When we began working with this lumber supplier, they were feeling the bite of the big box home improvement retailers. Locally owned lumber and hardware retailers were dropping like felled trees. Our research uncovered what made this local institution special: history, experience, and stories we could tell.
For 80 years, JAY-K Lumber has supplied generations of homeowners and contractors in their community, and employed some of the most experienced and loyal staff in the business. One employee worked for them for more than 50 years! They were considered the go-to location for getting the right answers to home improvement questions. They were a piece of Americana. We had our brand.
After updating their look, we focused on JAY-K Lumber’s best features: experienced staff, and better quality products at comparable prices. We transitioned them from older marketing paradigms to an integrated marketing plan with a balanced mix of media and promotions, significantly increasing their ROI. To kickstart their resurgence, we conceived Jack O’Trade, a mannequin mascot who represented the JAY-K Lumber expert. He appeared on a series of billboards that made local news, with headlines playing off JAY-K Lumber’s local bonafides. “Jack” became a fun local legend.
We eventually retired Jack, but kept an edge to their brand, evolving to “We know (expertise here)”, and eventually branded them “Your Home Improvement Experts”, with a local emphasis. Rather than traditional news flyers, we invested in online and social media, digital promotions and fulfillment, and live contractor and family events. We share the stories of third-generation owners and staff on social media, and, in bigger numbers every year, locals are supporting the local experts. Almost alone among local home improvement stores, JAY-K Lumber has defied the onslaught of the big chains and built a growing, loyal following.