Founded in 2015 as a regional supplier, Metal Wholesale LLC now sells metal roofing
components to lumberyards in eight states throughout the Midwest. CEO Wilson Weiler commented on the
company's growth: “We started up in October of 2015 and it just kind of grew from there. We started out just
local in the surrounding area, in the surrounding counties, and grew on that.”
To supply customers in a timely fashion, Metal Wholesale currently operates two
manufacturing facilities, with a third to come online soon. The original location (and company headquarters)
is located in Bloomfield, Iowa. The second location, which opened in 2020, is in Charles City, Iowa. “We're
opening a third location in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 2022,” said Wilson.
Metal Wholesale's business model factors into their growth; they stay focused on their
customers — lumber yards. Maintaining that focus is extremely important.
Retail vs. Wholesale
While in the business planning stage, prospective roll formers need to determine who your
customers will be. That is, whether you will sell retail or wholesale. “You need to know what you're trying
to accomplish and go for it,” advised Wilson. Retail vs. wholesale - each has its pros and cons.
Roll formers who sell retail can sell to anyone, including builders, roofers, and
Since they sell directly to the end-user, they have more wiggle room when setting prices.
“Someone that's selling retail has a bigger margin to navigate through because they don't have to make sure
their dealer gets a pay margin or profit out of it,” said Wilson.
On the flip side, some things are more challenging with retail. For example, retailers may
have to spend more time with each customer to make the sale, whereas wholesalers develop a relationship with
a lumberyard, and they call when they need an order, which is more simple than a retail order would be.
Roll formers who decide to sell wholesale need to stick to selling wholesale. Comparing
retail to wholesale, Wilson said one isn't necessarily better than the other, “but trying to do both is a
mistake. If you try to sell wholesale to a lumberyard, and sell retail to a builder, you're competing
against your customer because you're selling to your customer's customer. You control the profit of your
customer and that's not a good relationship. And businesses are built or torn away on relationships.”
Speaking of relationships, to assure they get the coil they need, they've developed
relationships with several suppliers. Of recent supply issues, Wilson said, “It became more of a critical
thing here in the last two years because availability has been an issue. It goes back to the relationship
side of things. You need to have good relationships to get product.” He also points out you need to maintain
solid relationships with your customers, so they remain loyal to you in volatile times, as well.