“Santa Cruz County’s Largest and Friendliest Landscape and Building Supply”
By Edita McQuary
In 1974 Rick Santee’s parents, John and Ann Santee, established their building materials supply business at 808 River Street, Santa Cruz, at what had been the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company. Today Rick and his brother, Rusty, are the principal owners of this 40-year old family-owned business which now also includes the Scotts Valley location at 180 El Pueblo Road. Grandson Reed Santee, an avid gardener and rock enthusiast, is the Scotts Valley store manager. You might say their hearts are in the earth, or as Rick says with a laugh, “we are a real down and dirty bunch.”
Central Home Supply was initially a building supply store, although for the past twenty years they have also been selling landscape supplies. Even though there is a lot of competition, Central Home Supply is in the top 10 percent of sales tax producers in the county. How have they been able to be so successful? Rick says, “Our mission is to give the best possible service. We have a large inventory, and our prices are low. Our twenty-five employees are thoroughly trained so they have the expertise to help each customer no matter what the need.” In other words, they do business the old-fashioned way: good products, good service, large inventory, low prices. They are experts in their field and, when necessary, are able to refer customers to outstanding local contractors.
The company has many delivery trucks of all sizes, as well as forklifts and dump trucks. They have a large inventory of pavers, stone, construction hardware, rock, gravel, retaining walls, pre-cast concrete and concrete products, masonry block, tools, lath and plaster, bricks, erosion control equipment, insulation and wallboard, soil and mulch, and even barbeques and turf. In fact, they offer over 2,500 products including 100 types of natural stone! If you don’t see what you want, they can order it for you.
Central Home Supply is grateful to have been in business for over 40 years. Grandpa John and Ann believed that honest day of hard work could change the world and were very active in local charities. They started off with a shoebox for a cash register and a few pallets of brick! Now they sell pretty much everything to do with cement products as well as general building materials and all types of landscape supplies such as those listed above as well as bark, mulches, composts, topsoil, and sand. They sell every brick product made, and most plaster/stucco. It if can be found, Central Home Supply will have it on hand or order it especially for you. If they don’t have what you need, they often can tell you the best place to find it.
In fact, in 2007 when the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks realized they’d have to make their own adobe bricks in order to restore the Castro Adobe in Watsonville, who did they call? Central Home Supply, who were able to provide them with an authentic mixture to make the adobe bricks.
What sets Central Home Supply apart from other companies is their approach to customer service, which is old fashioned, and personal. A second-generation partner, Rick Santee, says, “Everyone here is passionate about giving expert service and advice to every customer every time. There are only a few prerequisites to excellence. They are: product selection, superior service, experienced market-knowledgeable assistance, and expert delivery. All at the lowest and most competitive price making it a unique experience to do business with Central Home Supply.”
Rick is also active in the community. He was chairman of the Santa Cruz County Planning and Zoning Commission in 1978. Then, when approached by community garden organizer Melanie Larson in early 2010 to help construct the Aptos Community Garden at Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos, Rick did not hesitate to donate a huge quantity of path fines. “Rick was very supportive of the garden and we are extremely grateful for his donations, especially in the middle of a recession,” said Melanie.
When a homeowner is faced with a project, Central Home supply is a great asset. They will offer material choices and advise techniques to get the job done right the first time. They also offer reputable contractor referrals as needed. When the day is done, they want only the best job for their customers. There are now three generations of Santees operating Central Home Supply, and there are new ones are coming up!
Central Home supply is located at 808 River Street, Santa Cruz, (at the corner of Hwys 1 & 9), 831.423.0763 and at 180 El Pueblo Road, Scotts Valley (behind Scarborough Lumber), 831.440.0763. www.centralhomesupply.com
Summer Hours (April 1 thru October 31) for both stores: M-F 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Sat 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Winter Hours (November 1 thru March 31) Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Sundays – both locations.