This year marks Nashville-based Kenny Pipe & Supply’s 25th year in business serving customers in its home state of Tennessee, northern Alabama and northern Georgia.
And while the PHCP-PVF distributor celebrates its silver anniversary across its branches, Kenny Pipe’s newest creation signifies something else cap-tipping-worthy.
Kenny Pipe recently opened a branch in the suburban Nashville city of Hendersonville, which like Nashville is booming with construction activity. This is Kenny’s 11th branch.
“It’s a very hot market and one where we’ve received a tremendous response so far,” Kenny Pipe Murfreesboro, Tenn. Branch Manager Patrick Kenny tells me. “It was the right opportunity for us to go in and build on relationships with customers we already know.”
Kenny Pipe’s 11th location, though, will have a different look and feel to it. The Hendersonville branch has a self-service business model built around the location having not only the traditional city counter, but numerous self-service aisles and a small showroom display. There will be no inside or outside salespeople operating out of the branch. The new operation is a satellite of the Nashville branch, which is managed by Anderson Hill.
“It’s a different model for us,” Kenny says. “We’re going to be serving a pretty dynamic group from service plumbers to facilities and maintenance people to homeowners and the one-truck plumber. It will be something for everybody. We’ll have the usual city counter, a delivery truck, the self-serve aisles and a very good inventory onsite.”
Previously, customers in that Hendersonville corridor would have to go into the Kenny Pipe Nashville city branch for materials. “We’re not going in cold,” Kenny says. “We’re going in with a brand awareness. Contractors are glad to see us. It allows us to get to their doorstep and let their businesses run more smoothly.”
Kenny says the opening is the latest example of the company, founded by his father and current company President (and former ASA President) Bill Kenny, using innovation to stay at the forefront of the marketplace.
“We’re always trying to find new business models and find new ways to serve our diverse customer bases and communities,” he says. “We’re proud that we’ve been able to take these new models and reinvent some of the things we do to go to market.”
Currently, Kenny Pipe skews about 25% residential plumbing, 40% commercial and the rest industrial PVF. “That’s also a changing piece,” Kenny says. “When we first started, we were 100% commercial. That was our game. There was a time when that was more on the extreme with residential when there were some hot markets in Nashville and it’s also gone the other way with PVF when we were helping with several ethanol plants being built in the Midwest. We’re not afraid to change. Now, we have a more balanced ratio — a healthy mix that has helped us weather some storms and has helped us gain expertise across a broader playing field. With a diverse portfolio we can take care of the whole market and not just a segment or niche.”
Kenny, who represents the second generation of family ownership, notes the company has done a good job preparing younger employees to take the next step in continuing the company’s path forward.
“We harp on 25 years and it’s the result of training the next generation of talent, finding the right opportunities and partnering with the right customers,” he says. “This next generation of homegrown talent comes from these communities we are in. They have the opportunity to grow in those communities. There also are other second-generation employees in the company who grew up in the business and are coming into their own right now. This next generation has a lot of new ideas and a lot of willingness to respond to different market conditions.”
Kenny says the Hendersonville model will not be a one-off situation. “We see this as a very good business model and do see us opening many more in the near future,” he says. “There is a hunger to continue to grow and continuing to change. It’s the Kenny way — always moving forward and having our voice in the marketplace no matter what that marketplace looks like.”
This article was originally titled “Never stand still” in the August 2017 print edition of Supply House Times.