- Carly Hanson
All in the Family: Building with Preach Supply
There’s nothing quite like working with family. At Preach Building Supply, it’s been a vital ingredient to a successful business for decades. Preach sells an array of masonry and landscaping products across Arizona. The company is run by Phil Preach and four of his five children, and 49 family members have been involved since it began in 1972.
Preach Building Supply’s opening-day motto was, “everything for the journeyman and the do-it-yourselfer” and it continues serving a wide array of customers. “Preach works with architects, contractors, designers, and homeowners,” says Kim Abberton, Phil's daughter, and a vice president. Preach started out in Sunnyslope, added a landscape design center in north Phoenix at 9430 North 16th Street in 2002, and expanded to Buckeye in 2006.
At Preach, everyone has enthusiasm for building, but an even greater passion for people, whether they’re customers or fellow employees. Phil’s children attribute much of that culture to their father’s example. “He says good morning to every employee when he arrives at the Hatcher store [in Sunnyslope],” Abberton says. “Phil’s work-ethic motto is, ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.’"
Abberton describes Phil as not just the president and CFO of Preach, but every employee's confidant, whether they're family or not. "He inspires us all to do what is right, and he's our rock,” Abberton adds. “He is always there for any one of us.”
Entrepreneurship in the Preach family goes back five generations to Phil’s grandfather, Frederick, who owned a United Parcel Post and was involved in the Arizona Brewing Company, which made the famous A-1 beer, before opening Preach Hardware in Phoenix in the late 1940s. The business Phil runs today is inspired by Frederick and has thrived for many years.
"In the beginning, it was strictly a masonry line," says Robyn McDowell, Phil's daughter, and a former Preach employee. "We've expanded to include brick and stone veneers, as well as now catering to the landscapers, with decorative rock, boulders, flagstone, and pavers."
Preach Building Supply actually evolved from a company that Phil’s parents, Edward and Margaret, began in 1948 called EJ Preach Masonry on North 24th Street. Initially, the company was a custom home-building business, and later they built brick manholes for Arizona cities. After Edward died, Phil and his brother, Craig, continued to run the company with their mother.
After the loss of their property to new freeway construction, the Preach family moved the business to Sunnyslope at First Street and Dunlap Avenue in 1968. They operated at this address until relocating in 1991 to their present location at 1601 West Hatcher Road.
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This article originally appeared in the Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Sept/Oct 2019 issue, Vol. 8, No.5. The Arizona Contractor & Community magazine is a bi-monthly publication.