Free Advice!

Help at adviceOne of the best things about Southside is that we share our knowledge with you for the asking – absolutely free. Our amazing sales staff has years and years of experience in every area of home improvement. We’ve been there done that, whether it be roofing, plumbing, installing floors, decorating, measuring for cabinets, or putting in a window.

For example…

Gary actually had his on flooring store for 30 years before he ‘retired’ and came to us. He sold and installed carpets, hardwoods, vinyl, and laminates. Ask him.

Israel has pretty much been installing cabinets all his life. He worked alongside his father when he was a child, which is where he gets his commitment to perfection!

Jeff was a roofer, before we offered him a job 20 years ago. He’s been here ever since. Jeff knows roofing up one side and down the other.

John has been in the building business for 65 or 70 years. He’s in the paint department most days, happy to help you.

Johnny’s been in the industry for 40 years. He and his father owned a doors business before he came to Southside. He’s now the manager for the lumber division, where they make doors.

And of course there’s Joe, our general manager. For 30 years Joe has been helping contractors get everything they need to build houses – from the fill dirt up to the shingles.

No matter who you run into at Southside, they have a wealth of information to share with you. Just ask. Free advice – just another one of the bargains on every aisle at Southside!

Hola Israel Mejia!

Israel MejiaWe are blessed to have a full staff of honorable employees at Southside Bargain Center – people like Israel Mejia. Israel is known to many of you because of his amazing people skills, and his eagerness to give you the customer what you want. But you may not know of his outstanding woodworking skills…or his fabulous life story.

When Israel Mejia was growing up in Mexico City, Mexico, he often helped his father and uncle build cabinets – an activity that their family saw as a hobby rather than a job. As a young man, Israel followed his heart from Mexico City to New Mexico, Texas, Michigan and eventually North Carolina.

The American dream may have beckoned him to the US, but it was old-fashioned hard work that paved the path to his success. Israel’s always shown a strong work ethic – whether it’s for building cabinets, cleaning milk machines on a dairy farm, babying chicks on a turkey farm, or working on a factory line for $6 per hour.

Today he jokes about how little he understood the English language when he first arrived to the country. During one interview for working on a turkey farm, he politely answered “yes” or “no” to the interview questions that the retired Army colonel asked him. Today, he laughs and says he wasn’t exactly sure of the meaning of all those questions.

At another time he was unsure of his language skills, his factory supervisor asked if he’d like to work at night. He was a bit concerned about exactly what that meant. Fortunately, a couple of ladies from Guatemala who worked there could translate and let him know that it was because the boss liked his work that she wanted to offer him a better paying job on the night shift. For a dollar more an hour, Israel would be responsible for preparing the lines for the day shift line workers.

The extra dollar per hour didn’t go very far; Israel desperately needed a car to get to work so he started a second job at the laundry in a local hotel. He would sleep in the morning after his factory work and wake up in time for his 2 pm job at the laundry.

Sometimes the very best jobs can almost slip through a person’s fingers. Israel had met another SBC employee, Augustine, through a mutual friend. Although he was interested in working for Southside, he asked just when someone else had been hired. Eventually Augustine let him know about another opening and introduced him to Joe Rogers who interviewed and hired him.

Israel started to doubt himself and wonder if he would make more money by going back to one of the farms in Michigan. Without telling anyone, he started planning and didn’t bother to show up for work at SBC for what should have been his first day. Once his family discovered what he was thinking, they asked him why he didn’t at least try working at SBC before he ruled it out.

On the next day, Israel showed up to see Joe Rogers and sheepishly said he missed work because he couldn’t find a sitter.

Joe wasn’t going to let him off the hook that easily. “You don’t have a telephone? You don’t know how to use a telephone and let us know what’s going on?”

Israel tried again. “Could I have another chance?”

“I don’t know.” And then Joe pulled a balled up piece of paper from the nearby trashcan. The piece of trash turned out to be Israel’s balled up application. Joe started to open up the paper and straighten it out again so he could read it one more time.

“One more chance” ended up being a good thing for Israel, Joe and everyone else at Southside. He worked hard and was promoted to assistant manager in the warehouse. All the skills he learned in two countries have come in handy.

He still enjoys building cabinets, meeting and helping people and doing a job well. The next time you’re at Southside, say hello to Israel. He can help you find what you’re looking for or show you how to get your next project started.

Meet Brad Abee

bradabe

If you’re shopping for building supplies at Southside Bargain Center, you may run into Brad Abee who has worked here since 1997.

When asked about what he does at Southside, Brad modestly replies, “a little bit of everything.” His typical work day can take him from one side of the warehouse to the other. (If you haven’t been to Southside Bargain Center, you might not realize that’s a lot of territory.)

On a given day, you might find Brad assisting a customer who needs a quote for a replacement door or demonstrating how to install what’s needed to protect a customer’s pipes.

That kind of interaction with the customer keeps him informed and up-to-date for another part of his job. Brad serves as a buyer for merchandise like plumbing and electrical goods, small hand tools, Gorilla glue products, and lawn and garden tools from wholesale distributors.

Brad likes the variety his job provides as well as the different people he meets. Before working at Southside, he served in the Army, spending three and a half years in Baumholder, Germany. He also worked in a marble shop and another shop that specialized in kitchen cabinets.

“A little bit of everything” would also be an accurate description of how Brad spends his leisure time. He bowls, plays softball in season, practices his aim with his Springfield 40 caliber on the shooting range and hits the gym to work out five or six times per week.

He and his wife Beth also stay busy providing a home for Shadow, Jazz, Fluffy, Luna and Misty. Some of the dogs (like Shadow, the lab and Jazz the lab/dingo mix) have been with Brad and Beth since they were puppies.

Then there’s Fluffy the friendly grey mutt with the shaggy sweet face that used to wander in and
out of Brad’s old neighborhood before he and Beth married. As Brad and Beth prepared to move into their new home, they agreed: “We’re not leaving Fluffy!”

Luna (the Labradoodle) and Misty (the Pitbull) are more recent rescues, with Misty finding her way to them – quite literally — this past July.

That’s when Beth found her wandering down the road, and despite Misty’s microchip and the help of their vet, they couldn’t find the original owner. Much to Misty’s satisfaction, she made her home with Brad and Beth – another happy ending for all.

The next time you’re in Southside looking for building supplies, ask for Brad. He’s very knowledgeable and can help you plan out your next project at a competitive price.

Meet Jeff Smith

Jeff SmithIf you have shopped at Southside Bargain Center for any length of time you are probably familiar with their low prices, great selection…and long time employee Jeff Smith. Jeff is a 20 plus year employee with Southside Bargain Center and as he says he has worked in “a little bit of everything”.

Smith was familiar with the area much before he started working at the establishment since he lives right down the road. He was friends with building owner Gordon Greene and often chatted about business on the ball field where both of their sons played t-ball.

Smith was working as a roofer and had occasionally done business with the store when Mr. Greene offered him a job at Southside. The rest is history. When he first began Smith worked in the “yard”, and for around 15 years he worked in the door department putting together and selling interior and exterior doors. He said he really enjoyed making doors, and he worked there so long he could make them in his sleep!

About seven years ago Smith moved across the road and began helping in the cabinets division. He, Brian Goodin, and general manager Joe Rogers are the only individuals left from over 20 years ago when he first started working at Southside.

In his free time, Smith loves fishing, hunting, and spending time with his four grandkids. The next time you stop in at Southside Bargain Center be sure to say hello to Jeff. After over 20 years he will likely be able to answer any of your questions about your next home improvement project!

Give a Kid a Coat!

give a kid a coat southside bargainSouthside Bargain Center is pleased to be the corporate sponsors for this year’s Give a Kid a Coat campaign. From October 10 – November 15, you can take your unused coats to any A Clearer World location. The coat will be cleaned, have minor repairs as necessary, and then be given to a kid in need.

It’s a simple, practical way to help make sure no child is standing cold at the bus stop. As the weather cools, we encourage you to go through your closets and donate coats and jackets you no longer need. You can also donate to the campaign directly at The Salvation Army website.

Thank you for helping!

Meet Cathie McCallum, Office Manager

cathie mccallum

Not everyone at Southside Bargain Center is front and center, although every single person at Southside is centrally important. A great case in point is Cathie McClallum. You’ll probably not run into Cathie on the sales floor because her role as office manager pulls her in a different direction. She laughingly admits that the only time she’s on the floor is long enough to cover for one of the guys to load something into a customer’s car.

If you ever saw her at work, you would quickly realize just how central she is to Southside. She’s the one who’s responsible for making sure people get paid, taking in funds, answering the phone, troubleshooting computer problems and quietly making sure that many things run smoothly.

Cathie has managed Southside’s office for seven years and compares the community at Southside to the small community of China Grove, NC where she grew up. “Everybody knows everybody!” For example, if her car needs some sort of repair, she can trust one of her co-workers or boss to recommend a garage that does good work for a reasonable price.

When Cathie isn’t working, she stays very busy driving her 14-year-old son to try-outs, practices or games for various sport teams. Basketball remains his favorite, and he’s currently playing point guard for a summer basketball league. The schedule runs right up to the start of school when he’ll turn his attention to another basketball league. Cathie is his biggest fan, but not just because she’s his mom. He’s really, really good!

Cathie and her son are both active in their China Grove church. This time of year they also spend time tending a small garden where they’ve planted strawberries, tomatoes, okra and several other vegetables and melons. Wave when you go past Cathie’s office! Now you know why she’s probably wearing sneakers behind the desk.

Employee Spotlight – Johnny Wagg

Johnny waggIf you’ve ever shopped for lumber, doors or building supplies at Southside Bargain Center, you’ve probably met Johnny Wagg. He might be behind the counter ringing up a customer – or he might be with a customer on the sales floor.

You’ll easily recognize him as the kind, knowledgeable gentleman who always takes excellent care of customers — one at a time. One reason he knows a lot about building supplies in general is that he’s worked with them for most of his adult life.

He and his father sold salvage building materials in a couple wings of the very same building when it was a flea market. When Gordon Green started a new building supply business in the current location, Johnny and his dad left and worked on other business endeavors. The two families have had business dealings in common for the past 40 years.

Twenty years later, Johnny has come full circle to work in the same place selling building supplies. When asked what his favorite thing about his job, Johnny said “I love people and getting to know the customers.”

Since Southside Bargain Center boasts a lot of return customers and business, Johnny learns and knows a lot of names. His business ethic is simple: “Everything we do is for the customer.”

During Johnny’s time away from his job, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 10-year-old twin boys. Maybe that’s where he learned the value of focusing on one individual at a time! He also volunteers a lot of his time with his church and their youth program. Given the opportunity, he loves to golf too.

When you see Johnny on the job, it’s obvious he enjoys his work. A recent case in point is a time when Brian was playing in a golf tournament and Brad was taking in a hardware show, leaving Johnny to take care of business.

“It was busy, but it was fun. I enjoyed it.” That statement succinctly sums up Johnny’s work philosophy. The next time you’re in Southside Bargain Center, walk over to the sections where building supplies are sold and say hello to our friend, Johnny. You never know when you might need to seek the advice of a building supply expert.

Meet Gordon Green, Owner and Founder of Southside Bargain Center

Born to a farming family in Churchland, NC, Gordon Green grew up with a strong work ethic. “From the time you’re 5 years old, you’re doing some kind of work.”

Young Gordon and his sister proved the point that some people work harder and faster than others. When they were 7 ad 8 years old, they were hired to help with the priming of tobacco from one of the local farms. They worked so efficiently that the farmer paid them the same rate as the adults.

At age 9, Gordon started his own business selling items like candy, sodas and nabs. At that time, all those items cost him 4 cents per piece, and he could sell them for 10 cents each. By the time he was 10 years old, his dad would drive him to the local finishing company on Sundays where workers would buy from them. One day, Gordon made $15 selling. This was at a time when a head of household might make $20 per week.

One hard lesson that Gordon learned was the time that all the chocolate he brought to sell on a hot summer day ended up melted and ruined. After that, Gordon made a point to consider “seeing the bumps around the curve that might occur.”

After serving in the Army Reserves, he was hired as a salesman by Lowes (which is now Lowes Home Improvement) the summer before he started school at Wake Forest. Maybe because Gordon was paying his own way, he remembers exactly what a semester cost: $500. That included tuition, 10 meals per week and a room.

At age 21, before he owned a car, he had already bought a 3-bedroom house. He rented out two bedrooms and collected $170 per month when his house payment was $100. By the time he was 27 years old, he owned 35 housing units.

In 1967, he formed GLG Corporation and consequently developed land, built houses and sold real estate. He tried his hand at various businesses: manufacturing, groceries and trucking, to name a few. Today, he says modestly, “A lot things didn’t work out.”

But a lot of things did! One business that continues to be successful is Southside Bargain Center. What started out as a salvage business has expanded to a business that includes not just overruns or seconds but first quality building supplies, carpet, laminate flooring and cabinets.

Gordon loves to tell how SBC saves customers money. One of his friends called him to let him know she’d gotten a quote for redoing her kitchen for $10,000. She wanted to know if the quote sounded reasonable. He invited her to come in and get a second quote with SBC – and they gave her a quote of $5,000. She ended up with a kitchen she loved at half the price.

As Gordon will tell you, Southside Bargain Center can save you a lot of money on major purchases when you’re ready to build or renovate. Come in and see for yourself.

Meet Joe Rogers, General Manager

Joe Rogers can tell you a thing or two about the history of Southside Bargain Center. He’s worked as general manager for 26 years. He started when it was called 109 Building Supply, and when the business was located only on one side of the street.

After a few years, they outgrew the space and expanded across the street where the cabinets and flooring now are. The building was built by GLG Corporation, which owns SSBC. It had been a popular spot for a huge flea market, and one of its biggest draws was that it was climate controlled – the only one like it in North Carolina.

When Joe started in the large, empty building, his office equipment was limited to a key, a desk and a cell phone. He had no lights and no racks for merchandise. He also had no employees. As he was hiring, he recognized that he needed bilingual help.

That’s when he met and hired Augustin who spoke both English and Spanish. Augustin and Joe have worked together and been good friends and business partners ever since.

Joe sold Augustin and his wife Dulce their first home. On the night Augustin’s first daughter, Sol, was born, Joe was at the hospital that night. And by the next day, her name and birth weight were written on the marquee outside Southside Bargain Center.

When Joe started at 109 Building Supply, lumber was already a big seller. Since Joe had expertise with selling cabinets and flooring, he started stocking and selling those products, too.
Initially they sold pine ‘paint grade’ cabinets from Texas. As freight charges kept increasing, he looked for other products and found a supplier who offered oak cabinets that were already stained, were better quality, and cost 20% less than the other cabinets. This savings was passed along to the customer.

The success with the cabinets led Joe to find bargains with even more building supplies, including the ever popular laminate floors, which has proven to be a huge favorite with Southside Bargain Center customers.

When Joe’s not busy at Southside helping customers, he likes to spend time with his daughter, Angela, son-in-law, Brian and two granddaughters, Isabel and Lucy. The youngest granddaughter, just adopted from Ethiopia is being introduced to her community gradually. Her immediate family has been busy cocooning, spending time alone with her to help her adjust. Joe got to spend extended time with them all this past weekend.

Joe is an active member of North Point Baptist Church, and is a Gideon. Joe has also played pool since he was 12 years old, playing tournaments in Las Vegas and other places. Six years ago, he started mid-week golf rounds with some of the guys he knows from church. Joe jokes “They’re guys who are nice enough not to laugh at me.”

Next time you’re in SBC, say hello to Joe. If you need product information or you’re looking for the right product for your next home improvement project, he can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

PS Joe comes from a large family, and his mom is one of his biggest fans. In fact, she was the 3000’s person to ‘like’ the Southside Bargain Center Facebook page. Thanks, mom!

 

 

Coming Home

eric williamsIn case you noticed one of the salesmen at Southside Bargain Center wearing long-sleeves or a jacket when everyone else is dressed for summer, let us reintroduce you.

Sgt. Eric Williams has just returned from National Guard duty in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt where temperatures can reach 120 degrees. So Eric is adjusting to temperatures that are roughly 40 degrees lower than what he’s used to.

Living on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea meant the humidity could be intense. At times, Eric would look out to the sea and see a thick haze just over the water. When he had time off, he also enjoyed snorkeling in the Red Sea and seeing colorful fish, jelly fish and manta rays.

One of the highlights of being stationed in Egypt is that on days off duty, he had the opportunity to travel to nearby Israel and see the Holy Land. Being in the Dead Sea was “Amazing. No matter how deep you go, you’re just sitting there.” said Eric. (With 33.7% salinity, the Dead Sea is nearly 10 times saltier than the ocean. Its density means that a person can easily float.)

If you see Eric at SBC, welcome him home. He serves with the North Carolina National Guard Unit out of High Point. His wife, son and daughter are glad to have him back – and so are we.

     While we make every effort to ensure accuracy, prices are subject to change without notice.