When brothers, Robert and Bruce Hilty, say building is in their DNA, it’s not an exaggeration. Raised in the construction trades, the men began their 25-year building careers in Virginia. It was there they discovered that the only way to get the trusses they needed for projects, was to manufacture them themselves. When the entire Hilty family moved to Wyoming they started Western Building Supply.
Originally founded by Bruce and Robert’s dad, WBS began as an equipment rental store and lumber yard. As the rental business grew, the lumber sales became too much for one person to handle. That’s when Robert and Bruce purchased the lumber yard, with another brother named Lee (they also have a sister) who ran the store for the first four years. During that time, Bruce and Robert continued working in construction. In June of 2016, Lee moved back to Virginia, so Robert and Bruce bought him out of the business.
Bruce and Robert continued their full-time construction jobs while running WBS until 2018, when they began strictly managing the store. Since then, the brothers have focused on growing the business and improving the infrastructure. That same hard work and dedication continues, earning WBS a reputation for quality equipment, products, and services, as well as a passionate and loyal staff.
But back to the trusses…
While working construction in Virginia, the men grew frustrated with the poor quality and long wait for trusses – so they manufactured their own. Drawing from that experience, Robert and Bruce built their own truss plant at WBS, where they control the quality and the timing.
Finding success with the truss factory, the brothers started manufacturing additional building materials. Instead of buying steel from a wholesaler and selling it retail, the Hiltys put in a rollformer and produced the metal for roofing and siding. When WBS started selling a lot of lumber for posts, they began producing laminated columns. Now with brand new truss and column plants across town from their retail store, WBS also services Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana.
With an eye towards the future, the Hilty brothers plan on expanding their post frame, roofing, and truss offerings as well as the areas they serve.
But it’s not all work for the Hilty brothers, joking that they make decisions by playing rock, paper, scissors. When asked if they have different personalities, Bruce says they, “balance each other out.” Continuing, Bruce added,
“Robert is probably more analytic, and I just trust his opinion and go with it.”
Married to a world-class Scottish Highland Games athlete, Bruce says he and his wife do a lot of physical activities, events, and sports. Robert, who is married with four kids, tries his best to balance work and family. Once in a while, he finds time to fly planes, hunt, and work in his home mechanics shop.
Because they worked construction, Robert and Bruce say they are driven to run WBS from that perspective. And according to Robert, every business decision is made with the customer in mind.
“What are the typical stumbling blocks in the industry when you’re a contractor dealing with your supplier? You need quality products. You need reasonable prices. You need good time frames. You need good service. You need responsibility to be taken when there’s blame to be had. It’s really just trying to meet their needs and make their life easier.”
Robert and Bruce also make it a priority to give back to the construction community. Twice a year they host their own local tradeshow, which continues gaining popularity. A day filled with vendors, educational classes, workshops, and food — the Hilty brothers also give tours of their facilities and listen to what their customers need.
Now that’s you’ve learned about Robert and Bruce Hilty, drop by and meet them in person at WBS! Information on their September 18th tradeshow can be found here. Keep checking the blog to read about the rest of the crew at Western Building Supply!