WHO IS THE ENDURING CO-FOUNDER OF RICHARDS SUPPLY COMPANY?
A first-generation Polish immigrant in Chicago – with U.S. Air Force service during Vietnam and prior work experience at the Chicago roofing and siding distributor Logan-Long – Mr. Guzior credits his many successes and blessings to God and to the opportunities and obligations inherent in the American Dream.
“In American history, much has been said and written about ‘self-made’ men and women,” he says. “Well – I, like so many of my customers – am one. All of us understand and desire to work for the American Dream, provide for our families, and stand behind our work with pride. We believe that hard work, honest labor, and each other’s complementary abilities and strengths will help us succeed together.”
With minimal formal education and little business experience, Mr. Guzior joined Logan-Long, starting at the bottom in shipping. He worked long hours, learned the business top to bottom, earned promotions – and had an epiphany:
“Take care of your customers and they will keep coming back.”
That was the start of a life-long customer loyalty base.
In 1978, after his employer was forced to sell, he partnered with business associate Richard Sawilchik to launch Richards Building Supply Company. The two Richards divided their duties: Richard J. Guzior took charge of sales and operations, while Richard Sawilchik assumed the accounting and credit duties. In 1986, Richard J. Guzior bought out his partner.
Our original location in Chicago (111th St.) is still in operation today.
By then – through working unimaginable hours in those early years, through raising the bar to deliver a signature quality level of service to customers — Richards Building Supply Company had attained success.
But initial success, if not perpetuated by innovation and growth, soon atrophies. The Guziors – husband Richard and wife Christine, with their young family of seven children — took a giant risk in buying out Richard’s partner.
“It’s inescapable; if you’re not growing, you’re at risk of dying,” Richard stresses.
Since 1986, Richards Building Supply Company has expanded from eight locations to 60 across 13 states. Today, as the Guziors had long planned, all seven of their adult children now have business roles within the company. The company full well intends to continue growing, evolving and serving its customers for generations to come.
And……Richard J. Guzior’s role going forward? In 2004, he began his own informal, orderly transition toward retiring and pursuing his passion for philanthropy of basic human needs.
“Yes, Richards Building Supply Company helps build homes,” he says. “But we also are striving to build and expand long-term relationships with our customers, employees and vendors. We take this role very seriously. Not only are we supplying dependable products and services, we are helping our customers build the future means to produce, to fulfill aspirations, to nurture families and new enterprises.”
He sums up, “When we can help you grow your business, then we can grow together!