Evolution is part of business. Change is good—required—for long-time businesses if they want to keep pace with the competition. Jeff Funk, president and CEO of the newly rebranded Fireplace Stone & Patio (formerly Lumbermen’s Hearth and Home), understands this. “It’s been something of a reinvention for us,” Funk says.
Lumbermen’s has been a mainstay of the Omaha building community since 1932, when Jeff Funk’s great grandfather opened the first Lumbermen’s at 11th and Farnam streets during the Depression. They’ve since gone through several name and location changes, but their decision to do a total rebrand finally came to a head when they decided they needed more than a name change.
“A confluence of reasons came together to really make the whole rebranding make sense,” says Funk. “We’d been discussing the idea of a name change for 10 or 15 years. But our building was really showing its age and in need of remodeling. We wanted to gut the interior and remodel the building, and we figured if we’re going to have a grand opening event for the showroom, it made sense to announce the name change at the same time.”
Once the decision to move forward was made, Sigma Corporation was hired as general contractor to oversee the architectural layout of the showroom. Corporate Three Design was brought in to design the new logo. Leading up to the opening, Envoy helped with the advertising and marketing, but most of the launch was handled internally.
Funk admits that the shear amount of coordination and planning of the launch was a lot to bite off for his internal team, who began planning well over a year in advance. “When you look at a logo or name change, you have to consider every piece of literature, every internal document, business card, every piece of stationary, every fax letterhead, every price sheet, signage. Every piece of material has to be coordinated.”
For those considering rebranding, Funk suggests to consider the logistics, make a list, and prioritize. “We looked at the opening date and worked backwards. When do we want to start faxing with the letterhead? When do we want the business cards in hand? The credit applications? When do we want this or that to drop? Depending on the scope of the project, it’s quite an undertaking.”
While the rebranding has been a shot in the arm for the long-time business, Funk admits there was a bit of sentimentality attached to the history of the fourth-generation, family-owned brand. “My father, Dale, was open to the idea of rebranding, as it had been tossed around for years. Initially I thought I felt more sentimental about it than my father, but he finally admitted it was hard to let it go.”
While rebranding can be emotional as well as a logistical nightmare, the results can super-charge staff as well as attract new customers. “It’s definitely re-energized us, Funk says. “From the old to the new.”