Gorham’s Limited – Pembroke, Bermuda

written by BVC January 31, 2024
Gorham's Limited - Pembroke, Bermuda

Gorham’s Limited

Leading Innovation and Resilience in Bermuda’s Home Improvement Industry

 

Bermuda’s premier home improvement and construction supply hub; an example of innovation, resilience, and customer dedication in an ever-evolving industry.

Gorham’s Home, Garden & Building Centre, located a few miles from the Bermudan capital of Hamilton, offers diverse home and garden solutions, catering to a variety of customer needs with an extensive range of products. This dynamic enterprise has firmly established itself in the market by offering an array of items across several categories, including lawn care, automotive, cleaning supplies, electrical products, hardware, housewares, outdoor living and furniture, small appliances, paint and accessories, plumbing, tools, toys, pet supplies, and lumber and building materials.

Renowned for its user-friendly website and commitment to customer service, Gorham’s ensures a seamless shopping experience. Located at 62 St. Johns Road, the store operates Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm and on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm, offering ample opportunity for customers to explore its vast offerings. Emphasizing convenience and accessibility, Gorham’s also features a specialized lumber shed with extended hours for more specific building needs.

The Bermuda-based company excels in providing a wide range of products and enhancing the customer journey with its digital sophistication and personalized service. Whether for a simple home improvement task or a major construction project, Gorham’s is a reliable source for quality materials and expert advice.

Company History

The history of Gorham’s is a narrative of evolution, adaptation, and growth, reflecting the dynamism of Bermuda’s economic and social fabric. Established in 1934 by A.J. Gorham, Gorham’s Lumber Company marked its inception as a vital second lumber supplier for Bermuda, initially operating from Front Street. The company’s early days were defined by its status as the island’s leading importer and supplier of cement, a foundation that would catalyze its future expansions.

In the 1960s, under the leadership of Richard M. Gorham, A.J. Gorham’s son, the company relocated to its current location on 62 St. John’s Road. This move facilitated improved material handling and customer service, bolstering Gorham’s market presence. The following decades saw Gorham’s diversify its product range from essential tools and hardware in the 1970s to an affiliation with Cotter & Company (now True Value) in 1979, signifying its expansion beyond traditional lumber and hardware.

The 1990s and 2000s were pivotal in Gorham’s history, denoted by significant infrastructural developments, including the construction of a new building and the merger of two stores into a 40,000 sq. ft mega store. Embracing sustainability, Gorham’s invested in a solar array in 2010, showcasing its commitment to environmental responsibility.

More recently, in 2020 and 2021, Gorham’s undertook further refurbishments, including a new parking lot and an expanded Lumber Shed. These improvements catered to a growing product line and enhanced customer convenience and operational efficiency.

 

Gorham's Limited - Pembroke, Bermuda

Company Set-Up

The cornerstone of Gorham’s success lies in its dedicated workforce, embodying a culture of commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. This ethos has not only solidified Gorham’s stature as a premier hardware store in Bermuda but has also woven a narrative of business resilience and innovation spanning over 80 years. However, the retail sector often grapples with challenges in fostering a deep sense of purpose and pride among its employees. Commonly perceived as transient or stop-gap employment, retail jobs are frequently overlooked in terms of career potential and longevity.

Under CEO Andrew Mackay’s visionary leadership, Gorham’s is actively redefining this industry narrative. Recognizing retail as a professional career path, Gorham’s is dedicated to transforming its workforce’s perspective on retail jobs. Mackay elucidates, “At Gorham’s, we view our role as an opportunity company. We are committed to nurturing our employees, encouraging them to see beyond the horizon of retail as just a part-time job. We believe in the potential of retail as a profession, on par with esteemed fields like law and accounting.”

Gorham’s holistic approach aims to instill a sense of pride and purpose in its employees. The company advocates for career progression within its ranks, offering pathways for employees to ascend from entry-level positions to roles like sales floor associates, supervisors, and managers. This progression is not confined to the sales floor; Gorham’s also encourages ambitions beyond traditional retail roles, presenting opportunities in direct sales within the lumber business, which offers greater responsibilities and financial rewards.

By reimagining the retail job framework, Gorham’s enhances its workforce’s job satisfaction and strives to attract more Bermudans to the retail sector. This innovative approach is a strategic effort to reduce employee turnover while elevating the perception of retail jobs, marking another chapter in Gorham’s legacy of business acumen and societal impact.

Service Description

Almost a century later, Gorham’s continues to stand as a paragon of excellence in the hardware and building supply industry in Bermuda. Established initially as a building supplies provider, Gorham’s has evolved into an all-encompassing retail powerhouse, offering a vast array of products that cater to both DIY enthusiasts and professional contractors. Occupying over 40,000 square feet of retail space and an attached lumber yard, Gorham’s presents a one-stop-shop experience for its customers.

What sets Gorham’s apart is not just the breadth of its inventory, which ranges from lumber, paint, hardware, and beyond, but its commitment to customer satisfaction and innovation. The company’s customer base primarily comprises homeowners embarking on DIY projects and renovations.

Understanding the diverse requirements of these projects, Gorham’s ensures the availability of necessary supplies. If something is not present in the retail location, it can be ordered through their online express service. This facility meets immediate customer needs and allows Gorham’s to track purchasing trends and adjust inventory accordingly.

The company’s success in the home improvement sector, particularly in outdoor sales, underscores its ability to tap into evolving market trends. This adaptability extends to its strong contractor base, especially in the lumber division, which offers an array of building supplies and a special-order department for custom requirements.

Approximately 95% of Gorham’s products arrive by boat, showcasing its logistical prowess. The company’s longstanding partnerships with suppliers like True Value, JELD-WEN, and Weston Premium Woods enable it to offer a diverse range of high-quality products. This variety, coupled with exceptional customer service and a forward-thinking approach, ensures that Gorham’s meets and exceeds customer expectations.

Gorham’s commitment to innovation is evident in its plans to reformat the store layout, constantly seeking to enhance the consumer experience. This blend of product diversity, customer-centric service, and continuous adaptation makes Gorham’s a leader in its field, promising a rewarding shopping experience, whether in-store or online.

 

Gorham's Limited - Pembroke, Bermuda

Industry Discussion

Gorham’s remarkable journey is underpinned by its ability to adapt and respond to external challenges, including supply chain disruptions felt across the Caribbean. As the demand for energy-efficient homes and robust construction materials surges, Gorham’s has consistently met these evolving needs, securing its position as a top supplier in this dynamic market.

The company’s resilience was particularly tested during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current aftermath. While many sectors, including hospitality and restaurants, faced severe challenges, Gorham’s demonstrated exceptional agility, navigating the pandemic’s economic impact successfully. This resilience is partly attributed to Gorham’s strategic location in Bermuda, an island frequently subject to harsh weather conditions. The store’s consistent stocking of hurricane-proofing materials, from two-by-fours and plywood to flashlights, made it well-placed to meet the unique needs of the island’s population.

The pandemic also brought significant challenges to the global supply chain, causing material delays and price spikes. Gorham’s, however, navigated these challenges adeptly, adapting its operations to ensure a steady supply of essential building materials. The company’s proactive approach has also extended to addressing the skilled labor crisis, exacerbated by the post-pandemic impact on the labor market. Gorham’s innovative strategy continues to reposition retail as a desirable profession, offering growth and excitement and encouraging career progression within the company.

2024 and Beyond

Looking ahead to 2024, Gorham’s is poised for an exciting year filled with promising initiatives and a return to a rapidly advancing retail environment. Plans include expanding the lumber shed store, a complete remerchandising exercise, and implementing an Epicor retail ERP system. These efforts, coupled with partnerships with key suppliers like Ace Hardware, Putnam Lumber, BlueLinx, Jeld-Wen, and Quikrete, position Gorham’s for continued success.

Gorham’s outlook for the future is optimistic. The post-COVID market continues to present new opportunities for refinement and efficiency in business operations. The company’s commitment to employee training and changing mindsets about retail work further solidifies its position as a forward-thinking leader. With no significant global disruptions anticipated, 2024 is expected to be a milestone year, not just for Gorham’s but for the worldwide economy. Gorham’s stands ready to embrace these opportunities, continuing its legacy of excellence and innovation in the Caribbean’s construction and home improvement sectors.

AT A GLANCE

Gorham’s Limited

What: A comprehensive home center and hardware store offering a wide range of products for home improvement, construction, and DIY projects.

Where: Pembroke, Bermuda

Website: https://gorhams.bm

PREFERRED VENDORS

The Hillman Group – www.hillmangroup.com

Putnam Lumber – www.putnamlumber.com

January 2024 cover of Business View Caribbean
January 2024

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