After 30 years of success, Tim Lawrence, CGR, GMB, CAPS, president of Blue Ridge Home Improvement, Blacksburg, Va., figured it was time to give back to all the people that have made him and his company a success for 30 years. One single “thank you” wouldn’t do, so instead he set forth to celebrate 30 times; once for each year he’s been in business.
“We had what we called ‘30 Days of Thanksgiving for 30 Years of Success’ that consisted of 30 events, big and small, throughout the year to thank the three different groups that are critical to our business,” says Lawrence. “One obviously being our customers, the second being our employees, and the third being our trade partners and vendors.”
To start with, each month Blue Ridge Home Improvement did a drawing from its list of previous customers and donated to a local food bank in their names. That was 12 events, one each month. Lawrence felt it was important to do something for the community, especially with all the publicity surrounding the low stockpiles at food banks because of the down economy.
“The food bank was something I felt comfortable being involved with and it was something I felt would meet a need that could benefit someone directly,” explains Lawrence. “Local food banks generally don’t have a lot of administrative costs and work on volunteers. This way the bulk of our efforts would go to someone who needed it.”
Right after Thanksgiving, Lawrence put together a large food drive by asking the three critical groups to help fill the company dump truck with food for the food bank. For those who wished to participate, the company went around collecting the food during one day and was able to bring about 100 boxes of food to the local bank.
Among the other events that Lawrence orchestrated were a breakfast for all of the company’s trade partners and an overnight gold prospecting trip to North Carolina for his employees and their families. Lawrence also held a “thank you” reception at a recently completed project where everyone could tour the home and spend an evening of appreciation.
Lawrence has been a member of the NAHB for about 12 to 15 years he says and a member of the Remodeler 20 Club for 11 years. He said that it was a trip to a remodeling show that really introduced him to the problems facing the remodeling industry across the nation and further education, giving him the push he needed to join the NAHB.
“When I joined the Remodeler 20 Club and started going to those meetings, it was made clear to me that my problems were universal because everybody was from all over the country and were having the exact same issues that I had,” adds Lawrence.
Several years ago, Blue Ridge Home Improvement was working with a difficult client. No one was happy and with the things that he had learned, Lawrence decided it was time for a change. Lawrence decided to have a site meeting every other week to discuss what exactly was happening on the project with his employees, trades and the remodeling client. It helped get the job done and has become part of the company practice now. Now Blue Ridge Home Improvement touts its communication and stays in contact with the clients from initial contact up to one year from project completion to make sure the client is still happy with things.
After joining the NAHB, Lawrence realized education was important for him in order to expand his horizons where his business was concerned and see beyond the day-to-day issues going on at his business.
“More recently I’ve been very active on our local HBA board, and I realize how much they do for us at the state and national level and lobby for our interests,” says Lawrence.
Fast Facts About Tim Lawrence, CGR, GMB, CAPS
- Company: Blue Ridge Home Improvement
- Location: Blacksburg, Va.
- Founded: 1979
- No. of employees: 10
- Industry involvement: Member of the NAHB; Remodeler’s 20 Club; member of the NKBA; board of directors member of the local HBA for the past 10 years and chair of the Finance and Home Expo committees.