Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, with 15 locations in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee, Guaranteed Supply Company is focused on distributing the highest quality construction materials available.
The company maintains a full line of concrete materials, thermal and moisture protection, and EIFS/Stucco products. In addition, it is a full-service custom rebar fabricator and concrete forming supplier.
Accompanying the company’s wide range of high-quality product offerings is its “customer first” approach, one where general contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike can enjoy the feel of a neighborhood store where the staff genuinely cares.
This was the vision of Allan Ward, a construction professional with years of experience, who opened the first store in Greensboro as a waterproofing supplier in 1964, because he believed that what was lacking “was a supplier who could promote specialty items to the industry and deliver on those items and services in a caring and efficient manner.”
Over the years, Guaranteed Supply expanded its portfolio and its presence beyond Greensboro but remained true to Ward’s original vision.
This is what drew Marketing Director Carlos Acosta, with a background in behavioral psychology, to the company a year ago when management decided it was time to expand its marketing reach through an online platform. “Allan Ward wanted to develop a company with a home-grown family feel, where every customer is known by name and not just a number on a spreadsheet,” he tells us.
And it is still that way at the third-generation family-owned company, with the tradition maintained by Ward’s three grandsons. Michael Ward assumed the position of CEO in 2009, when his father, Kirby Ward, who ran Guaranteed Supply for 20 years, retired. His brother, Scott Ward, leads the GS Forming division, while Jason Ward is President of JMS Rebar, which bears the initials of the grandsons.
According to Acosta, “The company is employee- and customer-focused, and it’s a great place to work. Everyone is very friendly, greets you by name, and is extremely accommodating, even though it’s now massive in size, with 500 employees.”
The team includes delivery drivers, warehouse staff, rebar fabricators, designers, estimators, accounting, sales, and management. The sales department is staffed by product experts who bring a wealth of industry experience, combined with materials training and education, to their conversations with customers.
“We do pride ourselves on finding the best in the industry,” Acosta says, “and we offer training to sales and management staff. They become materials experts and have up-to-date industry knowledge, so they can serve both customers and vendors and form trusted relationships with them.”
Company management believes that employees who feel valued will bring their best, and so makes work-life balance a priority. Each location is managed independently, and Guaranteed Supply offers a generous benefits program. “Some companies may shirk on this for lower level employees, but our drivers and our warehouse workers, all the way up to top management, benefit from a really good support system,” Acosta shares.
Guaranteeing the supply
When we ask general contractors and project managers across North America about the issues that most concern them, invariably they speak about lack of skilled trades and delays in the supply chain, both of which can cause a project to grind to a halt.
Guaranteed Supply can’t solve the labor shortage, but its strategically placed, well-stocked warehouses, and its own fleet of trucks which provide “just in time” delivery to job sites mean that customers are never left in limbo waiting for supplies to arrive; neither are they required to find extensive storage space or risk damage or theft to materials which are delivered too early.
“We are very conscientious when it comes to our stock and the logistics involved, and we do our best to always have what we understand to be top materials on hand. We work closely with our vendors to make sure the supply is always flowing, and our vendors and customers benefit from this,” Acosta explains.
“We have had issues in the past when specific vendors were having their own issues, so we will work with customers to provide alternatives that will suit their needs and do our best to expedite the process so general contractors can get their materials in a timely manner.”
Guaranteed Supply maintains distinct divisions. Division 3, for example, is a one-stop shop for concrete supply needs; Division 7 supplies thermal and moisture protection supplies such as insulation, joint sealants, wall coatings, and flashing membranes; and Division 9 supplies stucco and exterior insulation finishing systems. These provide a highly efficient multilayer barrier incorporating base materials, insulation, and drainage, and a textured, finished surface, guaranteeing a building that stands the test of time, with an attractive exterior.
Another division, Tools & Safety, provides general supplies for any size project, as none is too big or too small.
Divisions 1, 2, 4, and 8 are the divisions that truly set Guaranteed Supply apart from competitors, because they encompass a variety of services to help contractors optimize the products they purchase. “We assist with a project from its inception: with planning, detailing, and estimating; with sitework, setting up fencing, and paving; with masonry; and all the way to the end, with painting and decorating,” Acosta explains. “We’re not unique in relation to the work itself; we have competitors because it’s a hot market, but where we are unique is in what we offer in terms of comprehensive service and that personal family touch. I don’t know of any other company in the region that has that.”
Over the last dozen or so years, the company has further diversified, creating GS Forming and JMS Rebar, which have taken the company to even higher levels of service and produced new revenue streams.
Scott Ward, with experience as a contractor and expertise in concrete forming and tilt-up projects, has grown GS Forming into a successful rental business, with the forms delivered to the job site when needed, picked up when the concrete pour is completed, cleaned, and prepared for the next job.
Meanwhile, Jason Ward has grown JMS Rebar into another highly successful business by manufacturing customized, high-quality rebar in its fabrication shop according to the building engineer’s specifications. This division also supplies rebar installation materials: a rebar tie tool, tie wire, and rebar caps for exposed ends to protect against injury, and provides information about best installation practices.
Celebrating 60 years
At present, Guaranteed Supply Company is beginning its anniversary celebrations a month early, when it hosts a booth at the Charlotte Build Expo on December 6. Next, between January 23 and 25 of 2024, the company will be establishing a national presence with a big display at the World of Concrete convention in Las Vegas.
“There are still a lot of things in the background and changes coming to the company in a big way,” Acosta tells us. “I can’t give out information yet, but I am working closely with Willie Goncharow, President, and Chuck Nelson, Vice President of Sales, and we’ll have updates coming out soon about our online presence.”