Meet our December Vendor Western Building Products. Western Building Products Inc. is one of the largest distributors of millwork products in the Midwest. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Western employs 200 people in three facilities with over 430,000 square feet in office, warehouse, and production space.
Western is proud to provide world-class quality millwork products and services together with outstanding customer service to residential construction, commercial, and remodeling markets.
History of the company:
We started business in 1946 and leased our first warehouse space the following year; a former pickle factory, to use in the distribution of mouldings. Over the coming decade, we grew rapidly into a full-line Millwork Jobber and soon became the largest distributor of “Quality-Built” millwork in the United States. In 1973, the Andersen Corporation selected Western as their new Milwaukee Distributor and we continue to distribute their window products to this day.
In 1983, Western became 100% employee owned through its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) affording employees an interest in the company. The following year our company rebranded to Western Building Products, Inc. to better reflect the broader range of products being offered.
After 70 plus years, we continue to serve an ever-expanding customer base in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, delivering quality building products on time and error-free. In 2021, Western will be moving into a new facility with state-of-the-art door picking and prefinishing capabilities.
What products do you offer?
We pride ourselves on the quality of the products carried and the manufacturers we choose to work with. With the broadest array of millwork products anywhere, including a wide assortment of mouldings, stair parts, windows, columns, an extensive offering of interior, and fire-rated doors, builders are sure to find the appropriate product and the look homeowners want. Western offers a variety of designs and wood species, with value-added prefinishing and painting services.
In addition, we brand and sell our own exterior door systems, combining the best available sill and frame components with name brand wood, steel or fiberglass doors, sidelights and transoms, affordably priced and backed by the best warranty in the industry. Almost unlimited entry door system choices are available with factory finishing options in paint and stain, and a wide selection of decorative glass and modern privacy glass options.
What sets Western apart in the industry?
One of the core differences about us is the buy-in employees have in the mission of the company, thanks in large part to being employee-owned. With nearly 75 years in business, Western has the experience and know-how to deliver millwork products with value-added services like pre-hanging and pre-finishing. Another thing that sets us apart is our sister company, GlobalPointe, that specs and imports high quality doors providing economy of scale and breadth. In an increasingly competitive market, this gives us a true edge over the competition and results in more choice and quality to homeowners.
What are the top trends for door right now?
Western’s True White prefinishing program continues to outperform other categories with homeowners and designers gravitating toward the bright, clean look it affords living spaces. Dark stained Poplar doors and trim have gained momentum in recent years too. Traditional hardwoods like Oak and Maple remain in the mix with modest bumps as a subset of homeowners demand high-quality and authenticity in the millwork package of their home. Nevertheless, the painted white trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
How do you see door styles changing in the next couple of years?
There’s been a resurgence in shaker style doors like the 3-panel “Craftsman 591” as it’s called in the industry, with clean lines in its 90-degree sticking profile. Additionally, we lead the market with a line of stile and rail primed raised panel doors called the Levante series. No other 2-step distributor offers anything like it. Levante offers the high-quality construction and performance of a wood door, at an unbeatable price point. The name Levante derives from Spanish meaning “to raise” or “elevate” as seen in its raised paneling and unique value proposition.
What is a key tip or hack when it comes to picking out doors?
Doors need not be an afterthought in designing a home especially given that they occupy a tremendous amount of square footage and are interacted with countless times daily. Before even talking about style, consider construction by giving your door a knock and feel the difference between hollow core and solid core molded doors versus stile and rail. It may seem like a small thing, but it makes a real difference. Now with our affordable Levante series, one need not make design tradeoffs as you can get the raised panel look of molded doors now in high quality stile and rail construction. Another tip is to pick either matching trim or go for bold contrast (e.g. dark espresso stained Poplar doors with white trim). Ranch style mouldings seem to have fallen out of favor with designers and the latest generation of homebuyers. Instead, Round Edge or “eased edge” mouldings versus the more ornate Colonial style trim are seeing an uptick. However, there are no “rules” when it comes to selecting door styles and trim as it comes down to personal preference.
Why should someone go with Western?
When you choose Western, you’re partnering with real people who care. You’re supporting local businesses working together when you choose Western and Wausau Homes, creating value greater than the sum of its parts. Big Box stores don’t offer the same caliber of products or value-added service. From the initial steps in selection and consultation to final delivery of the product, this partnership offers more value, period. We offer products that stand up to what life throws at it and stand behind our products too.