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Meet Lawrence Hobbs of Brent-Wood Products in South Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lawrence Hobbs.

Lawrence, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Brent-Wood Products was founded in 1963, originally the principals wanted to restore and refurbish commercial and residential real estate in the greater Los Angeles area. After 1 year the principals split up and the Brent-Wood group went on to begin manufacture of home furniture products. Along the way the company also diversified into industrial crating and building cable reels. Over the next decade much of the furniture side of the business began to move out of state or off shore and the crating and industrial packaging side of the business showed promise. in 1971 Bengt Olin purchased the company and completed the liquidation of the furniture side of the business and began building the industrial products. In 2008 Bengt’s daughter Anna Olin became President and began looking for ways to again add diversity to Brent-Wood. I, (Lawrence Hobbs) held the position of Sales Manager which included responsibilities for new business development. As I was shopping for a new dog house for my puppy, it came to me that there was little selection to choose from in regards to large, well-built dog homes. Looking at the materials used for our industrial products and always on the lookout for a better method to process or for handling our down fall, the light went on and the idea was born to up cycle our down fall into a design for pet homes and pet products. In 2013 Ms. Olin passed away suddenly and Bengt Olin asked me to step in and purchase the company to insure its continuation. I made a commitment to Ms. Olin that I would build upon her ideas and continue to follow her passion for Brent-Wood’s future. Working with Roberto Mercado and Ricardo Villalobos, 35 years, and 12 years respectfully, Brent-Wood employees, we designed and build the platform on which our Standard Bow Wow Dog House is built today. With well over 3,000 pet homes built to date, we are continuing to challenge the design and construction methods we originally started with. We are currently working with a range of materials that are stronger, better suited for pet homes and have a positive environmental impact. We also inspire to keep our Bow Wow Dog Houses 100% American made, and utilize materials sourced through environmentally conscious programs. Grow Build Love!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The challenge we faced in the beginning was to come up with a proven design. The roof structure became the biggest challenge in the beginning, and still remains a challenge today in any new design. The roof is vital to having a secure structure that holds up well under the elements. In the design process we attempt to utilize materials that can be up cycled or repurposed for a particular design. Additionally, we also find challenge in resourcing materials that are nontoxic, maintain ascetic appeal, and are resourced from environmentally sound programs. Our design platform is modular and allows the pet owner the opportunity to design a home that fits their particular pet and their climate. This platform also allows us to manufacture sub-assemblies and to utilizing up cycled materials from our industrial products, this practice aids with keeping basic construction costs at a minimum. Keeping basic costs down is an ongoing challenge.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Brent-Wood Products, Inc. – what should we know?
I began working in the industry in 1985, our primary customer base is serving wire and cable manufacture and wholesale distribution. There were 11 companies in the western US at that time that also provided similar products, wood and plywood cable reels. Today there are 3 of us, yet we are the only independent company remaining. We have over the past 15 years worked diligently with our customers to develop recycle streams for our products and to provide a wide range of value added services to our product offering. We use this approach in all new business development and projects internally, and in our attempt to become a zero-waste company. As an independent standalone company, our mission is centered on customer, employee unification. Building those relationships is vital to our continued success. The competitive environment of business today is set aside in our first thought, our approach is to focus on what is right for our customer employee relationship. We pride ourselves in offering our customers full support from design consultation, inventory management programs and product environmental assistance.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so –who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.

Ms. Olin deserves so much of the credit for where we are today as a company. She was and continues to be our source of inspiration. Bengt Olin’s back ground was in finance and he navigated Brent-Wood for over 40 years. Much of his business finance principals are still at work today within our organization. Our employees with a core of 6 that have over 25 years with Brent-Wood, led by Roberto Mercado 39 years with Brent-Wood production offering a value of loyalty and trust to the company that cannot be measured with dollars. Our younger group of employees, many of which have over 10 years of continued service and their commitment to continuing our success. Our customers, without our valued customers we’d just be whittling. Our vendors, many of whom have been providing Brent-Wood with products and services for over 40 years. Dave Ferraro with Carries Reels of Rutland, Vermont. I was employed with Carries Reels from 1995-1999 and reported directly to Dave. Carries was in the process of becoming an employee owned company at the time, and Dave was foundational in mentoring me in sales within our industry. Now Dave is President of Carries Reels and continues to be a source of inspiration to me. My father Stan Hobbs. He was a business owner, product developer, sales and production guru within the leather products industry for over 35 years. I owe most of what I learned foundationally from him. My children. They work with me in the company and continue to inspire and motivate me with their ideas, their love and support. Ricardo Villalobos. As CFO and side kick. I might not have been able to endure the past 4 years without his devotion and humor.

Pricing:

  • Our dog home products start at $250.00

Contact Info:

 

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