In 2018, Constructions Materials will be celebrating a huge milestone – a 50th anniversary. This flourishing business has been family-owned and family-operated from its earliest days, a point of great pride for the Crews family.
In the 1960’s, Tom Crews lived in Montgomery, Alabama; he was working for a local construction supply house. After a year and a half of working the counter, he was promoted to management in the construction department - complete with a new car, expense account and sales commissions. The General Contractors who were their customers were regularly approached with low prices but little customer service. Keeping that commission in mind, Tom made note of the deficit in service and tried a better approach.
Service became the name of his game. Picking up coolers, coffee cups or supplies for job locations, Tom Crews made a point of trying to think of ways to meet service needs before even asked; he made himself invaluable. Within 2-3 years, his sales rapidly increased, and Tom cast his eyes toward his own entrepreneurship.
There was a basement office in downtown Montgomery, in an alley building on South street; rent was $50 a month. On Dec. 8, 1968, Tom and his wife, Elsie, opened up for business. There were 2 desks, 2 chairs, 2 calculators, and a cot for potentially sick children to join mom and dad for the day – but mainly there was 1 big dream. Tom was also the delivery driver, who moonlighted on the side selling Lapidolith, a liquid floor hardener, for Sears and Roebuck stores all over Alabama. He and his sons worked many nights, through the night, coating floors for Sears. Tom continued his commitment to service, meeting the needs of local contractors, selling them all the ad-ons, servicing and being present on the jobs, all while still making the necessary office stops as well. Twelve hour days were the norm. Long hours and hard work plus stellar service became the recipe for success.
Success was not automatic; Tom and Elsie struggled along for several years, but finally, by year 10, they turned the corner. Their sons were on board, and the family business grew and flourished. From that initial alley building on South street, Constructions Materials is now found in 18 locations and 6 states (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and Texas), employing over 300 hard-working people. Still family-owned and family-operated, sons and grandchildren dot the landscape of CM personnel, a family group that continues to grow and join in!
In the early 1980’s, Tom Crews turned over the reins to sons, John and Greg, and branched out into an additional facet of the business. CM added a real estate group that owns and manages the many warehouses. Senior management is presently in the hands of five men
- Tom Harrison – Division President
- Mike Elmore – CFO
- Rick Wilson – VP Sales & Marketing
This managerial stream-lining is another key to controlling costs and fostering communication, yet another key to success. At 84, Elsie still goes in to work one day a week to sign the payable checks, preserving the family fingerprint on CM! Other than that, there are so many great local managers and sales personnel.
Tom Crews’ dream has become a blueprint for success for small businesses: family and hard work, personal service and good products. That translates to a 50th anniversary and a celebration of the blessings of the American dream in the hands of good people.
Construction Materials now employs over 300 people and operates 16 branches in 6 states. We provide products for concrete, masonry and waterproofing projects from well known manufacturers such as BASF, WR Grace, Dayton Superior and Owens Corning. We currently work with more than 600 manufacturing partners allowing us to provide the products needed by the industry. In addition to finished products we also provide pre-fabricated rebar packages in almost all of our facilities.
CM Locations :
|Jacksonville||Panama City Beach||Birmingham||Atlanta, GA|
|Ft. Myers||Orlando||Montgomery||Houston, TX (2)|
|Ft. Pierce||Tampa||Huntsville||Jackson, MS|
Our success has occurred primarily in the south over the last 5 decades. Going forward we expect to continue to add branches as needed to service our customers. The next 5-10 years are expected to be very strong in the commercial and residential building sector. It is our goal to to continue to make our services and products accessible to our customers throughout the South and across the USA.