The Montavilla Jazz Festival (MJF) is pleased to announce that Mr. Plywood is a concert sponsor of the 2015 festival. We recently spoke with Mr. Plywood’s owner, Bret Branter, about his business, the Montavilla neighborhood, and MJF. This is what we learned:
Mr. Plywood is a retailer of building materials with a focus on building and remodeling materials for do-it-yourselfers.
Mr. Plywood opened its doors in 1963. Bret Branter, the current owner, started working at Mr. Plywood in 2002. In 2009, the owners approached Bret with an offer to sell the business to him. Though owning a business like Mr. Plywood was not something Bret had imagined for himself while growing up, the employees, vendors, and customers felt like family to him, so accepting the offer felt right.
This family feel is extended directly to the customers through what Bret describes as family-style customer service. The employees, whose knowledge of the industry Bret describes as “second to none,” are able to provide customers with an experience that is very unique in this time of big box stores and corporate chains. It is not unusual for the Mr. Plywood team to let customers know when a lower-priced product will serve them just as well, if not better, than the product being considered.
In addition to a strong focus on customer service, Mr. Plywood is unique in the number of locally sourced products it carries. A large number of Mr. Plywood’s vendors are from Portland, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Northern California.
The local economy is hugely important to Mr. Plywood. Bret talks about the community feeling that he gets from his customers and about the neighborhood taking care of the business. It is important to him to give back to the community to show how much he values that support.
The need to give back is just one reason Bret is sponsoring the festival for the second year in a row (he’s been with us from the beginning). A former DJ, Bret has a degree in broadcast communication from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. While living in Pullman, Bret attended the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music’s annual jazz festival. He interviewed many of the festival’s artists and experienced first-hand the powerful impact such an event can have on a community. Because of this, when approached regarding sponsoring MJF, Bret said the answer was a “no-brainer.”
|Mr. Plywood is open seven days a week, carries a large selection of locally sourced products, and is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people.|