By Karen Kesler

Curtis Lumber was founded back in 1890 as a small, family run saw mill in upstate New York. Today, the company has 22 locations throughout New York and Vermont that meet the project requirements of contractors, builders and homeowners in the region. So how does this family owned business emphasize their extensive product selection and industry expertise in a competitive building supply market that includes other strong independents and the big box stores?

For the past 20 years Curtis Lumber has worked with the team at Spectrio (formerly AMS) to create customized messaging programs for their locations. Spectrio has designed individual audio solutions based on the traffic at each store, whether it’s a small site with minimal retail business or one with a large showroom and many walk-in customers. As their business has evolved through the years, Spectrio has been with them every step of the way.

According to Advertising Manager Dave Bielawski, the level of customization provided by Spectrio is the key. “With (Spectrio), the solution provided is completely tailored to each store and how to best reach the customers at that location. In the case of our smaller sites, it’s on-hold messaging. With others, it’s both on-hold and overhead messaging in the store. Either way, we are able to convey that our products are top-notch and the expertise of our staff is second to none in a very professional, consistent manner.”

Since he’s been with Curtis Lumber for 36 years, Bielawski has seen many changes in terms of the company’s advertising efforts. Years ago, the company played the radio at many locations. This all changed when they began receiving letters from ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, noting they were violating licensing rights and faced fines. Bielawski realized it was time for a more professional option. “It was either dead air, a radio station potentially advertising a competitor, or really taking advantage of that time and making it work for our business,” Bielawski recalls. “This was an ideal medium to reach customers and let them know our capabilities.”

Curtis Lumber is a member of Lumbermen’s Merchandising Corporation (LMC), the largest building material lumber buying group in the United States. Through this affiliation they can offer competitive pricing on quality products and leading national brands. Spectrio helps them communicate this fact to their audience in a timely, cost-effective manner. “Whether it’s over the phone or when you’re walking around one of our showrooms, (Spectrio) helps us enhance our customer’s experience at that point of contact,” Bielawski noted.

The Curtis Lumber corporate location in Ballston Spa, New York, accounts for nearly one third of the company’s business. This site receives production updates on a monthly basis, which allows Bielawski to target the messaging to complement other advertising efforts. “I have the flexibility to customize our messages to promote the specific products I want to feature in any given month and tie in with our sales circulars, web site, flyers and other advertising. The overhead messaging component is also a great way to drive traffic within store and remain consistent in our overall marketing strategy.”

In addition to customized on-hold and overhead messaging, Curtis Lumber also turned to Spectrio to help them enhance the shopping experience customers have when visiting many of their locations. Spectrio provides overhead music via the internet to help Curtis Lumber create an upbeat, positive environment where customers enjoy spending time.

“To me, this service is a no-brainer,” Bielawski states. “With help from (Spectrio) we’ve been able to complement our overall marketing efforts and showcase our product line. Everything is completely turn-key. They’ve been great to work with, and make the entire process easy from start to finish. We look forward to partnering with them for years to come.”