A growing community is a building community. Mahomet is no exception.
Building takes time, numerous materials, experience, and know-how. Small towns often are forced to look outside the community to acquire these things when they need them.
In a day where the “superstore” has all but wiped out “Main Street, USA,” the notion of supporting local business is becoming more and more crucial, allowing the small towns to thrive, in spite of the promises of everyday low prices, significant supply, and unbeatable one-stop-shop convenience of the superstore competition.
Mahomet has the unique opportunity to support local business and grow from within, while simultaneously retaining its small town familiarity, neighborliness, and appeal. Its outstanding schools and natural beauty make Mahomet a desirable town for families.
With all it has to offer, Mahomet will need substantial building construction to keep up with its rapid growth. Kirchner Building Center is ready to step up to that challenge. Since August 2010, Kirchner Building Center has been a part of supplying Mahomet’s growing residential and commercial building needs.
As part of a company that began with its founding in Kansas, Illinois in 1906, and expanded to small town locations such as Charleston, Danville, and Paxton, Manager Dave Parker has recently been evaluating the community of Mahomet’s needs and is dedicated to finding ways that Kirchner’s can help facilitate Mahomet’s development.
“We’ve seen a spike in new construction,” Parker said. “Our slogan says ‘Your home project partner’. We supply anything you need to build a house, a room addition, or remodeling.”
These supplies are distributed from all over the country, but also closer to home, with supplies coming in from southern Illinois and Indiana.
As manager, Parker is faced with the challenge of competing with the larger markets in nearby cities, especially Champaign, but Kirchner does offer a decided benefit.
“Larger communities… it’s harder to really get to know people, and it is price point only,” he said. ”Our sales staff is much more knowledgeable. We’ve got a guy who fits all areas. It’s our job to know everything, even when we may not.”
Parker would like to tap into a small percentage of the Champaign market, while taking care of the local business first. His true efforts are focused on the more immediate test lying right outside the store walls; reaching out to the clientele within Mahomet. That’s a challenge to which manager Dave Parker is more attentive.
“We pride ourselves on building relationships with our customers.” he said. “It’s a two-way street. It’s not just us looking out for them; they’re looking out for us too.”
With the closing of Patton Lumber four years ago, some clients were left wondering where to take their business and became disconnected with what was available locally. Parker is determined that Kirchner’s service and commitment to building relationships will establish integrity and trust with those customers.
“That’s what it’s got to be based on- integrity is key,” he said. “If we can just deliver on what we promise to our customers, we’ll be in good shape.”
The task of winning customers back and building new clientele is not something to which Parker is unaccustomed. He had a similar mission when he was at Kirchner’s Paxton location, where he was manager for ten years. Having risen to the challenge, the Paxton location is thriving, and Parker remains optimistic that, with concerted effort, he can deliver in Mahomet.
“This team will get there in the same amount of time,” he said. He admits without reservation that it may be a 5-10 year process.
The challenge of recreating that kind of bond with the community again brought him from Paxton to Mahomet, where he knows the location has the potential to be Kirchner’s best. While things are looking good, good isn’t the final word. Efforts are being made to make Kirchner’s more visible in the community.
“We’re hidden in a rural community, not out front where other businesses are,” Parker admits.
The store is located just off the beaten path on the corner of Walnut and Washington Street.
Conceding, Parker states, “A lot of people don’t know we’re here.”
As far as marketing, “We have a good mix of radio and internet advertising.” Additionally, Kirchner’s location in Mahomet is just “getting its feet wet” as Parker explains, with local financial involvement in ball teams, and recent donations to the Fourth of July fireworks display, and Auto Fest on July 6th.
Parker also realizes that several improvements must be made to try to bring business back. There are plans to restore the building itself with special attention devoted to the roof and upkeep of areas that have been overlooked. Also, Kirchner’s Mahomet location recently purchased a boom truck, used for lifting heavy materials with its specialized extending and rotating arm.
“It’s something we’ve never had at this location and I feel (the lack of it has) done a lot of damage,” he said.
It is clear manager Dave Parker has a lot of personal respect for Mahomet. Having grown up in Southern Illinois, he compares its natural beauty, with “the trees and the state park” to the sceneries of his hometown, and said it is a stand out in those terms within the Central Eastern area. Smiling, he also confesses one of his favorite things to do in Mahomet is dine at J.T. Walker’s where he’s been eating, “for years. Even before I began working in Mahomet” and enjoys grilled chicken Caesar salad.
“Mahomet is a great community. This town has a great pride in itself and you can see it,” he said.
Parker’s evident confidence in the community is a great reflection of his own reverential confidence in Kirchner’s dedication to service and goals to succeed in serving Mahomet’s building needs. In time, he hopes Kirchner’s will become the foremost provider of building supplies to residents, farmers, and other community businesses in Mahomet and the surrounding area.
“This community owes us nothing,” he said. “Everything that we get, we’re going to have to work hard for. We understand that.”