Today I finished installing the roof of the future coop. For the rafters I used 2″x6″x12 ft kiln dried wood, not pressure treated; for the purlins I used 2″x4″ pressure treated, and for the roofing 2ft x12ft galvanized steel crimp roof panels. I painted with exterior enamel paint those parts of the rafters which would be exposed to either rain or carpenter bees.
I deliberated long on how to transport the 12 ft lengths of wood and roof panels. My pickup has a 6 ft bed so either I would have had 6 ft hanging out the back of the truck, or I could have slanted it over the cab, but I was concerned I would further scratch and dent the cab roof (not the first time I have transported 12 ft lengths of material) and that the roof panels could buckle from wind pressure as I was driving. So I thought I might rent a truck from one of the two big box DIY chains.
I priced the materials at both chains and they were identical and, to my mind, expensive. So I thought I would visit a local family owned builder supply store. There used to be two such stores within 15 miles of my property and both were dependent on building contractors for their business. And then one, which have been operating for over 80 years, closed down in 2009. So I visited the remaining store. They were very friendly and said they would ship the lumber and roof panels to my property for a $20 delivery charge. An even bigger surprise was their prices – the lumber was about 3% less than the price at the big chains and the roof panels were 20% less. And they were so knowledgeable and helpful! I decided to make additional purchases at their store and all the prices were competitive.
Which brings me back to my heading – where possible we should support the little guys, not because we want to be nice or considerate but because it is in our own self interest to do so. We benefit from the price competition which whittles out the independents but, once they are gone through either liquidation or consolidation, and there are just a few big operators left, as is happening with the airlines, the telecom industry, the banks, the consumer retail stores etc. etc. then we become the victims as the few remaining competitors abandon price competition and gradually price up. So, support the little guy when you can.