"Heart-driven" Roofers Supply collects cash, coats, food for needy.
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Work gloves, nails and shingles line the shoulder-height shelves of Roofers Supply.
But the shop has a cozier feel than the 25-foot shelves lining the gaping warehouses of its regional and national competitors. Customers and co-workers alike answer to nicknames. People greet each other with hugs instead of handshakes. And part of the shop is dominated by a Christmas tree surrounded by cans of food, ready to be delivered to the Utah Food Bank.
"This is a heart-driven company," said Stephanie Pappas, chief financial officer and director of administration.
That motivation is evident in interactions throughout the store, and it's expressed each year in the $120,000 of charitable donations the family-owned, local company makes to community members and local charities.
Each holiday season, Roofers Supply orders about 1,100 hoodies for its annual Roofers Supply Gift In Coats and Cans Drive. Anyone who brings cans of food, a coat or $10 in cash receives a hoodie. So far this winter, the company has given out 1,000 of them. In years past, the company has collected as much as 26,000 pounds of food. Last year, the company collected $13,000 in cash donations and 2,500 pounds of food.
The Utah Food Bank has the ability to get $8 worth of food for every dollar donated, so Roofers Supply began focusing on cash donations to increase the impact of the Gift In.
"Everyone wins. Donors get a hoodie, the food bank gets donations and we get to feel good about giving back to our community," Pappas said.
One hundred percent of all the year's proceeds go to charities, such as the Rape Recovery Center, Best Friends Animal Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and the Utah Food Bank.
Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank chief development offer, says Roofers Supply's donations have meant nearly 94,000 meals for the one in six Utahns who don't know where their next meal will come from.
"Their commitment to our mission starts at the top of the organization with owners and management, and aside from their passion, their success is driven in large part to by engaging everyone they do business with in creative ways," Bott said. "Seeing a locally owned company do so much good for people in their own community is truly inspiring, and Utah Food Bank staff and volunteers, along with the people we serve, are eternally grateful."
Roofers Supply will celebrate its 20th year of doing business in April, and the four siblings who run it always have prioritized donating back to the community.
"When you can be of service to people it's humbling," said Pappas, her eyes welling with emotion. "We have a responsibility to our market and to our community, and with that comes a lot of humility."
The siblings started the company because their father had once owned a roofing supply store, and Dino Pappas had continued working for that business. When the land leases expired, four of the Pappas siblings Dino, Stephanie, John and George came together and purchased the land in Ogden at 120 W. 21st Street and in Salt Lake City, 3359 S. 500 West.
"We had six people, a couple of trucks, and we hit the ground running," Stephanie Pappas said of the business's 1994 start.
The company rode the wave of construction, opening up locations in Lindon, Cedar City and St. George. The doors are open to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers, but the main client base is roofing contractors, Stephanie Pappas said.
At one point, the company employed 120 people, but they were hit like everyone else when the economy soured. They now have 80 employees.
"We work a lot smarter now," said Holly Henrie, director of human resources and safety.
But even when times got tough for the business, the Pappas family made sure they still contributed to the community.
"It was something we were committed to, even though it was harder for us to do," Stephanie Pappas said. "We realized that when things get rough for a company, they're even harder for individuals. So we dug our heels in and said, 'We're going to do this.' "
In addition to the holiday drive, the company hosts a summer food drive and a golf tournament with proceeds going to charity, provides a scholarship and provides free meals once a month during June, July, August and September and before Thanksgiving for employees, customers and the public. Each summer "Taco Tuesday" costs about $5,000 to put on and the Turkey Bite is about $10,000.
The owners also take care of their own, offering free flu shots for employees and their families.
The company's statement emphasizes four core values that everyone must have: honesty, integrity, trust and mutual respect.
"Every employee and owner lives it," Henrie said. "It's not just lip service."
That has paid off for the company, which now has the largest market share in the state for roofing supplies, and it's the only roofing supply company of its size in Utah. The company and the people who run it have been recognized by local and national entities for their business savvy, but the Pappas family has never forgotten where they come from.
"We are based here, we're tied here, we have our roots here," Stephanie Pappas said. "We're always looking for ways to give back to the community."