Mar. 3, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A global pandemic followed by a supply chain crisis was not enough to prevent a female business owner in Queens from expanding during the recent economic downturn.
City Lumber, a construction supply company that has provided materials to facilitate major construction projects such as the Hudson Yards, recently moved its entire operation to Glendale during the pandemic under its female leadership—business owner Bonnie Spodek.
Spodek, 60, relocated the company to Glendale in September, needing extra space to sell the company’s vast array of materials such as drywall, lumber, plywood, insulation, interior steel framing and acoustic ceiling panels. The company sells its products to commercial businesses as well as homeowners undertaking DIY projects.
The company now has a 105,000 square foot space at 84-02 72nd Drive. City Lumber had been operating out of a 40,000 square foot space on 31st Street in Long Island City for 25 years.
Under her leadership, the company has grown, and she is determined to meet the needs of an expansive list of customers. Her stewardship helped City Lumber secure contracts to provide supplies that have been used for projects at La Guardia Airport, Moynihan Station and the Museum of Natural History.
The company’s business has managed to thrive, with Spodek needing to add employees during the pandemic– going from 33 staff members to 38.
Despite some initial bumps when COVID-19 broke out, business remains strong and is growing once again.
“We had been looking to move for the last five years and we were lucky to withstand the pandemic,” Spodek said. “We struggled to find a suitable location, until this phenomenal space came along.”
Spodek, who is from Long Island, took the reins of the company about 7 years ago. She runs the company—which is a nationally certified women-owned business— with the help of her husband, Jason, as well as their two sons Chad and David.
The company’s Glendale location is expansive, consisting of a warehouse, an office building and a large yard area.
Bonnie said that the space has proven vital in meeting the challenges of the supply chain crisis in recent months.
For instance, the expansive warehouse now allows the company to stock a large amount of inventory, which acts as a buffer against supply disruptions and delays. The warehouse also enables them to get materials in bulk and sell them to customers at a better price.
“We can buy materials for less and have the room to store them – and are then able to sell them at a competitive price, which is better for us and everyone,” Spodek said.
The company is now selling its competitively priced inventory to small contractors and homeowners. They have built a showroom to display their goods, and customers have ample space on site for parking.
In addition to the greater warehouse space and showroom, the company’s new premises has four loading bays, whereas the Long Island City location had none. The new space has allowed them to streamline their operations too, since their drivers are better able to maneuver vans, box trucks, boom trucks and tractor-trailers.
The drivers previously had to park their vehicles along 31st Street in Long Island City where they would load and unload materials. It proved problematic to its operations.
Spodek said she is proud that City Lumber was able to stay open throughout the pandemic. She said her success can be attributed, in part, to her passion for supplying high-quality materials. She said it pleases her knowing that the company plays a role in the development of New York City.
“We are helping to beautify the city, La Guardia Airport is spectacular now and we played a part in that,” Spodek said. “There is something really gratifying about all of it, these are major projects.”
Homeowners and small contractors are able to buy City Lumber’s materials and have them delivered to their door. The materials can also be stored on site.
“We are open to the public and can deliver our materials with a personalized service,” Jason Spodek said.
City Lumber also offers customers a range of power tools from top brands like DeWalt and Milwaukee, as well as hand tools and other accessories. The company also stocks protective materials such as Masonite and hardboard.
Opening hours are from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.