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Cookies and tea herald caulk and timber

New home center owner starts small with big dreams

News editor

While initial shipments of lumber were still days away, Morgan Wheeler was more than ready Sunday to welcome customers eager to see the inside of The Building Center, his new home improvement and construction supply business at 143 W. Main St. in Marion.

“It took a little longer than we thought it would,” Wheeler said. “We’re real excited. We’ve had quite a few people stop in to check out what’s going on.”

A table tucked in a back corner held cookies and tea for visitors, small by necessity because Wheeler has nearly every available inch packed with consumables, tools, and something Marion hasn’t had since Straub’s International closed: home appliances.

“We’ve got some excellent things going on there,” Wheeler said. He stocks Whirlpool and Maytag brands.

The Building Center will deliver appliances and connect buyers with someone who will install them.

“We’re actively looking at a couple of people we can work through,” Wheeler said.

While the store’s footprint may be small, Wheeler doesn’t appear to be intimidated by big box competitors in distant cities.

“I think the correct term that we would consider this store is as a home center,” he said. “We will have plenty of building materials coming in this next week. Everything in the store is meant to be sold straight into the home or with the materials out in the yard.”

Wheeler envisions a future in which The Building Center will draw business from communities that don’t have a lumber yard or home center, but the first order of business is to get established at home through good customer service and competitive pricing.

“As people continue to pop their heads in and tell us what they’d like to see, we’re going to change up our products and continue to be more and more aggressive on our prices, as much as we can be,” Wheeler said. “We’ll figure out what the community needs and conform ourselves to that.”

Last modified Dec. 14, 2017

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