84 Lumber, Nemacolin founder Joe Hardy stays curious, engaged and always puts people first

 

‘People are everything’

In his 60s, Hardy turned to his next endeavor — Nemacolin — where he put his lesson of people first to work once again.

Looking for a place to relax, after discarding Nantucket, Massachusetts, Florida and Vail, Colorado, Hardy settled on 400 acres only an hour from 84 Lumber’s headquarters that was up for public auction.

Today, the Fayette County resort has grown to 2,000 acres with 318 guestrooms, suites, townhomes and private luxury homes. Nemacolin is built to offer something for everyone’s interests, whether it’s golf, relaxing at a spa, shooting, skiing, gambling, etc.

“We’re trying to appeal to everybody, and we say ‘We don’t have the ocean, but we’re working on it.’” Hardy says.

But just like with 84 Lumber, Hardy attributes Nemacolin’s success back to its people who are given the freedom to take ownership, while putting service as the first priority.

“People are everything. I can get ideas and stuff, but if you don’t have the right people you’re in (trouble). I don’t care what it is — computers, steel, anything,” he says.

“I’ve traveled all over the world and that’s what it gets down to,” Hardy says. “You can build castles, but it’s really how you’re served and that people want to help you.”

For example, one time a Nemacolin guest from Long Island, New York, had his car break down. So, the doorman got the man a plane ticket, and then got the car fixed and drove it back to Long Island.

“And that’s not unusual,” Hardy says. “We’re there to do anything the person really wants, and I keep getting letters on examples of that.”

Both organizations like to promote from within, which Hardy says shows its employees the company will give them an opportunity as it grows.

 

Focus with intensity

Along with the curiosity that enables you to be contemporary and the people to execute on it, Hardy says it’s also important to focus.

“When different agendas come in, I look at each item as if it was the only thing,” he says.

When he was running 84 Lumber, Hardy opened 15 to 20 stores a year, taking a total interest in each as they went through the different phases of construction. Today, he has the same intensity for a $100 faucet that has been delayed in Paris as the option to buy a $1.6 million billboard.

This formula doesn’t always mean you’ll have success.

“There are always challenges. I mean honestly, there better be or you’re not doing anything; you’re just coasting,” Hardy says. “I’m sure we’ve made many, many mistakes, but you don’t let your ego stand in the way.

“You move fast on decisions, and if you made a mistake, you say, ‘Boy, did I screw this one up,’ and then you go on.”