May 2016

I.D.S. Specialty Building Products: A Hands-On Building Experience That Wows

Author: Lynnie Leavenworth | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Just one of the many beautiful kitchens on display at I.D.S. Specialty Building Products’ 10,000-square-foot showroom in Savannah, GA.

Cabinets on display welcome guests to the expansive showroom.

The day has finally come when the project you have been dreaming about and planning for is coming to fruition. As you settle into the comfortable conference room seating at your builder’s office, the plans are being rolled out, and you get to see their vision for your space. Whether it is a new home being constructed from the dirt up, or a renovation planned to transform your existing space, this is honestly an exciting experience.

Taking a beat, blinking at the screen or squinting at the paper plans, you can see the walls, where the windows will be, the closets, cubbies, and alcoves; what you really can’t see is the picture that has been in your mind’s eye throughout the planning stages. What’s missing? The folks at I.D.S. Specialty Building Products know. You need to see the details, the finishes, the sizes, the colors, the shine, and the flair.

You need to feel the grain of the wood, and experience the different design elements to use with your garage door. You need to see the fireplace and the gas logs and view the glow from the dancing flames and burning embers. You need to get hands-on with this project.

I.D.S. Specialty Building Products is the local source for getting hands-on when selecting and purchasing cabinetry, closet systems, shower doors, garage doors, fireplaces and gas logs, blinds, and plantation shutters. “We’re a one-stop shop for multiple installed products,” said Chris Mahaffey, owner, managing member, and general manager. With a 10,000-square-foot showroom at their 25,000-square-foot facility in Savannah, virtually every vision may be seen, felt, and heard, ordered and even installed, by their team of hand-selected, professional installers. “Everything we sell we also install. We believe our installers are a huge part of our business, so we try to find the best out there—the guys with experience, who are dedicated to doing a good job.”

“We’re probably one of the fastest growing businesses of any kind in the Savannah area,” Mahaffey said. That’s saying quite a lot given the rocky road on which the company was founded. “I worked for a large building supply company in Atlanta that my father and his brothers started in 1968, Ply Marts, Inc. It had grown to $360 million in sales in 2006 when I came to Savannah to manage a new branch and get it off the ground. The housing market crash hit Atlanta hard, and the decision was made to shut down the company in late summer of 2007.

I had moved my whole family down here and had another child on the way. I decided to clear out my 401K, max out the credit cards, and ask my father to invest. We started I.D.S. in December of 2007, which I like to point out was the first official month of the recession. We struggled to stay afloat, but kept our heads down, worked hard and continued to make sales calls. We picked up business here and there, and managed to survive that rough period. In 2008, we brought in a partner, Adam Newman, who had considerable experience in this market within the building supply industry. This move gave our business a much needed boost and allowed us to survive. In January of 2012, we took another leap of faith. The market hadn’t fully recovered by any means, but we had an opportunity to buy a building just outside of Pooler, Georgia that had a beautiful showroom, was large, and that we knew we could grow into. When we bought it, I said we’ll never ever fill up this building, and now we’re dying for extra space. It’s a good problem to have.”

The space issues at the I.D.S. warehouse and showroom are ultimately an excellent development for their clients who will find a full menu of design inspiration and professional guidance. “We look at our company as having three divisions: Cabinetry, Insulation, and Specialty Products,” Mahaffey said. “Our kitchen and bath cabinetry division offers multiple product lines from several of most respected manufacturers in the business.” I.D.S. employs two full time designers and are have performed work in virtually every type of job site imaginable. “We’re currently working on some projects in downtown Savannah that are interesting because some of these structures are 150 years old or more. The walls are out-of-square and floors are out-of-level. There are some unique challenges that we are equipped to handle.

The entrance to I.D.S. Specialty Building Products storefront in Savannah

Cabinet finishes on display

Fully operational garage doors and fireplaces are also housed in the Savannah location.

Kitchen cabinet displays are abundant throughout the I.D.S. showroom, making it that much easier to envision them in your new home.

“Our insulation division includes spray foam as well as batt and blown-in insulation. Spray Foam insulation in particular represents a great way for homeowners to see some major energy savings and adds a lot of extra semi-conditioned space (for storage). We are seeing our retro-fit/homeowner business grow at a rapid pace.”

The third division is our specialty division that includes a number of post-paint installed products: garage doors, gas logs, shower doors, custom closets, shelving, mirrors, bath hardware, blinds, and more.”
The I.D.S. showroom is well worth the visit with a full display of cabinet lines and design options. “In addition to our two full-time designers on staff we maintain three dedicated account reps,” Mahaffey said. “Cabinets are a detail-oriented product, and we work with folks from beginning to end. We go out and look at the space, offer ideas, and produce a set of plans. We talk about likes and dislikes, what the budget is, and match their price range with our suggested products.”

The showroom at I.D.S. includes one of the area’s only live-burn fireplace and gas log displays, Mahaffey said. “We have 12 different gas logs on display from multiple suppliers. The flames can actually be turned on.” The team also has nine different full-size garage doors on display, along with shower door options. “We do a lot of garage door replacements. We’ll go out and tear out that old 20-year-old wood door and put up a nice looking, low maintenance door, and can do so at a price less than what you might imagine. We also provide product for bathroom remodels. We’ll go in and pull out the old gold-framed shower door and replace it with a nice frameless shower door, and offer bath hardware, mirrors, and vanities to finish out the project”

I.D.S. Specialty Building Products now has three branches to serve customers throughout Georgia, South Carolina, and beyond. In addition to their Savannah headquarters, warehouse, and showroom, the company has opened two new builder branches in 2016; in January they opened their Charleston branch in Goose Creek, South Carolina, followed by their Augusta branch in Evans, Georgia in February. “Both of the new branches are getting off the ground very quickly,” Mahaffey said.

So, you’re ready to break ground on your dream project, but what’s missing? The folks at I.D.S. Specialty Building Products will make sure absolutely nothing… absolutely nothing is missing.

Savannah: 3190 US Hwy 80 East Bloomingdale, Georgia (912) 988-3408; Augusta: 468 Columbia Industrial Boulevard, Evans, Georgia (706) 868-8118; Charleston: 105 Button Hall Avenue, Goose Creek, South Carolina (843) 553-4422. For more information, please visit

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