Phillips using diversification to thrive

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2016

CUSTOMER SERVICE: A customer at the Picayune location of PHillips Building Supply pays for her items. Several services are offered at the local hardware store. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

CUSTOMER SERVICE: A customer at the Picayune location of Phillips Building Supply pays for her items. Several services are offered at the local hardware store.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Since 1978 Phillips Building Supply has been providing residents of Pearl River County with all of their hardware supply needs.
Not only can customers find lumber, plumbing and electrical supplies at the local business, but Manager Jerry Matthews said the business has added some new services over the years such as equipment rentals and tool and equipment repairs.
Matthews said the business added mowers two years ago and Stihl products four years ago. Right now, most of the mowers they sell are from Toro. The business has a trained technician on staff who can repair most any tool and equipment they sell, or they can help get it repaired. Matthews said that even though they are not sold at the Picayune store, they can provide repairs on Husqvarna mowers. If a customer wants a Husqvarna mower, he can order it from the Laurel location and it can be delivered to Picayune.
For the most part, repairs can be completed in a day, but if a part needs to be ordered, the repair may take longer, Matthews said. Repairs are also offered for many contractor tools, such as nail guns.
New mowers are delivered to the customers, but if a repair is needed the customer can bring it in, or have one of the business’ staff pick it up and bring it back once the repair is complete, Matthews said.
Customers can also rent tools and equipment from Phillips Building Supply. Equipment rentals offered at the Picayune location include Bobcats, skytracks, scissor lifts, bush hogs, carpet cleaners and excavators. For a full list of the equipment they rent, visit their website. Matthews said the price to rent equipment varies, depending on the type. Upon delivery of the equipment, the renter must go through a safety and operation demonstration before being allowed to use the rented item.
Equipment rentals are only delivered. The customer can not pick it up and bring it back.
Phillips Building Supply began in Laurel, opening in 1956. They also have a location in Gulfport.
The same company owns a metal plant in Gulfport and Abita Lumber in Abita Springs, Louisiana.
Matthews said the key to the business’ success is diversification. The business recently added yard bags of mulch, track ballast, limestone and gravel. Yard bags to transport the rock or mulch must be purchased separately from the substance, but can be reused. Phillips staff will even put the fully loaded yard bag on the customer’s truck or trailer.
“If something new comes along I’m always willing to try it,” Matthews said.
While Matthews declined to directly put his finger on the reason, he has noticed business has been growing the past several years. He said that prior to 2013, a lull occurred, but ever since 2015, business has been increasing. He attributes some of it to an increase in the number of homes being built, according to the real estate agents he has spoken with and reports of more electric meters being added countywide.
Phillips employs 14 full-time employees and three part-time. Their hours are Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit their website at or call (601) 798-8611.

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