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Award-winning business is building toward the future

Staff writer

A Marion business has been named existing business of the year by the Kansas Small Business Development Center.

In the five years since John, Morgan, and Jason Wheeler opened the Building Center on Marion’s Main St., sales to Marion County customers have been so steady the business has collected sales taxes rising from $70,000 in 2018 to $122,750 in the last year.

Service and dedication to customers is what the Building Center emphasizes.

“You can see in smaller towns how badly they need lumberyards,” John Wheeler said.

He said the business identified what customers wanted and needed. Those items are kept in stock.

Items customers need that are not in stock are ordered from companies that can get the merchandise to the store as quickly as possible.

“We try to order and get it in a week or two,” Wheeler said. “Now it’s more like a month.”

The last couple of years have been hard because of COVID-related delivery problems.

The store stocks lumber, building supplies, appliances, and tools.

“What a lot of people don’t know is, the box stores do about 40% special orders,” Wheeler said.

If a customer needs something, the Building Center wants to supply the need so they don’t have to drive to get it.

The Wheelers focus on out-hustling competitors as well.

“We’ve been fortunate we’ve built a great community,” Wheeler said.

Seven employees work hard to take care of customers and each other, he said.

A second location opened in Hillsboro last summer.

Wheeler wants to open additional locations in other towns with populations of less than 5,000 that don’t have lumberyards.

Last modified April 13, 2022

 

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