In the early 1980s, computer systems for business became available, and Dan and Warren White took on a colossal project to install a computer system in the company. In the absence of off-the-shelf software systems, they devised a sophisticated file structure and customized existing software to create a system far in advance of what was available, including an interactive portal called M2L–Modem to Loadem–years before the Internet and email were in common use.
The 1980s also launched a transition in the lumber business from new-home construction to remodeling projects. Few vacant lots remained in the area, but many aging homes needed updating or expansion. The company developed a large clientele of contractors who specialized in remodel work, ranging from small and simple to large and complicated projects.
The Truitt & White family expanded as well during the ‘80s. Dan married Patty, and the couple had three children, Brian, Mike, and Katie. Warren married Diana, and the couple had two children, Zack and Jake. All five members of the new generation continued the tradition of working at the yard throughout high school and college, in training for their future.
"I so admired what George and my Dad had done, starting a business from nothing"
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The 1990s presented both challenges and opportunities. The Navy closed most of its Bay Area bases, and big-box retailers opened nearby, while the home-remodeling arena was expanding rapidly.
Many of these remodel projects were quite large and very complicated, warranting highly competent contractors. Truitt & White adapted just as quickly to meet their needs.
LEGACY AND LONGEVITY
The Great Recession in the building industry began in late 2006. During the next two years, Truitt & White saw sales drop almost 40% percent. But the company was built on solid fundamentals, upheld by dedicated employees and customers, collaborating to persist during this difficult time.
Throughout the 1990s, Robert White continued to put on a coat and tie, and come into work, where he was able to enjoy watching his family, employees, and customers operate the thriving business he and his comrade had started so many years before. His presence was missed after he passed away in 2002, at 90.
It is unusual for a family business to endure into the third generation. Starting in 2009, Zack, then Brian, then Jake made Truitt & White their career choice. Dan and Warren quickly realized their jobs were not to teach their sons but to learn from them as they brought fresh ideas and new ways of thinking to take Truitt & White to the next level.
Surely Robert and Rose, George and Gem are smiling as they watch their legacy continue beyond 75 years into a bright future.
Dan White, Katie White, Brian White, Jake White, Zack White, and Warren White, with company officers Leo and Riley.