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Parr to supply the lumber, Chinook to apply the heat

Wed, Jun 15, 2011

“Les hates to make changes in trade partners. He agonizes over it when I talk with him, I know he stays up late agonizing over it. He feels that, as ‘trade partners,’ the people who supply the products and the expertise in building Varsity’s homes are actually part of the Varsity family- and you could call him a true family man,” said Varsity’s Operations Manager Stephanie Hopperstad.

“Whenever we have a problem with a subcontractor we sit down and talk about the problem and what it’ll take to solve the problem and sometimes Les bends over backwards to keep the relationship intact, going much further than any builder I’ve ever seen. But when he makes a change it’s always for the best,” the head of Varsity’s central processing department said. Certainly Parr Lumber, the Portland-based regional lumber company, is an example of a nimble- footed supplier that has actually expanded during the miserable housing crunch of the past several years in order to be in a better position once the market improves.

Beginning early this year, Parr Lumber became the company’s primary supplier of lumber products. Interior doors and trim, the products installed primarily by the finish carpenters, are continuing to be supplied by Kevin Olson the millwork provider from Pro-Build, formerly Lumbermens Supply. Parr, a company Leslie Savitch worked with over the years when he was responsible for helping build the largest housing company in Oregon, Arbor Custom Homes in the 1995-2000 period. Parr, established in 1929 is a family owned company with 23 locations in the Northwest and is ranked 17th largest building material supplier in the country.

The local manager of builder business in the Tri-Cities is Rob Diehl. Chinook Heating and Air, owned by Dave and Kelli Hubbard, has been a Tri-Cities stalwart for a number of years. Chinook became affiliated with Varsity in mid-March when Varsity’s previous HVAC company had a difficult time keeping up with the increasing volumes represented by Varsity.

Dave likes to tell the story that when he called around to see what kind of a home builder Varsity was, he generally got a stunned silence from people he called. One major trade partner in particular said that not only was Varsity the best builder client they had but they were the best builder client they’d ever had. His own wholesale suppliers were delighted with the collaboration for they told Dave about how Varsity had in recent years under Savitch’s stewardship established a reputation for helping out their HVAC contractors. One of Chinook’s first recommended changes for Varsity was the transition to a dual-fuel heating and air conditioning system that utilizes the best of both gas and electric energy sources

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