The Pole Yard: From a Backyard Hustle to a Home-Grown Business

Posted by The Pole Yard

Understanding the background of a business, how it began, its trials and tribulations, is often as important as the quality of the product or service offered. Especially true for us at The Pole Yard who believe in forming personal connections with our customers. 

So, in the spirit of getting to know us better, our Managing Director, Leeroy Deane sat down with Deon Bing to discuss how selling apples turned into manufacturing top-quality timber.

Context is key so, before we dive right into the nitty-gritty, here’s a recap of who we are and what we offer:

About The Pole Yard 

The Pole Yard is a unique home-grown business that specialises in outdoor timber and home improvement products. We supply and manufacture poles, timber, fencing, rustic garden furniture, jungle gyms, wooden decking, garden products and more. 

Thanks to a huge variety of timber sizes and types, we can manufacture products to your custom specification and distribute them to you, no matter where you are in SA. 

The Pole Yard is directed and run by Leeroy Deane, John Els and James Griffiths, with five branches scattered throughout the Western Cape for your convenience. 

On the Bench with Deon Bing

Ok, we’re back! So, our brand ambassador sat down to chat with Leeroy who it turns out, had an entrepreneurial spirit from a very early age. He started off selling apples from Elgin with his dad back in the day which taught him to become somewhat of a salesman. Next thing you know, young Leeroy is buying ice-creams from a vendor, only to resell them at his local skatepark in Sun Valley. Talk about innovation!

Fast-forward a couple of years and teenage Leeroy is preparing for the arrival of his baby. To provide his child with the very best, he began to really hustle. He joined a company that delivered tiles to different homes. One Friday eve, he finds himself delivering tiles to a home in Noordhoek that belonged to a couple, who saw something special in our Leeroy. 

At the time, they were running a pole yard in their back garden, appreciated Leeroy’s approach and work ethic, and offered him a job to come and work with them. 

The trio started out small, selling poles for fencing, rustic slats, and latte with their biggest market being the equestrian trade. Slowly but surely, they grew from there, making their own role of edging together, their first trellis – both using an R100 saw they bought in Knysna – and started selling nails that Leeroy would weigh with a cake scale and separate into bags. 

While progress was certainly being made, their business was still small, and perhaps one that many weren’t yet taking seriously. Leeroy even talks about having to pick up the phone to convince landscapers to work with them, faxing them through hand-written price lists. 

A Bigger Footprint

Three to four years later, the hard work and often awkward phone calls had paid off. At that point, the team had established their branch in Noordhoek and even had their own manufacturing joint out in Retreat. The next step? Opening The Pole Yard in Paarden Eiland

It was this sea-side branch that really put the business on the map. Leeroy became a shareholder and partnered up with John Els and James Griffiths to grow the business further. The knowledge and skillset they brought to the table enabled The Pole Yard to transition into what it is today. Not to mention the hard work and dedication of the rest of the staff they employ.  

What makes The Pole Yard unique, as Leeroy rightly points out, is that it’s not a copied business. In fact, it’s self-funded from profits made and the hands-on approach puts everyone in a better position to learn from each other and grow. 

The Next Chapter

When the manufacturing depot in Retreat became too small, Leeroy and the team established a standalone entity in the Western Cape that acts as the head office. 

Speaking of, The Pole Yard recently announced that they’re opening an all-new branch in Kyalami, Johannesburg soon that will also have their own manufacturing outlet. The decision came based on the amount of interest coming from Joburg dwellers looking to spruce up their homes with top-quality timber products. 

In fact, Leeroy mentioned this to be the case country-wide, especially during lockdown. More time spent at home gave people time to reassess their living spaces. And with that came the need to upgrade for better aesthetic appeal and functionality. Pergolas have certainly been a thing, as have patio decks and jungle gyms to occupy young ones.

A Sustainable Product

Timber is a sustainable resource and in manufacturing and supplying it, we’re positioned to indirectly employ hundreds of people who are harvesting it in the most impoverished areas. 

Leeroy explains that when a tree grows, it absorbs a lot of carbon, especially in its juvenile phase. This is when the timber is harvested meaning The Pole Yard can deliver our customers products that have carbon stored in them. This process is continual, allowing us to keep harvesting to meet the needs of our clients. 

Interestingly, especially to Deon, it seems, Leeroy explained that the timber is actually primarily grown for paper. So, The Pole Yard timber is simply a by-product of the paper industry. 

What’s more, our timber has been pressure treated with Tanalised™ E, which is Copper Azole based, and the most eco-friendly treatment available on the South African market. 

Who was responsible for this movement? Our very own Leeroy who became a man on a mission! Forming a new business partnership, he secured a sawmill that already had a treatment facility. With the help of Lonza Wood Protection, the treatment plant was converted into a very neat and modern Tanalised™ E treatment facility. 

Happily Ever After 

It was Leeroy’s passion and the hard work of his partners and staff that has transformed The Pole Yard from a backyard hustle into a booming business. Now, some 24-years later, Leeroy believes there’s even more room to grow and extra fun to be had!

Watch Deon Bing’s On the Bench session with Leeroy Deane here: 

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