wife Jody operate Wholesale Lumber Company in Clint, Texas, plus a second store in Fabens, Texas.

Wholesale Lumber Company honored with 2020 Beacon Award for Community Service

Wholesale Lumber Company of Clint was one of 10 retailers honored as Beacon Award winners for 2020.

“Wholesale Lumber Company is more than worthy of its inclusion in this year’s class of honorees,” stated Chris Jensen, editor, founder, principal of The Hardware Connection, the hardware industry’s leading digital publication.

“Owner Joe Burks’ passion for the industry is matched only by his love of the community his store serves. He defines what it means to be a beacon of hope during challenging times.”

The Beacon Awards, now in their eighth year, honored the Retail Beacon Award winners for each of the two participating wholesalers, plus eight winners of the Beacon Award for Community Service.

Wholesale Lumber was honored with the Beacon Award for Community Service.

Joe Burks and his wife Jody operate Wholesale Lumber Company in Clint, Texas, plus a second store in Fabens, Texas.

Joe made an educated guess early on that the coronavirus was here to stay for a while, and he wasted no time taking decisive action, requiring employees to wear face masks.

Around the time El Paso had its first case of COVID-19, they hired a full-time cleaning person dedicated to a continuous loop of disinfecting the high-use areas of the store. The Do it Best member started employee temperature self-checks, limited the break room to one occupant, installed a hand wash station at the store front, put in social distancing signage and floor markings and installed plexiglass shields at the cash registers.

“When our first county stay-at-home order came out, we blocked half of our parking spots to limit peak traffic in the store and allowed only one person per vehicle in the store,” Joe shares. “During the biggest rush we had a person at the gate to let in one car at a time and
would have 15 cars on the road waiting to get into the lot. It is much nicer having customers wait in line in their air-conditioned cars than elbow to elbow on the sidewalk.”

The first day the CDC recommended the wearing of masks, Wholesale Lumber Co. made them mandatory for everyone coming into the store. Joe had already spent several weeks gathering materials for masks. He had two ladies volunteer to make 1,000 cloth masks. They also came up with a mask made out of a blue shop towel, two rubber bands and four staples—several thousand of those were made.

With safety protocols in place, Wholesale Lumber has found another way to make a difference in the community during the pandemic.

“We’re going to do some small business grants to help make local businesses safer, supplying them with materials to handle a pandemic
like sneeze guards. If you’re down to 25 or 50 percent capacity you’re probably not investing in projects like this, so there’s a need,” Joe says.

Burks began working in the family business at the age of 10, and he is proud to carry on his father’s legacy. He is also trying to live up to the high standards set in the Clint store by his sister, Tina Bearden, who used to run that store before she passed away in March 2017 after a long illness.

“She never met a stranger and brought out the good in everyone she met,” Joe says.

Burks says they are honored and humbled to win the Beacon Award for Community Service. “We’ve always been community-oriented. It’s really nice to be noticed that I was on the ball and started early while others were in denial about the virus,” he says.

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 2020 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 Hardware Connection is the only magazine designed and distributed solely in an electronic format for independent hardware retailers. With a circulation of more than 60,000, The Hardware Connection has been honored with eight awards for editorial excellence in the past seven years.

Now in its 32nd year, The Hardware Conference is the industry’s largest gathering of independent hardware retailers regardless of wholesaler affiliation.

Since the 2020 Hardware Conference was canceled due to the pandemic, Wholesale Lumber Company and the other 2020 Beacon Award winners will be honored at the 2021 Hardware Conference in Marco Island.

Wholesale Lumber Company and other Beacon Award winners were featured in the September/October 2020 issue of The Hardware Connection magazine.

To read the full article, click here. For more information on the Beacon Awards, go to www.thehardwareconnection.com.

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