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William M. Bird: A preferred partner for 152 years

The following feature is the eighth installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on William M. Bird.

July 31/Aug. 7: Volume 31, Issue 4

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.53 AMHeadquartered in Charleston, S.C., William M. Bird has been delivering the goods since 1865. The company’s first product was whale oil, but soon expanded into paint, glass, and hardware supplies. In 1936, Bird began distributing Armstrong floor coverings and by the 1980s made flooring its single focus. Today, William M. Bird is one of the leading flooring distributors in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic with 10 branch locations in nine states.

One way the company strives to separate itself from competitors is through advanced online marketing and services. More than 50% of customers actively use WM Bird Online to place orders. “We also differentiate by the products we provide our customers,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO. “We purposefully partner with manufacturers Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.48 AMwho are aligned with our company’s vision, mission and core values.” Hagood believes the corporate values set them apart. He continued, “Our No. 1 value is ‘We care about each other.’   Our simple view is how will we ever care for our customers if we don’t start with caring for each other?”

Looking ahead, Bird is going through a transition phase. As Hagood explained, “Three years ago, more than 50% of our sales reps were within 10 years from retirement age. We need to work diligently to transition to the next generation. Consequently, we work closely with each associate to understand personal career goals and timing. With that in mind, we are hiring new associates, at the right time, to effectively pass the baton.”

Going above and beyond
From the time an order is placed to the point when it is delivered, Bird’s entire team is dedicated to going the extra mile. If it is past the delivery cut off, it is not uncommon for Bird’s sales reps to personally drive a sample or an order to ensure customers have what they need in a timely fashion. For example, when a hurricane barreled down on Charleston last fall, a team of customer service reps traveled to Atlanta to set up and take calls.

Nuts & Bolts
Geographic coverage: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Brands: Armstrong Flooring, Aspecta, Azalea Lane, Bostik, Bruce, East Bay Supply Co., HomerWood, Johnsonite, Metroflor, Palmetto Road, Protect-All, Roberts, Roppe, Schönox, Stauf, Tarkett, Ultimate RB and XL Brands.

For more information on William M. Bird, call 843.744.8289 or visit wmbird.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.