BURKE COUNTY, GA – (The True Citizen)
Over the decades many changes have occurred – the location, product brands and now the owners – but one thing that’ll never change is the customer service that feels like a warm hug in a place as familiar as home.
That’s one of the things that led three friends to purchase the long-standing business known as Salter Building Supply.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a child,” says Matthew Jenkins, who along with Craig Elliott and Mitch McMillan acquired ownership of the 32-year-old hardware and home improvement store on April 1. “Any time I’ve ever needed something, this has been my go-to store. Need a tool? Go to Salter’s. Need some boots? Go to Salter’s. Need a lightbulb? Go to Salter’s. And along with all that came smiling faces to greet me.”
As customers file in and out on a breezy morning, their needs vary.
One man comes in to pay a bill and is immediately asked by staff how he’s feeling after a prolonged illness. Another comes in for dog food, and then another for shovels. An elderly man shuffles in with tickets for the Shriners’ annual BBQ dinner and discussion on how great the food is ensues.
The staff knows each one by his first name.
“The first time I ever came in here, I just loved this place,” Mitch says, adding that the idea for the trio to buy the store first came along on a ride home with Craig from a golf tournament. “I just couldn’t get the idea off my mind, and I told Craig, “We should buy Salter’s.’ He looked at me and said, ‘No.’” Mitch scoffs as Craig shakes his head and then speaks. “I worked here for seventeen years. I grew up in this store. This is my family. When I decided that I wanted something for my own, what better place could I even think of than right here.”
As the guys cut up about how they met one another, telling stories that make their faces turn red and their laughter fill the aisles, Craig says not much will change with the passing of the torch other than some additions that’ll come with more offerings to customers. Lumber expansion is at the top of that list, and they’ve already begun a social media platform to help promote themselves to the masses and show the variety that the store has to offer.
“We’re not just a building supply store,” Matthew says, while Craig adds they carry hunting and fishing supplies as well as several clothing lines. They also keep the always popular Georgia Boots in stock and everything else from Yeti coolers to tools and a large selection of plants and gardening supplies.
Salter’s will hold a New Owner Celebration this Saturday, May 4, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Come out and bring the kids,” Craig says. “If you haven’t already joined our family, now is your chance. We will love to have you.”
This story first appeared in The True Citizen.