Giles Builders Supply closes door in bad economy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Giles Builders Supply closes door in bad economy

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Another troubling sign of the bad economy, a well known Albany building supply business has closed its doors after 52 years.

Giles Builders Supply closed the first of July, ending a half century era as a staple for contractors.

Giles Builders Supply has been at the corner of Pine and Cleveland longer than most people in Albany can remember, opening in 1957. But the recession, with almost no building going on in South Georgia, and competition from big suppliers like Lowe's and Home Depot, was too much for the family owned business. And many contractors say it's a sad sign of the times.

The Giles Builders Supply building sits empty after owners Phillip and David Giles decided they had to close the business their father Gordon helped found, and builders like Lambert Suess were shocked. He has built homes since 1960, always relied on Giles for building supplies.

Suess said "It was unexpected. I didn't think they would ever shut down."

Robert Kinney has been in construction 36 years. "Giles has been in business for, ever since I've been in the business. It's good to do business with local people," he said.

Andy Cooper's construction business is a second generation family operation, and also good friends with the Giles.

"They have been an institution in Southwest Georgia, and Albany in particular. I used them for about 90 percent of my building supplies." he said.

But the closing of Giles shows just how seriously the recession has hit the construction industry in South Georgia, causing many builders to go broke.

 "That contributed some to Giles decision to close the business, because quite honestly they didn't get paid on some of their accounts receivable," Cooper said.

Builders like buying their supplies from people they know and trust, but many say they are afraid the big box building supply super stores have taken over the market.

"We need small suppliers too. We don't need all big suppliers," Suess said.

  "I think pretty much the local companies like Giles are a thing of the past. I don't think you'll see that anymore," Kinney said.

Phillip Giles said that the family is devastated by the closing. He said he grew up in that same store and it's the only job he has ever known. He said he doesn't have business plans for the future.

Builders say they hope to see improvement in the economy and more business soon.  Most said they hope some small business owners will step in to fill that family building supply void, but said that probably won't happen anytime soon.


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