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THE YEAR WAS 1884, when S&F Sanford Company made its first sale in an old mill near the junction of Roaring Brook and Farmington River, in Unionville, Conn.

The sale may not have been particularly noteworthy, as there is no record of the item purchased, but, unwittingly, the sale began the tradition of doing business with the “Red Store on the Corner.” That tradition is still alive and well at Sanford & Hawley.

Sanford & Hawley is the oldest business in Farmington, Conn. owned by the same family at the same location. The Hawleys left the company years ago, but the Sanfords have survived the many obstacles that have been thrown their way. The company is now operated by brothers Bob, Frank, and Ted Sanford.

Despite the many years that have passed, the original “Red Store” hasn’t changed much. Employment has grown from four to around 100; horse-drawn wagons have been replaced by delivery trucks; many sheds and warehouses have grown along the brook; the same pitched roof is still there and perhaps most importantly, the same friendly country charm.

While the country charm keeps the company grounded as a pillar of its community, Bob Sanford said that his company’s use of Epicor BisTrack since 2009 has kept business operations focused on the future.

“It’s an extremely flexible and powerful software solution for building materials supply companies like ourselves,” he said. “It’s very easy for us to import and extract data.”

One of the big strengths of BisTrack, Sanford added, is the wealth of information and the ease of obtaining information. For instance, a delivery schedule is integrated with orders, which is integrated with GPS. Also, photos of product deliveries added to BisTrack make it easy for anyone to know where a customer’s order is from start to finish.

Frank Sanford credits the long-term success of Sanford & Hawley with being “in the right spot,” but adds that the down home atmosphere is credited for its survival. Many other changes need to be accredited to Sanford & Hawley’s success including hard work and determination, not only from the owners, but from the employees who are dedicated to their jobs and the customers.

Do you know of a Lumberyard or Building Materials distributor that has passed the century mark and should be added to this list?

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