In our industry, big-box stores have lowered expectations of service – with most people believing this is necessary to get low prices, especially with today’s inflation. We’re sure most of you have wandered in these huge stores, making absurd numbers of trips for forgotten supplies, and never fully finishing projects you were once excited to begin.
At TimberTown, pro-level service is our top priority, and we do it without your needing to pay higher prices - in fact, ours are often lower than the big box stores. How? By specializing in products we’re best at: floors, decks and interior doors, as well as mouldings and select lumber for any kind of project. We also have seasoned pro-level staff to support you through your project, so you can get all the right supplies you need, quickly and easily.
We’re also Alberta-owned and have been locally operated since 1981. Our owners actually work right in the stores, too.
TimberTown was founded on March 11, 1981, by Matt Stayner, with the tremendous backing of his wife Delia (Dee) who willingly invested their entire savings and pledged the family home to secure the needed bank financing. Stayner left a job in wholesale lumber sales to start a retail lumberyard of his own. The reason for starting? “I’d seen a lot of lumberyards, and I just knew I could do it better.”
After a few years of setting up his first two Calgary stores, Stayner needed a capable manager and partner. A well-respected, mutual connection led him to Dick Karperien, who was already running an Edmonton lumber store. They immediately recognized their individual strengths and how their different management styles could complement each other. A partnership was born with Dick moving to Calgary to join TimberTown in 1987. Together they were on a quest to find deals on products from all over North America and Europe. They prioritized product development, merchandising, and marketing to win many key contractor accounts.
Soon truckloads of products were arriving, and an Edmonton store (1991) was being discussed. “There was a flooring product line we wanted, and we had to prove we were Alberta-wide to get it,” says Stayner, “So we made it happen.”
The 1980s and 1990s saw waves of recession in Alberta, and TimberTown worked feverishly to survive the crunch –maintaining relationships with vendors and retaining critical staff. To survive the big box onslaught in the mid-1990s, TimberTown focused on its strongest areas: interior doors/mouldings, decks/fences, and flooring, while continuing to stress the importance of customer service.
In 2005, an opportunity emerged in Canmore. The owners of an independent hardware store were exiting the business. TimberTown partnered with a local manager, re-opening the store under the TimberTown banner. The Canmore store thrives today with a new partner/manager, Jordan Cameron, who ensures TimberTown Canmore caters specifically to local needs.
Also in 2005, TimberTown and its five locations joined TimberMart, a 4-billion dollar-a-year buying group, to increase buying power and pass those savings on to customers.
In 2019 Kelly Dorish, CPA, CA joined the TimberTown team as CFO. With a background as an auditor, and extended family in the lumber business, Dorish was instrumental in TimberTown’s weathering the COVID-19 pandemic and rolling out a re-branding initiative in 2023.
Reflecting on the early years, Stayner laments the extremely long hours he put in while his children were young, but says, “That’s why we will always be closed on Sundays. We care about our people, and we want them to have time for their families.”
Meanwhile, 2021 was a milestone for our whole team at TimberTown: We celebrated 40 years in business. This is something very few building supply retailers can claim, and in recent years, we have even seen some of the US big box stores retreat from Canada. And yet, here we stand, stronger than ever, and ready for a new generation. We are proud of our team, and so very grateful to our many loyal customers over the years.
Here’s what we’re most proud of, and how it helps you, our customer:
- Our service. Because we have consistent staff, you can get everything in need with just one trip, and guidance from one key person from start to finish.
- Our Pros. Rather than overburden valuable staff to cover seven days a week, we go with six. This has helped us keep the best staff in the industry over the longest tenure.
- Our prices. We don’t sell everything a big box store does, but we can match or beat on the products we’re best at: interior doors, flooring, decking/fencing, and lumber.
- Our custom door shop. Each of our stores has a well-equipped in-house carpentry shop, to cut your doors, lumber or mouldings to exactly what you need.
- Our buying power. We are like a small-town store because we affiliate with Timber Mart, which is a chain of independent building-supply stores as well as a Buying Group. This helps us (and we help them) achieve volumes to compete with big box stores.
- Our efficiency. We have modern, cloud-based POS systems to track multi-store inventory and ensure it stays moving.
- Our free samples and displays. If you need any samples to take home and compare size/colour, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also got great in-store displays to show you how all the pieces fit together.
- Our delivery. We deliver to any location across Alberta.
- We take responsibility for the products we sell. In any product failure, we liaise with the manufacturers on our customers’ behalf, ensuring a full, satisfactory resolution.
- Our staff deserves work-life balance. We aim to keep our staff over the long run, by ensuring they have adequate holidays, benefits, and time off.
- Our compensation consistently exceeds industry standards. We believe in healthy, living wages so that we can keep our staff over the long term.
- We apply our selling skills to the buying end of the business. We create positive, healthy relationships with our vendors, and earn better prices with commitment and growth. We don’t use bullying or pressure tactics.
- We support local contractors. We provide referrals and discounts to established local contractors because of their high volumes of purchases, and to maintain longstanding relationships with them.
- We refer diligently, using local contractors we know well. Rather than take a hands-off approach, most of the contractors we recommend have already done work for our staff or in/around our buildings. We also verify that they have WCB and liability insurance while paying close attention to their customer reviews.
Here are some of the key positions we often fill. We also promote from within.
- Warehouse Associate
- Project Advisor
- Door shop Carpenters