Case Study: Fairhaven Lumber Co

Fairhaven Lumber Company is an independent, family-owned building material supplier serving Cape Cod, Boston and Rhode Island since 1951. Jimmy Kalife, son of founder James Kalife, joined the company in 1975 and now runs the business from their six-acre facility in Fairhaven, Mass. 

After weathering the recession, Jimmy decided that working with BlueTarp could help him focus more on company growth. Little did he realize that his decision would also open the door for the next generation to join the company.

"BlueTarp allows me to attract new customers and encourage existing customers to do more with us."

-Jimmy Kalife, Owner

photo of Jimm Kalife, owner of Fairhaven Lumber

Fairhaven Lumber secures long-term stability and growth:

  • More time to focus on customer service 
  • Reliable cash flow takes guesswork out of planning
  • Extended terms provide competitive advantage
  • Company stability and growth for next generation 

More time to focus on customer service

photo of samples of laminate sold at Fairhaven Lumber

 Jimmy likes to think of Fairhaven Lumber as the “Cheers” of lumberyards. The company prides itself on knowing its customers and their preferences—details that help Fairhaven Lumber  rovide a high level of service. Before BlueTarp, the time Jimmy and his staff were spending on collections was getting in the way of strengthening customer relationships. 

“There’s so much to do in a business to get it right, and customer service is priority number one for us,” says Jimmy. “If I can spend more time  listening to the needs of my customer rather than chasing money, that will lead to success.”

With BlueTarp handling collections, Jimmy and his in-house accounting team can now be more productive with customers. He appreciates the fact that he no longer has to make calls late at night to chase payments. Taking collections off his plate was just the beginning of how BlueTarp has helped Jimmy focus on growth. 

Predictable cash flow and extended terms transform business

BlueTarp has given Fairhaven Lumber two powerful tools to help grow the business: predictable cash flow and extended credit terms. Jimmy values the consistent, reliable cash flow—BlueTarp pays him for every sale twice a month. No longer a guessing game, he now knows exactly how his cash flow is going to run and can plan his payables with confidence. 

BlueTarp has also allowed Jimmy to offer 60-day credit terms to all his contractors—giving Fairhaven Lumber a unique advantage in a very competitive market. Extended terms have become a great perk for existing pro customers and have helped Jimmy attract new customers. He can also offer larger lines to select contractors, helping them go after bigger jobs and spend more with Fairhaven Lumber—all with protection from risk.

Creating opportunity for the next generation

Jimmy’s son John worked at Fairhaven Lumber during high school and between semesters while attending college and law school. His graduation coincided with BlueTarp coming on board, and both father and son say that change was a deciding factor in John joining the company. 

“Our partnership with BlueTarp definitely swayed my decision to join the business,” says John. “BlueTarp provides stability and more growth opportunity for the company, and gives us the confidence that we can make the sale rather than worrying about getting paid for the sale.” 

John is also impressed with the online tools that BlueTarp offers to contractors—as more people expect information to be available online. Pro customers can check the status of their accounts and make payments 24/7, as well as easily create invoices for their own customers. Best of all, these web tools require no technology investment or management by Fairhaven Lumber—BlueTarp handles it all.

“I’m really happy to say the third generation at Fairhaven Lumber is secure and that business is fun again, thanks to BlueTarp,” adds Jimmy. “For any independent dealer considering BlueTarp, I say go for it—it will be one of the best decisions you can make for your business.”


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