Builders’ General Turns 90!

Born in 1931 in Cranford, New Jersey, Builders’ General has been around for a while — in fact, the company turns 90 years old this year.

Today, the building supply company is led by third-generation brothers, Tim and Phil, who are carrying on the family promise. Builders’ General works tirelessly to provide for our contractors’ building supply needs, and we pride ourselves in building a workplace where employees are valued, rewarded and recognized for their hard work.

We’ve learned a lot over the last 90 years and have quite the collection of stories. We’ve spent decades building our relationships with our current clients and our community, we can’t wait to extend our commitment and dedication for another 90 years. Until then, keep reading to uncover a treasure trove of great memories and lessons learned along the way.

The Shaheen Family Promise

The Shaheen Family, dressed nicely, smiling, standing in front of a new kitchen display

Builders’ General is a company that has always been family-run and family-owned. Betsy Shaheen, Vice President of Builders’ General and granddaughter of the founder, prides herself in the ideals her family has created and sustained for over three generations. “The customer is the #1 priority. That’s what it’s all about. If they’re not happy, it’s not going to work. It’s all about the customers,” explained Betsy.

BGS has seven locations throughout New Jersey: four full-service lumber yards with retail stores, two design centers and a millwork manufacturing facility. With approximately 170 dedicated team members serving the North, South and all the way up the Jersey coast, the company has become large enough to service everyone from big production builders to boutique custom shops. With 90 years dedicated to the business, Builders’ General knows they’ve beaten the odds. It hasn’t come without challenges, and it’s both gratifying and humbling to still be standing and persevering after nine decades.

At Builders’ General, employee retention is just as important as customer retention. With tenured employees, some of whom have proudly worn the logo for 40+ years, teamwork makes the magic happen. With building supply jobs all over New Jersey, we’re incredibly fortunate to have the amazing employees we do.

Take Carmen Petrillo, for example. He is the most tenured employee at our Edison, New Jersey location. Hired to manage the counter 30 years ago, Carmen has grown alongside us and now flawlessly dispatches untold numbers of deliveries every day. “At other companies, you’re a number. At Builders’ General, you’re family,” said Carmen.

“We’re always looking to grow, constantly looking for different ways to service our customers with different products. Our customers are a lot like us — they run family-owned businesses. There’s common ground there. We understand their pains and their challenges; I think people like that. We’ve been around for 90 years because we try to keep that mindset,” said TJ Shaheen, Executive Vice President and 4th generation employee.

The Shaheen family and the entire Builders’ General team are fulfilled every day in their dedication to building and fostering relationships. Delighting customers with reliable and honest service is what the entire job is all about. This creed has stood the test of time and created the strong foundation that supports our distinguished reputation in the industry.

Builders’ General truck carrying building supply materials

Thank You to Our Builders

We owe everything to our hardworking employees and builder partners. Without our local contractors, we would not be celebrating our latest milestone. Building trust with our builder partners is the core of our mission.

“With building custom homes, one of the advantages of having Builders’ General is they have a lot of options for us. From moldings to interior doors, they have so many selections to choose from. If there’s an issue, I call them, and they take care of it. If I need something quickly, they do it for me. The personal relationship I have with Builders’ makes a huge difference in helping me run my company successfully, ” said Tim Cross, owner of Merrick Construction Inc. and a BGS customer for over 25 years.

Builders’ General recently helped Lou Padula, President of Padula Builders Inc., on one of his first larger builds when his company ran out of plywood.

“I notified Builders’ General and all they wanted to know was, ‘What do you need to make it right? We’ll take care of everything from there.’ That was important to me, and I’ve never forgotten it. Everybody talks about customer service, but very few deliver the way Builders’ General delivers and they earn my business every single day,” said Lou.

What working in the building materials industry for 90 years has taught Builders’ General

Builders’ General employees standing in front of New Jersey building supply store. Sign above saying "Builders’ General supply store 90th" for their 90th anniversary.

L to R: Phil Libbin, Tom Ankiewicz, Jim Porcelli, Dan Brister, Cindy Jones, Mike Hendrickson, Mike English, and Dave Holman

Over the past nine decades, we’ve learned a few fundamentals that have worked for us, enabling us to build a strong foundation and a bright future.

1. Invest in Relationships

We invested in our relationships with our community to form trusting partnerships. We work every day with our customers in the center of everything we do and strive to continually build mutually beneficial relationships and trust.

2. Invest in Employees

Our employees are an extension of your values, mission and success, and we wouldn’t get anywhere without them. We lift them up, celebrate them, pay them fairly and listen intently to their concerns, needs and wants. A culture of high-performing, motivated people isn’t born — it’s built, and we’ve worked hard to build it. We nurture it by creating a safe and healthy environment where leadership, personal development, and teamwork is recognized, valued and rewarded.

3. Invest in Resources

We’ve invested in the resources we need to sustain our business through tough times. We’re so lucky to be here with our incomparable team that has stood with us throughout the hard times.

90 Years of Builders’ General

Family-owned and operated since 1931, Builders’ General Supply Company provides builders, contractors and homeowners with the quality materials needed to construct, customize and remodel gorgeous homes. For nine decades, we’ve been one of the most reliable names in New Jersey’s building supply industry.

With Builders’ General, you can have a partner that helps you overcome all the possible obstacles you’ll face during the building process. With our lumber, cabinetry, windows, doors, decking, millwork and power tools supply, you’ll be able to manage (and exceed) your client’s expectations.

Ready to get started on a project? Builders’ General provides an exceptional combination of products and services to all of our customers — feel free to reach out for more information on how we can help tackle your next project.

Want to join our family? Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining the team.