DALTON, Mass. — L.P. Adams Co., Inc. is the oldest continuing retail business in the town of Dalton, having built its legacy on such old-fashioned concepts as friendly service, honest value and quality workmanship.

But along with those turn-of-the-century qualities are a thoroughly modern approach to taking care of customers: providing supplies that they need in stock (or the ability to get them quickly), featuring skilled, experienced employees and rising above many competitors with electronic paths for customers to access inventory and to pay their bills.

L.P. Adams is a family owned and operated business, with members of its seventh generation working there today. Most employees have been at L.P. Adams for at least 25 years, one for more than 50 years.

The common phrase may be “one-stop shopping,” but the family at L.P. Adams considers clients more than simply shoppers focused on quality, offering them extras such as customization, wood-shop delivery and professionals who are there to give advice along the way about any project.

When someone walks into the building, he or she is greeted by the front desk staff, who helps the customer find the appropriate department or equipment.

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, L.P. Adams became well-known for “prompt and capable service in everything pertaining to grain, flour, feeds, poultry supplies, coal and mason supplies.”

But as times changed, so did the company.

In 2011, L.P. Adams introduced an electronic billing system that enables it to electronically invoice customers by either email or fax immediately at the point of sale.

Having customers from New York or Boston with second homes in the Berkshires means they need to know that they’re in good hands with a company that looks out for them.

And earlier in this century L.P. Adams added another 10,000 square feet of space to enclose its ever-growing inventory. By the summer of 2013, the inside space was increased by another 17,000 square feet, so all materials could be stored away from the elements. The company now has a combined indoor storage capacity of nearly 52,000 square feet.

Home-improvement growth

Part of that expansion was created by a housing boom that started early in this century. Many homeowners were moving toward larger and more expensive home-improvement projects, and that momentum hasn’t stopped.

Annual increases in homeowners’ spending on improvement and maintenance are projected to accelerate in the second half of 2021 and remain elevated through mid-year 2022, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity released earlier this year by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, which projects annual growth rates of 8.6% by the second quarter of next year.

“Home remodeling will likely grow at a faster pace given the ongoing strength of home sales, house price appreciation, and new residential construction activity,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “A significant rise in permits for home improvements also indicates that owners are continuing to invest in bigger discretionary and replacement projects.”

Home Improvement Research Institute, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to home improvement research, recently released a report showing that do-it-yourself remains the most common project method, as 68% of the respondents in its survey said they are completing projects themselves.

And for the do-it-yourselfer, L.P. Adams offers professional advice and vendor-produced how-to videos to show exactly how a product is supposed to be installed.

Hardware and tools are some of the most in-demand items sought by L.P. Adams’ customers. But other big drivers are seasonal purchases such as pellets in the winter; decking, paint/stain and fixtures and materials for kitchen and bathroom remodels in the spring; and large projects such as replacing windows, doors, siding and roofs which are more prevalent in summer are always big drivers.

Everyone is experiencing supply-chain issues right now, but L.P. Adams has long relationships and personal connections with vendors, so its staff is able to communicate with them directly.

Environmentally conscious

With more than a century in the same community, L.P. Adams also believes in being a good neighbor.

In the late 2000s, the company eliminated more than 65 tons of waste that was bound for landfills with many successful recycling efforts and has maintained this reduction with the recycling of cardboard, paper, bottles/cans, several metals and clean drywall. L.P. Adams also recycles all its waste oil from the maintenance garage; properly exchanges all used automotive batteries and properly handles all fluorescent light bulbs.

L.P. Adams also donates to Habitat for Humanity Restore items that have been incorrectly ordered, damaged or, in some instances, used building materials that would otherwise be landfill bound. Habitat for Humanity resells these items to generate funding for current projects and/or uses them directly.