On Top of Things

On top of things IN PADUCAH!

In 1943, Robert Chambers began a roofing business in Paducah. He had two employees, a wagon, and a horse barn for storage. He mainly did handyman jobs: fixed gutters, sheet metal work, and repaired roofs. Today, 68 years later, his grandsons run a massive roofing operation with a boom truck, a scissor truck, 12 fulltime employees, and a 23,000-square-foot warehouse. Mark and Joe Chambers have carried on the family roofing tradition and expanded it to the point where Mark says, “We have the manpower, the equipment, and the warehouse size to do whatever job we need to do.”

In 1960, RobertÕs son Buddy returned to Paducah after ten years on the road.  He had traveled all over the U.S., from the time he was 16 until he was 26, working with a contractor.  When he came home, he joined forces with his father, and together they started doing bigger jobs.

In the early 1980s, the third generation of the Chambers family began working in the family business. Mark began work with his father straight out of high school: “I never wanted to do anything else. I knew I wanted to work in the roofing business.” His brother Joe spent two years in college taking business courses before joining the company fulltime.

Mark and Joe work 10 hours a day, six days a week; and on Sundays a small crew works a few hours doing repair work. “We had a lot of business seven years ago when the hailstorm hit. My youngest was born then and I didn’t see her much that year,” Joe says. Each day, one brother spends five hours on the job site working and supervising the crew while the other brother works on estimates and paperwork. Halfway through the day, they switch jobs. This way, they each stay involved in both the business end of the job and the actual roofing.

Chambers Roofing Co., Inc. couldn’t have grown the way it has without the help of Paducah Bank, says Mark. “It was only with the help of Paducah Bank that we were able to expand the company.” The brothers bought a two-and-a-half-ton conveyor truck with a boom, a truck with a scissor bed, and their current warehouse, so that now they can handle any job and buy supplies by the semi-truck load to reduce prices.

Joe and Mark are grateful for Paducah Bank’s exceptional service. “Not only have they financed our growth, but they will bring paperwork out onsite for us to sign so we don’t miss any work.  Melanie McNeill and Tom Clayton have been so helpful. Wally Bateman is always there if we need anything or have a question. Janice Cleary has worked with us when we finance a job. They make it very convenient for us with our busy schedule,” Mark adds.

Mark and Joe both enjoy a roofing challenge. Their favorite roofing projects often involve some kind of restoration or unusual roof. They enjoyed working on the Ransler house restoration on Broadway with Ray Black and Sons. They also liked doing the round porch and the chimneys with the copper work on the Sullivan home on Alben Barkley Drive. Bill Holsapple’s house was interesting to them because of the Spanish tile.

With a job that demands so much time, the Chambers brothers have to have supportive wives, and they do. Mark is married to Joni, and they have two daughters: Hillary is 20, and Madelyn is 13. Joe is married to Erika, and they have two daughters: Sydney is 16, and McCall is 7.  But, Mark and Joe have also made some sacrifices for their families. With a roofing operation as large as theirs, they could easily take commercial jobs that require traveling to other regions and living away from home for weeks at a time, but they have chosen not to do that. They do about 75% of their work within one hour of Paducah, maybe venturing some to Illinois or Clarksville, Tennessee.”This way we can go home and have dinner with our families.”

Will the roofing company be able to stay in the Chambers family for the next generation? The brothers smile.

“We’re not sure since we had all girls!”

But even if a fourth generation isn’t in the cards, this venerable family business has managed to stay “on top of things” for nearly 70 years!