For the last four decades it’s been all hands on deck for Berryville, Ark.-based Maverick Supply. The six-employee plumbing and electrical distributor, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, was started in the early 1970s by William “Dee” Burch and has remained a family-run operation ever since out of a 15,000-sq.-ft. building situated on three acres in Carroll County. Burch started the business after buying quantities of plumbing supplies bigger than he needed and brokering the leftovers to area contractors. The response led to the formation of Maverick, which now consists of Burch family members Jack Burch, his wife, Dee Burch, brother Gene Burch, sister Maria Burch-Whiteside, along with Robb McDaniel and Darrell Stephens.
Jack Burch recently took time to talk to Supply House Times about a variety of topics, including the importance of community involvement, Maverick’s customer training and the role of the small local distributor.
What market sectors drive business for Maverick right now?
JB: At present light commercial, but our business is built around residential housing and farming. There are a lot of rural houses with chicken, turkey and hog farms. We have two companies here that manufacture pistols and other guns. They have been expanding their businesses and we have jobs with them. There are tourist-oriented hotels and resorts in Eureka Springs that are opening; and there are a lot of resort and retirement homes where a lot of retired people are moving in. We’re right in the middle of the Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake area in Arkansas and Missouri. We’re 45 minutes to an hour away from the Bentonville-Rogers area, which is home to Walmart. Springfield, Mo., is 75 miles north and Branson, Mo., is 45 minutes away. We feel we are in the right area of the country.
What separates Maverick from the pack?
JB: My dad was a maverick. He did things his own way and not by what everybody else said to do. We’ve continued to do it that way with things such as pricing. Taking care of the customer still is the No. 1 thing. We have a lot of people come in here for advice and we try to give it to them. Everybody is going to have a price. The big boxes kick out prices, but they don’t have the service and knowledge it takes to do it right. We have the time to spend with our customers, we know the products and we are able to tell them which way to go. If we don’t know the answer, we will find out.
How much of a role does being in a smaller community play in your success?
JB: It’s very important. We all are active in the community. Maria is a board member of the Carroll & Madison Library Foundation and I am a past director of the Berryville Chamber of Commerce of which Maverick Supply is a member. We all are active in associations throughout the area. You make contacts with a lot of people that way whether it’s through associations, the Masonic Lodge, church activities or through schools. You have to be out there.
How does Maverick go above and beyond to help its customers?
JB: We do a lot of counter days. Last fall we had a sales rep from Milwaukee Tool out here demonstrating tools. Little Giant had its pump van here last summer. Whoever can take the time to come through the area, we’ll have them out here talking to our customers.
Has the role of the small distributor changed in recent times?
JB: There still is a place for small distributors. Not to break our arms patting ourselves on the back, but we’ve done pretty good here. Three or four families have been able to make a living because of this business. It’s been prosperous all these years. We all feel very blessed.
This article was originally titled “Doing it their way” in the May 2015 print edition of Supply House Times.