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BIS profile: Lynda Beam, Lyndy Wheat of T.H. Guerry Lumber Company

  • Lynda G. Beam, owner of Guerry Lumber, and her daughter Lindy B. Wheat, VP of the company, stand in the lumber yard of their company located off Barnard Street. (Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News)
  • Gerry Lumber Co.'s Sales Office off of Barnard Street. (Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News)
  • A photo of T.H. Guerry, founder of Guerry Lumber Co. which he started in 1927, hangs on a wall inside the sales office of the company off Barnard Street. (Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News)

Who

Lynda Guerry Beam, owner and chairman of the board of T.H. Guerry Lumber Company

And Lindy Beam Wheat, Beam’s daughter and vice president of T.H. Guerry Lumber Company.

 

Business address

123 W. 44th St., Savannah, GA 31405

 

Family

Beam: Two children, Guerry Beam (a son who died) and Wheat and two grandchildren.

Wheat: Son Will and daughter Kirby.

 

Pets

Beam: I’ve always had pets. A horse. And a multitude of Ossabaw burros, five peacocks, two dogs and a parrot named Cisco.

Wheat: Two dogs

 

What we do

Wheat: We provide quality materials to builders, remodelers and do it yourselfers, with a strong emphasis for custom homes. We have over 620 years of experience among our employees. We have a custom millwork shop and can make or match custom molding …We sell lumber, plywood, specialty hardwood, molding, composite decking, PVC boards, pattern stock (It refers to paneling and exterior siding.)

 

Years in business

Wheat: We’re going to celebrate 90 next year.

Beam: We were started in 1927 by my grandfather T.H. Guerry. He saw a need for it. He survived the Depression. He would buy rough, green lumber and manufacture it here for siding, windows and doors … The company has grown with the times. It’s very exciting to be in the 21st century. There are so many new materials.

Wheat: He sold nails and lumber out of a metal shed just big enough to hold a desk and a heater. At that time, everything we sold was manufactured here.

Beam: Everything but the nails. My father, Tom Guerry Jr., became a partner in 1934. He had to quit school to go to work during the Depression. (Her father and grandfather) worked together.

Wheat: My father, Kirby Beam, joined the company in 1965. He started as a yard supervisor. He died in 2004 of ALS (a progressive degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.) So we’re big supporters of ALS (victims), big supporters of the Ice Bucket benefit … I started working here in 1991 after spending five years in the wholesale lumber industry. I primarily do purchasing, inventory control and I’m mill shop coordinator.

 

Employees

Wheat: 45 including temporary employees.

Beam: We just hired a new employee whose grandfather was in the same business as my grandfather.

 

Why are you successful?

Wheat: Because our focus is on customer service and quality products. And because of our employees’ vast knowledge and number of years in the industry. An eagerness to satisfy the customer.

Beam: Another reason for success: We have the largest inventory, the biggest of building supplies in the area. We have a wide variety of products.

Wheat: Also, we are very focused on our relationships with our vendors, with our customers and with our employees.

Beam: We have also always worked as a family, a family business. And people feel that. And our customers are like family.

 

Favorite quote

Beam: I have several. “Lead, follow. Or get out of the way.” I think George Patton said that.

Another is the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

 

Professional achievement

Wheat: I’m proud of the fact that I’m helping to continue a family business in its fourth generation.

Beam: My best professional achievement is caring for my husband and family and making conditions good so they can achieve all they’ve been able to. My profession is wife and mother.

 

Personal achievement

Wheat: Raising my two children to adulthood. And the relationship I have with them.

 

Future plans

Wheat: To keep growing with the times, changing with the times. We’ve changed our product mix to keep up with the changing products in the industry and technological advances that will allow our customers to keep Guerry Lumber as their No. 1 supplier.

 

A major plan

Wheat: To celebrate our 90th all year next year with a variety of events. We’ll have a lot of customer-related events in the parking lot. I don’t know the specifics.

 

Tips

Wheat: We have a lot of rules but when it comes right down to it we always do what is right for our customers and employees. We know when to bend – when we have to break rules.

 

What’s right?

Wheat: I guess your heart tells you. You just know it.

 

What to avoid?

Wheat: Stock outages. Late shipments. And anything that disappoints a customer. We avoid putting products on line that haven’t been proven.

 

Why Savannah works for us

Wheat: Because of the historic district and the constant renovations. It’s a very popular destination for retirees and second homes. And we have enjoyed great growth over the years.

Beam: And the quality of building in Savannah … And it’s a good economy. It has a strong economic base.

 

Mission statement

Wheat: Established in 1927, Guerry Lumber creates for our community an unmatched supplier experience by providing quality materials, dependable service and competitive prices. And our vision statement: The place where customers want to do business and people want to work.

 

Marketing

Wheat: We have a full-time marketing coordinator and we do regular posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So follow us on social media.

 

Contact

Web site: www.guerrylumber.com

Phone number: (912) 232-3128

 

— Compiled by Lanie Peterson

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