It’s not often my job as an ECI implementation specialist takes me to a beautiful tropical island. In spring 2023, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit our customers at CBS Bahamas for their 50th anniversary and website launch party. CBS Bahamas is one of our first customers to adopt our lumber yard software Spruce eCommerce, ECI’s brand-new ecommerce management platform for lumber, home, and building supply retailers. I’m excited to share my trip with you, including what it was like to visit CBS Bahamas, how the new website was received at the party, and even an underwater video (with a turtle!) from a dive trip we took with the owners of CBS.
CBS Bahamas is a 100-employee company located on Nassau in the Bahama islands—their motto, “Build beautiful” reflects both the gorgeous location and their commitment to serving a variety of Bahamian building projects. They are a long-time Spruce user, and specialize in providing hurricane-resistant windows, steel doors, aluminum shutters, and other building materials needed on hurricane-prone islands. One of their most high-profile projects was providing hurricane-resistant sliding glass doors to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. If you’ve ever stayed at Atlantis, you’ve probably looked out a CBS glass door. In addition to hurricane reinforcement materials, they also sell a wide range of building materials, home improvement items, and personal hurricane supplies like flashlights and solar-powered fans.
CBS has had an online presence for years, but as the company expanded with more inventory and additional branches, it felt as if they were outgrowing the capabilities of its previous ecommerce management system. It was a stressful time for CBS because, despite their exciting in-store growth, they were experiencing new and unexpected scaling issues with their ecommerce platform.
CBS’ owner, Brent Burrows, gave me a call one day to discuss their ecommerce concerns and his growth plans, and he described some of the company’s current growing pains. He ended by simply saying, “Eric, I don’t know what we have to do.” Well, his timing couldn’t have been better, for two reasons—one, ECI was just wrapping up the development of our cutting-edge new platform, Spruce eCommerce. I immediately put CBS on the list of early adopters to get them up and running with a new website as soon as possible. Second, CBS was a few months away from hosting the anniversary party for their impressive 50 years in business—and what could be a better event for rolling out a sleek new website?
Long story short, CBS moved forward with implementing a new website via Spruce eCommerce, and I was thrilled to accept an invitation to the 50th anniversary and website launch party!
There is nothing in the Bahama islands quite like CBS’ new Spruce eCommerce website and the purchasing capabilities it offers its customers. The website offers online ordering via land or mail boat delivery (that must be a fun job!), as well as buy online, and pick up in-store (BOPIS). Burrows and his team love seeing customers in-store; the website allows potential buyers to check the current stock levels of any product they carry, so they can come right in and pick up what they need.
In addition, the website has an incredibly striking, professional look to it—and required zero web development experience from their team to get there. Burrows’ son, Brent Junior “BJ” Burrows, who does not have any coding or dev experience, designed their eye-catching front page by simply dragging and dropping existing video footage into a template he chose. Here is a screenshot:
Another great thing about their new website is that Spruce eCommerce is a direct extension of their existing Spruce building materials software—so transactions, customer-specific pricing, inventory, purchase orders, etc. are always current. For instance, Spruce allows CBS to seamlessly manage custom manifests for everything they import to the island for sale. So, if a shipment comes in by boat from Miami or China, Spruce applies VAT, duties, and commodity codes automatically, which is something a lot of software doesn’t do. Then, once the new freight is accepted via Spruce, the inventory is immediately available and updated on their website, so customers know in real time what’s available for in-store pickup and warehouse orders.
As a senior implementation specialist at ECI, it’s my job to make sure things run smoothly throughout the entire implementation process—but this doesn’t usually come with an invitation to visit the Bahamas. So, when Burrows asked me to come down for the party and website rollout, I was absolutely thrilled to accept.
Here’s a short video showing what the party was like—as you can imagine, the food, company, and overall atmosphere were phenomenal:
Burrows gave an exciting speech to CBS’ customers and other guests, where he discussed the company’s past—and their future. As part of his speech, he revealed the new Spruce eCommerce-based website on a large screen, to roaring applause from his guests. He showed off the bright, striking new look and simple functionality, and explained how the website was going to help CBS Bahamas serve their customers across the “family islands” all within a short boat ride from their Nassau headquarters.
Now, with their new Spruce eCommerce website, CBS can serve building projects on any of Nassau’s family islands. Customers can simply come to their website, order building supplies, and receive the order at their doorstep via mail boat. Again, there is nothing else like this in the Bahamian lumber, home, and building supply industry right now, and I was so excited to hear about the new possibilities for Bahamian building projects across the family islands. As Burrows noted several times in his speech, this new website is “an absolute game changer” for them, and serving building projects across the family islands would not be possible without Spruce eCommerce. It was such an exciting event to be a part of!
To be completely honest, the entire trip was lots of fun, but the touching charity aspect of the 50th-anniversary party and diving with sea turtles were my two favorite parts of the trip.
As a company, CBS is incredibly dedicated to the Bahama islands, and as a part of their anniversary celebration, they donated $50,000 to two local charities. $15,000 in money and materials went to the Bahamas Humane Society, and $35,000 in materials and renovation services were donated to the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. Seeing those two incredible organizations accept their donations from CBS was one of the best moments of the trip.
The Burrows family went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time outside of the party, too. BJ Burrows took us out in his boat to go free-diving one day, so we could experience the Bahamas’ marine wildlife firsthand—and I got the opportunity to swim with sea turtles and take some underwater videos for my colleagues back in the US. Here’s a short video clip I took swimming off the Nassau coast:
I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was all around the island!
Visiting CBS Bahamas for their 50th anniversary and the website launch party was an incredible experience, and it was amazing to learn about the island, the company, and the way the lumber, home, and building materials industry works on the islands. Seeing how Spruce eCommerce’s flexibility and ease of use allow CBS to serve an entire family of islands was exciting, and I’m thrilled to hear about the new building projects they supplies over the next few years.
When I last spoke to Burrows, he told me how thrilled he is to have such a great relationship with ECI, Spruce, and Spruce eCommerce. I was reminded again why I love working with retailers like CBS with our lumber yard software helping them evolve digitally so they can grow at scale and serve more customers with a much higher degree of efficiency. CBS is a fantastic example of what a business can accomplish with the Spruce + Spruce eCommerce software solution.
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