Derstler Lumber takes over ownership of Mid-Missouri Home Center
After looking to expand for around a year, Darrell Derstler of Derstler Lumber, in Richmond, found an optimal location in Concordia. Along with taking over ownership of the Mid-Missouri Home Center, now renamed Derstler Lumber of Concordia, at 100 S. Sunset Hills Drive, he has improvements planned for the building's interior and exterior. The business is three generations strong with Louis and Tillie Derstler first purchasing the then Long Bell Lumber Co., in 1960. Ownership then transferred to Derstler's parents, Don and Norma, and finally Derstler and his wife, Terri.
The original plan was to expand their operation to Higginsville. Those plans, unfortunately, didn't work out.
"At that time, we talked to our Do-It-Best representative and he was helping us out with that. He told us about this one (in Concordia) ... and we decided to come look at it," said Derstler.
Plans are underway to close off the north entrance to the store and move it to the building's east wall. Along with closing off the original entrance, the exterior will undergo dramatic changes. Interior changes are also planned, which will allow for increased space for products all while keeping interior dimensions relatively the same.
"We're going to redo the tile, redo the ceiling and put new lighting in here. We're going to reset the counters and we're going to add inventory," explained Derstler, adding one of the business' current issues is a lack of inventory.
The goal, he noted, was to modernize the facility, partially through the updates, and to have materials a customer may need, rather than having to drive to neighboring cities.
"Lumber-wise, they've got most everything -- the basic construction materials. They stock everything already, but I think in the hardware, especially, we can add a lot of stuff into plumbing and lawn and garden," said Derstler.
Derstler is working directly with Do-It-Best Home Centers for the interior space plan. The company will come in and determine from past purchases what items need to be stocked on the shelves, which will go from a east-west to a north-south configuration.
"As long as (our customers) can get what they need, there's no need for them to travel," said Derstler.
Another goal is to eventually expand exterior lumber storage, so the business can increase the amount of materials, such as sheet rock, in the warehouse. The store also installed a virtual private network tunnel between the two stores for inventory tracking.
"They'll be able to jump on here and look at our inventory ... and we can transfer material back and forth. We can trade if either store is short on something," noted Derstler.
After working in Concordia over the past several weeks, he's also had the chance to meet many of the store's regular customers. It's given Derstler a chance to assess employees as well, which, as he said, the number will likely increase.
"We're going to have to have another person inside at least and another person outside. We've also got a new truck for deliveries out here," he explained.
He noted interior changes will likely start before the exterior changes, as he and Teri are waiting on more finalized plans for the exterior.
"The hardware company (Do-It-Best) design guy did all of this for us," said Derstler.
The checkout counter will move to the new entrance. A bathroom will also be moved to allow for a widened area for storm and screen door repair. Moving the shelving configuration will also allow for increasing inventory.
Customers at the store expressed positive impressions over the proposed interior layout.
Derstler said he hopes to start receiving bids on the exterior construction this week.
"I want to try to use as many local guys as I can or if anybody's interested," he said. "I want to use local guys because that's what it's all about."