SupplyHouse.com is a growing supplier to the HVAC and plumbing trades. The company, based in Melville, New York, is in the process of opening its fourth distribution center since it started in 2004. Currently, the company has a total of 554 employees across its four existing locations. All this growth makes teambuilding more crucial than ever.
But how does a company build a team during a pandemic, with many employees working remotely and those who are in the same building maintaining social distancing? The answer for SupplyHouse.com was a virtual cooking class.
The class took place via Zoom on Jan. 22. Melissa Eboli, an organic chef and owner of Via Melissa, walked employees through the process of cooking her favorite breakfast quesadilla. Eboli has appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” and has been featured in several publications, including Women’s Health and The New York Times. SupplyHouse.com hosted cooking and nutrition events in the office prior to the pandemic, so the company’s engagement team felt this was a perfect fit.
A Hot Meal Followed by Icebreakers
Before the class, staff was provided with gift cards allowing each employee to purchase the items needed to cook a breakfast quesadilla with dill sauce. If an employee was unable to eat the quesadilla as a result of dietary restrictions, they were encouraged to cook their own breakfast at that time. At the start of the class, employees turned on their cameras in their own kitchens, and Eboli joined them from hers.
“The cooking class encouraged all of us to step away from our normal work environment,” said Julie Collins, human resources team lead for SupplyHouse.com. "As someone who is seated for most of the day, I really enjoyed being able to move around my kitchen as a chef guided me through a delicious meal. It was nice to break away from my normal routine and do something offline, and it was a really fun way to start a Friday.”
After the virtual cooking class, the team broke out into huddles where they enjoyed their breakfast, played ice breaker games, and listened to company updates. SupplyHouse.com conducts a bi-weekly team huddle.
New Location Shortens Delivery Times
SupplyHouse.com will have about 30 more hungry mouths to feed in a few weeks. The online distributor plans on opening its latest distribution center in Farmers Branch, Texas, this spring. The 177,320-square-foot building in the Dallas area will bring the company's total fulfillment space to 742,000 square feet. Raquel Sosnovich, marketing communications coordinator at SupplyHouse.com, said the company remained on track to complete the project despite the recent winter storm and ensuing power outages in Texas.
In 2018, SupplyHouse.com opened a 190,000-square-foot building in Reno, Nevada. The other two are in Cranbury, New Jersey, and Columbus, Ohio. The company expects the Texas distribution center will improve delivery times by one to two days in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
"When our operations begin in Dallas, we'll be able to service 57% of our customers within one day and 97% of our customers within two days,” said Eric Sherman, operations captain at SupplyHouse.com. “We're excited to get started and looking forward to having a presence for our customers in the local Dallas area.”
SupplyHouse.com is also reaching out to its customers virtually. The company has been offering exclusive webinars to those in its TradeMasters program as a way to further their industry knowledge in a virtual setting, Sosnovich said. The company has partnered with 12 manufacturers to date. The company also rolled out a new app at the end of 2020 to improve the shopping experience for trade professionals.