The Best in the Business
The business was founded 118 years ago and incorporated in 1909 by Smith G. Young, Frank L. Young and John Daley. Besides building supplies, they also sold hay and feed. Over the years, the business had many owners. In 1978, it was purchased by Robert Condon. After his death, his sister, Joanne Battley, inherited the business and became chairman of the board while her husband, Dale Battley, became president. When they retired, their daughter and current President Lori Williams took over management of the company along with her sister, Joan Battley Finken, and current Vice President Dennis Reinhart. Joan Finken passed away in 2011.
According to Lori Williams, “We’ve been at this same location since the company was founded, but my husband, architect Brad Williams, designed a renovation of the facility in 1996, so it looks very different. The renovation and expansion have given us lots more space for an extensive showroom.
“Our showroom is designed to show people what all the options are as they think about what they want to do in building a new space or enhancing what’s already there. We work with contractors and builders as well as with individual homeowners.”
Looking around at all the possibilities in the showroom, it’s impossible not to start imagining just how this fireplace, that outdoor living space or any of the beautiful floors, finishes and façades might look in one’s own home. Besides the dizzying array of available materials, the showroom includes 10 working fireplaces and five working stoves as well as numerous displays of outdoor kitchens and living spaces.
“We try to keep the latest and greatest on display in the showroom,” Williams says. “Of course, we also stock the best of what’s been around for a while, too. We carry brand names that have a good reputation for high standards. You won’t find that in big box stores. Only the highest quality will do for us. We know, and the people who shop here know, that we have the best. We get some people in who know exactly what they want, while others look to us for guidance as they move forward on their project. We have a lot of professional clients: interior designers, landscapers and landscape architects and designers, builders. And then we have those nonprofessional customers who are interested in enhancing their own homes in some way.
“Over time, and with the renovation of our own building, we have evolved into more of a retail setting, a hearth-and-home store. It’s essentially a one-stop shop. You can come here and design your whole project, using the materials available right here. You can buy flooring and tile here as well as custom finishes to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, design a total outdoor living space, create or restructure a fireplace—the options are limitless.”
For items not available in the store, like appliances and bathroom fixtures, Young Bros. & Daley partner with local businesses.
“With the advent of the Internet and HGTV, people are becoming aware that there are so many options out there, and they are looking to businesses like us who can show them all the different choices,” Williams says. “Builders and contractors will send their customers here to pick out what they want, and people who are remodeling or renovating seek us out as well. We work closely with those builders who send their customers to us. We get their blueprints and layouts and figure everything out for them. Anyone who comes in here, even if they come in with just a picture of what they want, will get that same service.”
While they do not do installations themselves, they have a complete list of recommended artisans. They also maintain a catalog of the top builders, landscapers and designers. As Williams says, “When you’ve been in the business as long as we have, you learn who’s the best!”
With recent dips in new and existing home sales, consumers are interested in improving their current homes. When people are less apt to move to a different home, they look to ways of making their home better. Williams says, “Our customers are looking at things like finishing off a basement that’s never been done, creating an outdoor living space, updating the outside of the house. A few years ago, people were more apt to think about selling and moving up. They still want to move up, so to speak, but they’re doing it in their current homes.”
Young Bros. & Daley doesn’t do a lot of advertising. They depend on word of mouth and repeat business. They also participate in home shows, live radio spots and other methods of getting the word out. And, according to Williams, they continue to do well, despite recent economic woes in the region and state.
Young Bros. & Daley pride themselves on their insistence, whenever possible, of using materials native to or manufactured in-state as well as looking for the most green and energy-efficient products available. There is a trend to the more natural rather than manufactured products. According to Williams, there are finally tiles and stone products being made that can withstand Michigan winters. And with the HGTV-driven desire for outdoor living spaces and curb appeal, that’s a plus for those in the snowy north.
In terms of that all-important curb appeal, Williams suggests paving stones, retaining walls or even something as simple and inexpensive as setting off landscaping with the addition of some stone or brick features.
Visit the website; visit the showroom; talk to Lori and Dennis Williams or any other of their expert employees and your project can be reality by spring.
Young Bros. & Daley
Lori Williams, General Manager
720 E. Michigan Ave.