Former Bellevue Builders Supply owner Joseph Lucarelli says family pressure is building for him to buy back the home supply stores in Northeast New York he sold to Stock Building Supply, which is now restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Stock filed a notice Tuesday with the state Department of Labor saying its Rotterdam location at 500 Duanesburg Road would close, affecting 156 non-union employees, as part of a greater plan to leave the New York market due to underperformance.
On Wednesday, an official with Stock said a deal with a unnamed buyer is pending, and would likely be announced after Stock emerges from bankruptcy in the next 40 to 60 days.
As the landlord for Stock’s buildings in Rotterdam, Sidney, Richmondville and Roxbury, Lucarelli said one would think he would know who the potential new owner of Stock is — but he doesn’t.
The leases for the buildings are effective through the end of August, he said.
If the deal with the new owner falls through, Lucarelli said his family would be more than happy to take over.
“My family misses it,” said Lucarelli, who would begin organizing in late fall and through the winter to reopen the remaining Stock locations — some have already been closed and liquidated — under the Bellevue Builders name.
Before he sold it to Stock in 2004, Bellevue was a family business, with Lucarelli’s four daughters and three sons-in-law working there.
“They had lots of good experience and were very knowledgeable,” Lucarelli said. “Each one of them ran a different department and ran it well.”
Lucarelli believes one of the main reasons why Stock did not perform as well as it could in New York is because the company did not stick to the principles and business strategies his family had during Bellevue’s reign.
“In every recession we never lost sales — we picked up sales. And I was there since 1958,” Lucarelli said.
When the Lucarelli family sold Bellevue Builders, it was doing $100 million in sales annually.
The company had 400 employees, and covered a large territory in upstate New York, also venturing into Connecticut, Massachusetts and Long Island. Stock has whittled the company down to 150 employees, Lucarelli said.
“We had 87 trucks on the road making deliveries,” Lucarelli said.
Bellevue was very community-oriented and even shared profits with employees monthly, according to Lucarelli.
Stock’s biggest mistake, according to Lucarelli, was keeping low inventories.
“[Bellevue] carried huge inventories,” Lucarelli said. “So we didn’t get out of stock, especially on things to satisfy the bigger builders.”
Lucarelli said the decision to keep leaner inventories was probably accountant-driven.
The more inventory turnover — the ratio showing how many times inventory levels are sold and replaced in a given period — the greater the return on assets could be shown in the company’s business records, he explained. But Lucarelli said it is impossible to measure the direct result: customers who are turned away or decide to walk away because what they want is not available.
In the coming weeks, Stock is expected to declare how and where it will grow after the company emerges from bankruptcy, Stock spokeswoman Katie Cralle said Wednesday.